Local Suicide Prevention Spotlights

There are many individuals across Fond du Lac County who are working to reduce suicides and improve mental health. The Destination Zero/Prevent Suicide FDL County Committee’s monthly newsletter has spotlighted a number of these individuals. Read on to learn a little about these individuals and the great work that is being done here in Fond du Lac County!

Alicia Hans is a school-based mental health clinician for Catalpa Health who is highly involved in a variety of organizations and efforts in Fond du Lac. Alicia recently became the chair of CSI’s Mental Health Access Committee, which in addition to its own initiatives (such as creating the Pathways to Care tool), keeps members abreast of the activities of YScreen, Prevent Suicide FDL, and the Trauma-Informed Care committees. Alicia has already proven herself to be an organized, passionate leader, and it is exciting to think about everything this committee will be able to accomplish with her at the helm. (June 2021)

Kaitlyn Kenealy, who owns a counseling practice in Fond du Lac (Kenealy Counseling) and hosts a mental health-focused podcast, recently became co-chair of Prevent Suicide FDL County with Miranda Amerling. Kaitlyn has an easy laugh and an enviable energy level. Her enthusiasm for reducing the stigma around mental health struggles and supporting local suicide prevention activities is a wonderful asset to not only PSFDL but to the community in general! (June 2021)

Rick Patton has been the FDL County Veterans Service Officer for 10 years. Rick was involved from the earliest stages in obtaining the Destination Zero grant, which has supported suicide prevention efforts in the county for the last 3 years. Rick was an integral member of the Warrior Summit planning team and is an active member of both the Prevent Suicide FDL County committee and the Suicide Death Review, team. On top of all that, Rick is a certified QPR instructor and is currently involved in an effort to implement this training across FDL County departments. Rick has a candid and generous nature and is a tireless advocate for Veteran’s rights. He has played a key role in informing efforts to address Veteran suicides in our county, for which we are extremely grateful! (May 2021)

Carol Collien is the MSW Field Coordinator and a Clinical Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Carol is an active member of Prevent Suicide FDL County and has volunteered her time on several workgroups and projects over the last two years. Additionally, Carol became a certified QPR instructor in November 2020 and was the first instructor from that group to facilitate a QPR training. She has already presented this life-saving information to 50 students and faculty, both virtually and in person. Carol has a kind and easy-going manner, while also being determined to understand the issues and find ways to implement solutions. We are thankful for Carol’s time and dedication to our efforts!” (April 2021)

Adam Covach M.D. is Fond du Lac County’s Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Covach is an active member of both the Prevent Suicide FDL County committee and the county’s Suicide Death Review Team. The review team examines the circumstances around and preceding suicides that occur in Fond du Lac county to identify ways we as a community can better respond or intervene to prevent these tragic losses. Through his education and experience, Dr. Covach is able to provide unique insights into these situations. Dr. Covach’s involvement in our county’s suicide prevention efforts is truly invaluable, and we are incredibly thankful for his support! (March 2021)

Erin Brendelson is the Fond du Lac School District’s Health Programs Supervisor. She is an active member of both the Prevent Suicide FDL County committee and CSI’s Mental Health Access committee. Erin provides a vital connection between our suicide prevention activities and the FDL School District. Despite challenges presented by COVID and the extra demands on her time over the last year, she has continued to make a concerted effort to participate in meetings and readily offers her advice and assistance. Erin has a steady and reflective demeanor that makes her a joy to work with. We are thankful for Erin’s calm and thoughtful approach to addressing changing situations, and for her unwavering support of our efforts! (February 2021)

Lindsey Bruins has been the coordinator of the Fond du Lac Area YScreen program since 2014. This program provides free and confidential emotional health screening for youth ages 12-18 designed to identify risk factors associated with depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance abuse, and suicide. Lindsey is an active member of both Prevent Suicide FDL County and CSI’s Mental Health Access committee. She is a trained Youth Mental Health First Aid facilitator and recently became a QPR instructor as well. Lindsey is a wonderful co-worker who is always willing to listen and help brainstorm ideas for tackling a problem or new project. Knowledgeable and passionate, Lindsey has a positive energy and a special talent for making those around her feel supported and valued. We are thankful for her efforts to connect Fond du Lac area youth and their families to needed services, and the many other ways she works to prevent suicides here in Fond du Lac County! (December 2020)

Spencer Wagen is the host of Fond du Lac Today on News/Talk 1450 KFIZ. At least twice a month Spencer makes time in the schedule to interview someone connected to CSI of FDL County about a range of mental health-related topics, with suicide prevention often being highlighted. Prior to the interview, Spencer puts effort into understanding the topic and then asks insightful questions to help ensure that the message is clearly communicated. These efforts, combined with his calm, supportive demeanor, help make what can be a scary proposition to many – being interviewed live on the radio – much less daunting! We are thankful for the role Spencer has played in helping this vital information reach listeners across Fond du Lac County! (November 2020)

