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Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil, CT, JD
Founder, President, & CEO

Joanne brings 25 years’ experience in strategic messaging, professional and public education, program development, and senior management. 


A former litigator with one of the nation’s leading law firms and vice president of a cutting-edge legal think-tank, Joanne was recruited in 2001 by the world’s largest suicide prevention organization, where she created internationally-recognized programs, including a global event that takes place annually in over 300 cities on six continents, and served as Senior Director for Public Affairs and Postvention, overseeing communications, outreach, and media relations strategies. She received the American Association of Suicidology's Survivor of the Year Award, the International Association of Suicide Prevention's Farberow Award for suicide postvention, and was recognized by Amherst Magazine for “shaking up the conversation” on suicide as a public health issue.


Joanne has been an invited speaker at both the U.N. and on Capitol Hill. She has conducted trainings for the Columbia University Schools of Journalism and Social Work, the South Korean National Police Agency, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. She is a founding co-lead of a SAMHSA task force, serves as an advisor to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and has collaborated with a diverse range of organizations including the U.S. Army, the VA, the NIMH, HBO, and Sesame Street. 

A cum laude graduate of Amherst College with a BA in political science, Joanne holds a master’s degree in international relations from Cambridge University and a JD from the New York University School of Law. She lost her younger brother, Stephen, to suicide in 1993, and is also President of Coping After Suicide, which provides expert guidance to individuals and communities across the country and around the world who are dealing with the aftermath of suicide. 

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