Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life Conference urges Arizona communities to address suicide prevention
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Speak Up, Stand Up urges students, parents and educators to join efforts to address prevention through free virtual conference

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  • Nedda Shafir   |   Pendergast School District


The global pandemic has been particularly hard on students who often feel isolated, depressed and disconnected. According to the National Association on Mental Illness, “The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to students, educators, and parents. Children already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes, and now we are learning about the broad impacts on students as a result of schools being closed, physically distancing guidelines and isolation, and other unexpected changes to their lives.”

As an answer to these and other pressing issues, students throughout Arizona will join together in the first virtual conference to Speak Up, Stand Up and Save Lives.

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Now in its fifth year, the event will run from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, and will inspire attendees to create lasting ways to combat bullying, depression and suicide at their schools. The conference is free of charge thanks to partnerships and donations and is open to all schools and students in Arizona.  

The agenda will feature dynamic speakers and age-appropriate topics with interactive breakout sessions designed to connect students with mental health professionals who will engage, educate, and inspire lasting change.

According to Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, Pendergast District Superintendent and Gina Godbehere, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Bureau Chief, “We want every student throughout Arizona to participate in this day and to continue the work through campus clubs, organizations and connections. Our youth are precious and deserve to be given the necessary tools for social and emotional well being during these challenging times.”

The Speak Up, Stand Up and Save Lives conference is for students in grades K-12, adults and volunteers. There will be individualized breakout sessions for each age group along with sessions available for teachers, staff and parents alongside law enforcement members and government leaders to learn how to become trusted adults ready to respond to students in crisis.

For additional information or to register, visit the website at www.speakstandsave.com.