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.
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.
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, which changed their family lives forever. Marcey’s daughter, Nikki, became involved with suicide awareness in high school during her senior year and has sense graduated. Nikki has been a “huge source of strength for so many people around her. We speak to students and the community to raise awareness and for fellow survivors sharing our story”. Marcey’s husband, Andy, currently is a police officer with there local police department. He knows 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 in 2015 with a bachelors degree in business. Being involved, bringing awareness and helping educate the community with all regards to all aspects of suicide is her top goal. Her and the family live in Centerton, Arkansas.
Vicki Stanley- is a member of First Baptist Church in Hot Springs, AR. Married to her “best friend and soul-mate”, Larry Stanley. Although she has suffered from depression for the last 15 years, her passion to further the mission of AFSP became prevalent with the loss of her 29 year old son, Christopher, to suicide in 2011. Vicki is an Event Coordinator by profession, but eradicating the stigma of depression and mental illness in the public’s eye with regards to suicide is her life’s mission. “I want to educate the public about suicide and share my survivor story with anyone who feels that no one else understands.”
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.
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)