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 12 board members working to bring the AFSP mission to Arkansas.
Arkansas Chapter Board:
Christopher Epperson - became involved with the Arkansas chapter after volunteering for the Little Rock Out Of The Darkness community walk in 2011. Because of the loss of several good friends, he has a strong passion for suicide awareness and prevention. Christopher currently lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Wendy Thompson is a survivor having lost her father to suicide when she was thirteen years old. Wendy has worked in community outreach and education for more than 20 years. In large part, her career has been based on an in-born compassion which was solidified by the early awareness that life is fragile, people have needs, and society should do what it can to help. Wendy founded the first Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Little Rock in 2008, and went on to form the Arkansas chapter of AFSP in 2009. Wendy is the Assistant Director at the UAMS Center for Health Literacy and is the former Director of Operations for the March of Dimes. She is married to Len, and is the mother of two sons.
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.
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 (Autry) Bell - is a licensed psychological examiner who has worked in the mental health field in a variety of settings since 1993. Ladeana has one teenage daughter, two guinea pigs, and a boxer dog that keep her busy. Ladeana has a natural strength as an advocate and a strong desire to promote awareness of suicide as a public health concern. Having both professional and familial experiences with suicidal behaviors and suicide has fueled her passion to make a difference.
Marcey Ball lost her 14 year old son to suicide in February 2009. Marcey’s daughter, Nikki, became involved with suicide awareness her senior year of high school. Nikki has been a huge source of strength for so many people around her. Marcey and her daughter speak with students and the community to raise awareness for survivors by sharing their family story. Marcey's husband, Andy, currently is a police officer and understands first hand how ‘miss leading’ the media can be when reporting on suicides. She currently has her associates degree in accounting and will be graduating with a bachelors degree in business this year. Being involved, bringing awareness and helping educate the community about mental health is her top priority. Her and the family live in Rogers, Arkansas.
Tabitha Breshears– is a Registered Nurse working as the Clinical Leader of the Emergency Department and Trauma Coordinator at White River Medical Center in Batesville, Arkansas. She became active in suicide awareness and prevention three and half years ago when she started serving on the board of the North Central Trauma Regional Advisory Council and a year and a half ago, Became a survivor of suicide, with the lost of her grandfather. Tabitha is the chair for the Northeast Arkansas “Out of the Darkness” Walk.
Patrick Minton is a Partner at Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) where he advises the world's top companies on how to leverage technology and information for competitive advantage. He and his wife, Holli Minton, have been involved in the Little Rock "Out Of The Darkness Walk" for several years. Having lost friends and family to suicide, Pat is passionate about supporting the organization's mission to extend the awareness and education todays youth.
Annie Rook became involved in AFSP through the Little Rock Out of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness after her own suicide attempt in 2012. Humbed by the overwhleming support from her family and friends, Annie looks forward to furthering the AFSP's mission of understanding and prevention. Annie is a resident of central Arkansas and currently works with Northwestern Mutual as the Director of Recruitment and Development.
Dodi Miller Dodi Miller became a survivor after losing her ex-husband, father of her two sons, on January 5, 2013. In her search for understanding mental Illness she found the AFSP walk and attended with family and friends in 2013. Dodi's step-daughter Jessica competes in the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen pageants and chose Suicide awareness as her platform. Together they decided to purchase the "More than Sad" program and set out to speak to the youth in their community. Visiting the Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club and volunteering at the UALR Suicide Awareness Week and the "Together we Can" Campus Walk in 2014 . Dodi has been asked to share her story with corporate employee's, students from ages 10-25 and survivors who have reached out because of her community work. Dodi has created multiple fundraisers around Saline County and Pulaski County in the name of her memorial team "Stamp of Life". She has devoted her time and heart to raise awareness. But she couldn't do it without her amazing family. Her amazing husband Scotty Miller and her awesome kids, Jessica, Bentley and Brayden.
Terri Tidwell is a Manager at Osmose Communications Services in Conway, AR, but resides in her adopted hometown, Little Rock, for the last 20 years. In those years, she has become involved with several non-profits, including the Arc Arkansas which supports intellectually challenged adults. Terri became involved with the AFSP Arkansas Chapter after enduring four losses to suicide; enough is enough! (#stopthestigma) Terri wants to raise awareness and get the conversation going. “A simple, heartfelt conversation cansave a life!”
In recognition of your extraordinary determination, passion, and work to help those who have lost friends and family, raising awareness, and educating Arkansans about suicide prevention.
Wendy Thompson (2013)