Chief Executive Officer
Director of Public Relations and Media
Suicidology Conference Highlights Suicide Prevention in Popular Culture and Elite Sports
Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2021): The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is proud to host AAS21, its 54th Annual Conference, April 21 – 24, 2021. The conference will take place via a unique hybrid format – both in person in Orlando, FL at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Hotel and also virtually for those across the globe. AAS will welcome over 2100 attendees from across the world (a record-setting attendance) via this innovative platform, including world-class speakers, experts, and featured events. The Press Kit highlights featured keynote speakers, including Zak Williams, Robin Williams’ son, and many others. AAS is also pleased to announce the inclusion of two new very special panels:
- “Our Critical Role in Conversations about Suicide Prevention” featuring Ashley Eckstein, voice of Star Wars’ Ahsoka Tano.
- Keynote Panel “Elevating Mental Health in Elite Sport” featuring, Deja Young, Paralympic Gold Medalist in Track and Field and current 2021 Paralympic Hopeful; Steve Mesler, Olympic Gold Medalist in Bobsled, CEO of Classroom Champions, USOPC Board of Directors; Jessica Bartley, Director of Mental Health Services, USOPC; Troy Taylor, High-Performance Director, US Ski & Snowboard; and Shannon Decker, Executive Director, The Speedy Foundation, Advisor to USOPC’s External Mental Health Task Force.
“AAS21 will be unlike any conference we have ever hosted. Our plan to host live sessions in Orlando along with virtual sessions will afford the opportunity to provide the same content expected at an AAS conference. By working with our incredible partners, we’re ensuring an effective and safe conference for everyone,” said Becky Stoll, AAS21 Conference Chair.
We’ll also be featuring a virtual screening of Each and Every Day, an MTV Documentaries and Gidalya Pictures film that follows 9 young adults as they share their experiences surrounding mental health issues and suicide, Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. EST. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, Alexandra Shiva, and producer, Lindsey Megrue. Watch the trailer here. AAS consulted during the development of this film and is thrilled to be able to offer it to attendees.
“We know that people are able to recover and grow after a crisis. The global crises of 2020 have disrupted our norms, but they also provide an opportunity for innovative solutions like offering the field a hybrid conference. AAS has always sought to bring people together so that the knowledge from professional and personal experience can be applied to address suicide, and the world needs that more than ever. AAS21 will enable us to safely and effectively bring expertise to the table from around the world,” said DeQuincy Lezine, AAS21 Program Chair.
In a special event at AAS21, Fenway Jones, Founder of Jasper’s Game Day (JGD) will generously present AAS with a check totaling more than $63,000. JGD uses the power and community-building aspects of tabletop gaming, like Dungeons & Dragons, to raise money for mental health, suicide prevention, and crisis intervention organizations. Fenway and JGD have been long-time partners with AAS, effectively helping to spread donations to crisis intervention services across the country, including some of AAS’s accredited crisis centers and providers.
“I’m really excited about the design and structure of this year’s conference as there is something for everyone. From the key in-person networking and conversations that are integral to spurring new collaborative projects to the broadened reach that online options provide, this hybrid approach will not disappoint” said Colleen Creighton, CEO of AAS.
For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information. For additional information, please visit SuicideReportingToolkit.com.
About AAS: The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.