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Ask The Experts

A multi-part series of interactive conversations and open Q&A with leading experts, covering ages 2-29.


Coping with suicide loss is hard enough for adults. Trying to help our children — no matter how old they are — adds complexity and worry. And so many questions.


  • How do I possibly explain suicide to my kids? Do I have to tell them the truth?

  • My teenager won’t talk about it and won’t go to therapy. What should I do?

  • Does suicide run in families? When should I worry?


Do you wish you could talk to someone who knew the answers?

Join our experts for a series of interactive, open Q & A conversations with experts in preschoolers to young adults. Compassionate and knowledgeable, they’ll thoughtfully answer your most frequently asked questions. You can submit your questions in advance or ask them live and we’ll do our best to answer as many as we possibly can.

  • Joan Schweizer Hoff, former Program Director of the Dougy National Center for Grieving Children and Families

  • Steven Karaiskos, PhD, Senior Director of Community Education and Outreach for Samaritans, a Boston-based suicide prevention and grief support organization; and facilitator of Coping After Suicide’s Teens and Twentysomethings Groups

  • Dr. Victor Schwartz, former Medical Director of The Jed Foundation and Chief Wellness Officer of the CUNY School of Medicine

Who should attend? Parents, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster parents, teachers, guidance counselors, pediatricians, clergy, funeral directors, and anyone else who wants to help a young person cope with suicide loss.

Offered in collaboration with Coping After Suicide. For more information and to register, click here.


Please note: These conversations are not for the children themselves, including teens or young adults. For information about support groups for Teens and Twentysomethings, please visit Coping After Suicide.


Joan Schweizer Hoff


Steven Karaiskos, PhD

Vic Schwartz -headshot.jpg

Dr. Victor Schwartz

Bullycide Myth


The "Bullycide" Myth® as an invited Feature Presentation at the

New York State School Boards Association’s 2015 Annual Convention 

There is no dispute that bullying is a serious public health issue. Young people experience bullying and cyberbullying in daunting numbers: nearly 8 million children experience bullying in a single year. But the term “bullycide” suggests an inescapable connection between bullying (or cyberbullying) and suicide -- a dangerous message to send to young people who themselves may be increased risk.  

Created and delivered in collaboration with Rethink’s Chief Education and Ethics Consultant Frederick Lane, The "Bullycide" Myth® helps school communities better understand the complexity of the relationship between bullying and suicide.

Among The "Bullycide" Myth® leading goals:


  • lessen the risk of inadvertently normalizing suicide as an inevitable outcome of bullying

  • determine whether, when, and how to implement bullying prevention and/or suicide prevention programs for students

  • appropriately and safely communicate important messages of peer support within the community 

  • address the legal implications of bullying

Debunking the dangerously oversimplified media narrative connecting bullying and suicide, The "Bullycide" Myth® is a unique and informative presentation for school administrators, counselors, faculty, board members, and interested others.

Interested in learning more about this Rethink? #LetsStartTalking

Care for the Caregiver


Are you a survivor of suicide loss who facilitates a bereavement support group?


When was the last time you paused to explore where you are in your own journey? 

Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil, JD and Franklin James Cook, MA, CPC -- national leaders in peer grief support, and both longtime survivors of suicide loss themselves -- offer experiential retreats that explore the impact of personal loss on clinicians and other professional caregivers. This groundbreaking initiative creates opportunities for them to explore where they are in their own journey of healing, examine how their loss has affected them personally and professionally, and connect with peers who have had similar experiences. 

“powerful and wonderful”

“a unique, transforming experience”

“it met my needs in ways I couldn’t even imagine”

Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil, JD, is the President and CEO of Rethink The Conversation, President of Coping After Suicide, and former Senior Director for Public Affairs and Postvention for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Joanne left her corporate law practice following the 1993 suicide of her brother Stephen to devote her professional life to working with survivors of suicide loss. 


Franklin James Cook, MA, CPC, is a private consultant and owner of Unified Community Solutions in Boston, Mass. His work is devoted to delivering peer support services to help bereaved people cope with a death from suicide or substance use. For the past 20 years, Franklin has been a grassroots advocate for systems change in mental health, addiction recovery, and grief services. Franklin's father died of suicide in 1978 after a lifelong struggle with alcoholism.

