Photo credit: Vibrant Emotional Health 2018 Annual Report

USITT alongside the New World Rigging Symposium (NWRS) will welcome Dr. John Draper to Louisville to discuss mental health, current trends, warning signs, and practical action steps that can promote help, hope, and healing in individuals, communities, and cultures struggling with emotional and suicidal distress. A special thanks to Behind The Scenes Charity for funding Dr. Draper’s visit.

Dr. Draper is the Executive Vice-President of National Networks for Vibrant Emotional Health, which includes the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Coming to USITT19 with nearly 30 years of experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, he is considered an “international expert in crisis contact center practices.”

Since 2004, Dr. Draper has been the Executive Director of the SAMHSA-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK), overseeing all aspects of this service — including its subnetwork, the Disaster Distress Helpline — and the Lifeline’s partnership with the VA in administering the Veteran’s Crisis Line. As an expert in crisis services, Dr. Draper has regularly engaged with print, broadcast, and web-based media for over 20 years.

Dr. Draper frequently presents at national conferences on subjects related to best practices in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, as well as the use of innovative technologies such as text, chat, and other online programs in helping persons in emotional distress.

It has been shown that a high prevalence of mental health and substance use problems, along with rising rates of suicide, are gaining attention in America, including in the entertainment field.

Dr. Draper will present two sessions in Louisville. One at USITT19 and the other during the NWRS.

After his session at Conference, “Emotional CPR: Models for Promoting Help, Hope, and Healing in Moments of Crisis,” Dr. Draper will lead a panel discussion and Q&A with industry professionals who will then share their stories.

At the NWRS, Dr. Draper will present a second session, “Mental Health in the Entertainment Work Environment,” in conversation with Eddie Raymond about how to recognize the danger signs of depression and chemical dependency and where to find resources to help.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255) connects the caller to a certified crisis center near where the call is placed.