Emily Anton is a Payroll Specialist/HR Assistant at the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. She became a certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainer in November 2018, and within a few months had made the arrangements for the YMCA to begin hosting regular QPR sessions that are free and open to all community members (with free childcare included!). Thanks to Emily’s efforts, ten of these sessions occurred from April 2019-October 2020, with nearly 100 people being trained. She also facilitated multiple QPR trainings for YMCA and Boys & Girls Club staff, individuals who have contact with countless people of all ages on a daily basis, equipping them with the knowledge of how to spot signs of emotional distress and intervene in a meaningful way. Additionally, Emily’s positive, “we’ll figure this out” attitude helped speed up the transition to offering QPR virtually, so that people could continue to receive this information while in-person meetings are not feasible. Emily is a joy to work with, and we are extremely thankful for her dedication to suicide prevention efforts here in Fond du Lac County! (October 2020)

Sue Mitchell Metz is an active member of Prevent Suicide Fond du Lac County and a facilitator of the Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL) support group. She works for SSM Health as the Supply Chain Operations Manager and is a registered nurse. As a suicide loss survivor, Sue is passionate about supporting others who have lost a loved one to suicide and working to prevent others from having to endure this pain. Sue played a vital role in transitioning the SOSL support group to a virtual format as needed and has worked to get information about the group into the hands of local providers. She is detail-oriented, empathetic, and able to adapt to changing situations — skills that make her a wonderful facilitator and an important asset to our suicide prevention efforts here in Fond du Lac County! (September 2020)

Robyn Williams is the Director of Counseling Services at Marian University in Fond du Lac. She is a member of CSI’s Mental Health Access Committee and a certified QPR instructor. Robyn is dedicated to ensuring that the students at Marian University have access to mental health support and the basic skills to assist their peers who are struggling emotionally. In 2019, Robyn led 8 QPR sessions, training 199 individuals (many of them students or university staff) to recognize the signs of emotional distress and how to respond in a helpful way. We are extremely thankful for Robyn’s efforts to create a safer environment for young adults in our community! (July 2020)

Jamie Eithun is the Organizational Development Manager at Mayville Engineering Company (MEC) and serves on the Fond du Lac SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Advisory Council. She is also a member of CSI’s Mental Health Access Committee and a certified QPR instructor. By combining her knowledge of the business community and passion for helping others, Jamie has played an important role in helping us reach out to Fond du Lac County area businesses to encourage their involvement in suicide prevention efforts. We are extremely thankful for Jamie’s efforts, and for MEC’s support of her involvement in our initiatives. (June 2020)

“Fond du Lac County is blessed to have a number of people involved in working on reducing suicide in our county and providing prevention efforts.  Tammi Kohlman is our leader through CSI in promoting, developing, and implementing the Destination Zero initiative in our community.  Tammi works tirelessly to schedule and arranges clinical trainings, such as Motivational Interviewing, QPR, and DBT for area clinicians.  She is a QPR trainer and promotes the prevention efforts strongly throughout our community.  She has been a strong proponent of suicide prevention within the agricultural community, speaking to farmers and agricultural conferences.  She has been instrumental in getting our current business initiatives started.  Tammi also worked with Sarah Faust to get Fond du Lac County’s Suicide Death Review Team functioning.  Despite all of the committees and groups she works with, she is always gracious, calm, and exceedingly kind.  We are so lucky to have her working with us to continue to develop resources and programs to prevent suicide in our community.” 

-Miranda Amerling, MS LPC. Miranda is a psychotherapist at Doll & Associates. (May 2020)

Miranda Amerling, MS LPC is a psychotherapist at Doll & Associates. She is a certified QPR Instructor, member of CSI’s Mental Health Access committee, the Agnesian/SSM Health representative in the Destination Zero stakeholder group, and Co-Chair of Prevent Suicide Fond du Lac County. Miranda is exceedingly busy, but still manages to dedicate significant time to suicide prevention efforts here in Fond du Lac County, and we are so thankful for her efforts! (April 2020)

Sarah Faust is a Health Educator at the FDL County Health Department. She is an active member of the Prevent Suicide Fond du Lac County and Trauma-Informed Care committees, and she plays a key role in planning and facilitating the county’s Suicide Death Review process.

Sarah is also a certified QPR instructor and has conducted 6 trainings since the beginning of 2019. We are extremely thankful for Sarah’s knowledge about the many factors which influence the health of our communities, and her dedication to the suicide prevention efforts in Fond du Lac County! (March 2020)

Angie Meilahn is a school psychologist in the Ripon Area School District. She is a certified QPR instructor and a member of CSI’s Mental Health Access committee. Angie has done a phenomenal job advocating for wide-scale QPR training within the Ripon Area School District. She has conducted 7 trainings within RASD (5 in 2019, and 2 already in 2020), and has trained 95% of district staff! We are thankful that the Ripon Area School District has chosen to prioritize equipping their employees with this life-saving information and for Angie’s outstanding effort to make it happen! (February 2020)

Chaplain Douglas Hedman attended the DZ kickoff training in June 2018 and has been highly involved in our efforts ever since. He is an active member of Prevent Suicide FDL Co., became a certified QPR instructor, is part of the Warrior Summit planning team, and is also a member of the county’s Suicide Death Review Team. Due to his connection to both the military population and the faith community, Chaplain Hedman is able to offer insights into suicide prevention and mental health promotion efforts within these groups. We sincerely thank him for his generous donation of time and his dedication to suicide prevention efforts here in Fond du Lac County! (Summer 2019)