Interested in learning more about this Rethink? #LetsStartTalking

Conversation Masterclass is an evidence-informed, interactive workshop offering practical skills and creative ideas for facilitating any kind of group conversation. We customize the approach for your particular setting or dynamic, including:




We explore the difference between facilitating, leading, and teaching. We clarify exactly what your role is (and isn’t) to make you the most effective facilitator you can be. Regardless of your experience with group facilitation, you’ll learn tips, strategies, and foolproof ways to handle difficult situations. 


Conversation Masterclasses have been delivered to thousands of people in professional, community, and organizational settings.

Facilitating Suicide Bereavement Support Groups

Whether you've been facilitation a group for years, or it's just an idea in the back of your mind, join us for a series of Zoom training workshops to explore best practices for facilitating warm, welcoming, and effective suicide bereavement support groups for adults, as well as for children and teens. Offered in collaboration with Coping After Suicide


Conversation Masterclass

"Extremely well-done" 



“Even though I’ve been facilitating groups for a long time...  I learned so many new things…”

Joanne L. Harpel

  • focus groups 

  • educational programs

  • crisis response teams

  • inservices

  • business meetings

  • peer support groups

  • breakout sessions

  • strategic brainstorming

Talking OutLOUD
Teens & Suicide Loss, a Conversation

Every year in the United States, nearly a million teenagers lose someone to suicide. Most of them will deal with it alone.


It does't have to be that way.


Directed by our award-winning Chief Creative Consultant Geoffrey Cantor, Talking OutLOUD will deliver a desperately-needed message of hope and healing to these young people and those who love them directly from their peers, through the familiar, anonymous, and safe medium of video.

"My mom took her own life when I was thirteen. I’m 17 now and I've never met another kid my age who has gone through the same thing as I have."

“My friends were kind of weird around me. They didn’t know what to say.”


Geoffrey Cantor, Director

Celia Williams, Producer

Learn more about Talking OutLOUD.



What Clergy Need to Know

Clergy play a key and unique role with respect to mental health: they are at once spiritual leaders, community gatekeepers, educators, confidantes, role models – and quasi-mental health professionals.What Clergy Need to Know… is the first-of-its-kind effort to better equip clergy to serve congregants facing mental health challenges, crises, and recovery.

For a family in crisis or grieving a suicide, how the clergy responds can resonate longer and have a more profound impact than anything said or done by virtually anyone else. When they get it right, it can be life-changing, leaving the grateful congregants feeling deeply connected to their belief system and their faith community, and restoring their confidence that the world is safe. But when they get it wrong, it can leave entire families feeling so betrayed that they refuse to ever set foot in a house of worship again.


Well-meaning and deeply committed, clergy may nevertheless feel ill-equipped to adequately address mental health issues, whether it’s managing a parishioner whose disruptive behavior is rooted in panic or paranoia, or safely eulogizing an adolescent who took his own life. If clergy understand the science underlying mental illness they can not only better serve their congregants but also move the greater community from a place of judgment and fear to one of compassion and inclusion, potentially impacting thousands. 

“The mixture of facts, therapeutic approaches, and religious text…helped expand my personal and professional perspective on this important topic"


"The work you do is a blessing that will surely continue to breakdown stigma and build up resources, capacity and resilience.”

Created in collaboration with Sinai & Synapses (an organization that explores important topics from scientific and religious perspectives), Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, and The Jewish Board -- and supported by a generous grant from UJA-Federation of New York -- the pilot program featured an interdisciplinary faculty including Dr. Joseph E. Struckus, Clinical and Consulting Neuropsychologist and Health Psychologist, and Owner and Director, Health Psychology Associates Northwest; and Dr. Michael Myers, psychiatrist and member of the Scientific Program Committee of the American Psychiatric Association.

Following media coverage in both The Jewish Week and the ForwardWhat Clergy Need to Knowwas presented at the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ annual convention and is available to communities nationwide.

Interested in learning more about this Rethink? #LetsStartTalking

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