Welcome. We are the Arkansas chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.
As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, we bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities. Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others energize our chapter.
Currently the Arkansas Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention includes 11 board members working to bring the AFSP mission to Arkansas.
Arkansas Chapter Board:
Christopher Epperson - Chair, Became involved with the Arkansas Chapter after volunteering for the Little Rock “ Out Of The Darkness” walk in 2011. Because of the loss of several good friends, He has a strong passion for suicide awareness and prevention.
Shelby Rowe - President, is the Intentional Injury Project Analyst for the Statewide Injury Prevention Program at Arkanas Children's hospital and has over 18 years experience working in public health. This includes spending the last 5 years training community members, educators and mental health professionals across the state to recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide so that lives may be saved. She is a survivor of her own suicide attempt and is an outspoken advocate for suicide prevention and intervention at the local, state and national level. Shelby has held several leadership roles for organizations such as the National Association of Crisis Center Directors and the Arkansas Suicide Prevention Initiative.
Jet Cuffman – Treasurer, is a graduate of Hendrix College, post graduate work at University of Arkansas at Little Rock in Accounting. She worked for 10+ years in private and public accounting. She has served on several public health and non profit board of directors in Pulaski County. Jet is a wife and mother of two sons. She is a survivor having lost 2 close friends and an aunt to suicide.
Wendy Thompson has worked extensively in the non-profit field. She is married to Len, and is the mother of two teenage sons. Wendy is a survivor having lost her father to suicide when she was twelve years old.
Dr. A.J. Zolten, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist in practice in Little Rock, AR. Dr. Zolten specializes in the evaluation and treatment of dementia and closed head injured patients. He is family survivor of suicide, having lost his mother and her father to suicide.
Mary Ekdahl, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents. She received her Ph.D. from Binghamton University in 1995. Dr. Ekdahl currently has a full-time private practice in Sherwood, Arkansas.
Steven Blackwood is a Real Estate and Mortgage Finance expert. He is an Arkansas native with nationwide clients such as FNMA, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and others who have property in Arkansas. Steven is a survivor having lost his only son to suicide-without warning-at the age of 19. Steven's family and friends are known for their establishment of the Alex Blackwood Memorial Foundation for Hope. Steven, his wife Cindi and their daughter Ariel speak regularly throughout the country to raise awareness of teen depression and suicide.
Alex Wells is the Youth Minister at Somers Avenue Church of Christ, an Arkansas native, and a survivor of suicide, having lost his sister in December of 2008. Alex is married to the love of his life, Sandy Wells, who works for ASU Childhood Services. With a strong emphasis on adolescent suicide education and advocacy, Alex is working to bring light to the dark world of teen suicide.
Mary Meacham became a survivor after losing her 24 year old son, Kyle, to suicide on March 2, 2010. She became aware of the work of AFSP in her search for understanding about mental illness and suicide. She helped organize the first Out of the Darkness Campus walk at the University of Central Arkansas and is currently the contact person for Community and Campus Walks. She has presented the 'More Than Sad' teacher training program to over 600 educators. Mary lives in Monroe, Arkansas with her husband of 36 years, Steve. In addition to Kyle, they have two other children, Grant and Kathaleene. Mary was a high school biology teacher at Brinkley High School for 28 years and is now a science specialist for the Great Rivers Educational Service Cooperative.
Tyler West - Is currently the chair for Little Rock "Out Of The Darkness" walk.
Ladeana Bell Autry -