Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education to hold conference on suicide awareness

Mental Health Conf image
Clockwise from left: David Clark, Ph.D.; Heidi Bryan; Father Charles T. Rubey; Cheryl King, Ph.D.

"Suicide: Responding and Creating Hope" is the theme of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute (NRCI) for Mental Health Education at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's (TCSPP) 13th Annual Community Conference on Sunday, June 1, (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue located at 1224 Dempster Street in Evanston. This program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation and a number of other mental health organizations.  This conference is designed to make a difference in the lives of those at risk and in the lives of survivors. Experts will speak and present the latest knowledge and developments on suicide prevention and stigma.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2013 more people die from suicide than in car accidents,  and recent evidence suggests that there have been substantial increase in suicide rates among middle-aged adults in the United States. In 2013, 38,364 suicides occurred in the U.S. and 800,000 people died of suicide worldwide.

Nationally recognized suicide prevention advocate and author Heidi Bryan will be one of the panelists. Bryan serves as a member of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Consumer Survivor Subcommittee and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Suicide Attempt Survivor Task Force. Bryan has battled depression and is a suicide attempt survivor. She founded the Feeling Blue Suicide Prevention Council after losing her brother to suicide. 

Two experts in their field, David Clark, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Clinical Research and Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Cheryl King, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Michigan, will join Bryan as panelists.

Father Charles T. Rubey, Founder of Catholic Charities Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide, (LOSS) program, will begin with words of inspiration.

The Conference will be moderated by Michael Horowitz, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Chicago School Education System. Dr. Horowitz leads a network of nonprofit professional colleges. 

Following a period of question and answers, discussion groups will be led by highly skilled experts in their field. The discussion titles include: Assessment and Treatment for a Person at Risk; Suicide and Veterans; Adjustment to Loss of Suicide, Family Members and Friends; Alcohol and Other Drugs and Suicide; How Spirituality Can Help Us Find Value in Life.

Naomi Ruth Cohen was a gifted artist and a skilled geriatrics counselor. At the age of 30 she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and in the following two years the disease made steady inroads on her life, robbing her of her career and much of the joy that had long defined her nature.

 In May 2000, Naomi took her life. The Naomi Ruth Cohen Charitable Foundation and Institute were founded by Larry and Marilyn Cohen shortly after the death of their daughter. The Institute's goal is to overcome the stigma of mental illness. Institute income is used to promote educational programs and to support organizations engaged in mental illness research, education, self-help
and anti-discrimination. 

The cost of the Conference is $40 ($45 after May 15). Full scholarships are available. For further information, please call (312) 367-2552 or visit

The Conference is sponsored by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and its Affiliates, CJE Senior Life, Jewish Child and Family Services, Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, Jewish Healing Network, Response Center, The Ark, Ezra, and other mental health organizations.

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