The Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection is pleased to welcome Sarah Bassing-Sutton to its staff as the agency’s new Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator.

Sarah, who is a longtime community mental health advocate and suicide prevention specialist, will lead The Connection’s efforts to create systems-level change to address, and ultimately prevent, adult suicide in the tri-county region – Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties.

Sarah will drive The Connection’s Zero Suicide framework deeper into healthcare and mental health care, including specific strategies to address those at greater risk:  middle-aged white men, farmers, veterans, construction workers and the LGBTQ population.

“This position is a little like slipping into on old, comfy sweater and I’m really excited to see where this work will go,” said Sarah, who most recently served as the Outagamie County Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court Coordinator.

Sarah’s new position at The Connection is made possible with $500,000 in grant support from Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advancing a Healthy Wisconsin Endowment and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

“We are incredibly lucky to have Sarah leading this suicide prevention effort in the community,” said Beth Clay, Executive Director of The Connection. “She brings with her all of the experiences and connections she gained in building the school mental health screening initiative. She is excited to turn her attention from kids to our hurting adults.”

In her new position, Sarah has research support from Sara Kohlbeck, assistant director of the Comprehensive Injury Center and PhD student at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Previously, Sarah worked at The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley where she was instrumental in developing and piloting “Teen Screen,” an innovative, school-based mental health screening program. Over four years, Teen Screen grew into “Connected Community Wellness Screen,” a successful program that improves the emotional health of youth in the tri-county region and enhances their access to mental health services.

Sarah has also served on the leadership committee for The Connection’s Zero Suicide initiative; is a former Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, a former QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainer; and has provided numerous educational presentations on suicide prevention throughout the community to a variety of audiences.