• News Release: 3/10/2020

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    March 10, 2020


    Contact: Angela  Callahan, (413) 841-3546, callahan_angela@holyokehealth.com




    March 6, 2020, Holyoke, MA-River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) held a training entitled “Understanding, Assessing, Managing, and Preventing Suicidal Behavior” at Holyoke High School’s North Campus on March 2, 2020. RVCC therapists attended the event, along with school counselors, psychologists, and nurses from fourteen local school districts. The training reviewed the spectrum of self-destructive behavior, differentiated suicide from non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, reviewed suicide assessment and intervention, and discussed sitting with misery and self-care.


    The presenter, Barent Walsh, Ph.D., has written extensively and presented internationally on the topic of self-destructive behavior.  According to Dr. Walsh, “the field of suicide prevention is evolving with important new empirically supported theories and interventions”. He is the author of Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide 2nd edition, Guilford Press, (2014). This volume has been translated into Polish and Japanese. Dr. Walsh has presented on self-injury in London, Edinburg, Vienna, Stuttgart, Ulm, Oslo, Dubai, Tokyo, Beijing, Montevideo, Mexico City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and throughout the United States. Dr. Walsh is the Executive Director Emeritus of Open Sky Community Services, a human service agency headquartered in Worcester, MA. He is also a Lecturer on Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, MA.


    Alexa Mignano, LMHC, RVCC Director of School-Based Clinical Services, brought forth the idea of the training in response to an increase in self-harming and suicidal behavior amongst students in the Pioneer Valley.  “As the premier provider of school-based therapy services, it was imperative for RVCC to offer this training in response to the school districts concern of increased self-harming behavior and suicidality amongst students. Besides providing school districts with clinicians in the schools, we also try to support school administrators and their staff with tools they can utilize to support their school community", said Mignano.


    RVCC partners with local school districts to provide comprehensive clinical services during the school day. RVCC provides families with access to therapy by removing barriers such as long waitlists, transportation, insurance coverage problems, and scheduling conflicts.  RVCC currently partners with school districts in Holyoke, Chicopee, Easthampton, Hadley, Hatfield, Amherst, Granby, Springfield, and East Longmeadow.  RVCC also has an office on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College providing counseling services to students.


    RVCC is a leader in the Pioneer Valley, addressing the behavioral health needs of our community, as well as hosting world-renowned speakers to provide relevant education and training to behavioral health professionals. Previous RVCC hosted events included “The Healing Project: Healing Hearts of Childhood Trauma - Creating a Trauma Informed Community” with Laura Porter, and “Addressing Human Sexuality, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Psychotherapeutic Process” with Eunice Aviles, PsyD, LMHC. RVCC is currently planning another conference for this fall and will announce the topic and speaker this summer.


    About River Valley Counseling Center:

    River Valley Counseling Center, Inc. (RVCC) is a multifaceted mental health agency with a 67 year history of changing lives and empowering our community throughout the Pioneer Valley. RVCC is a member of Valley Health Systems in Holyoke which also includes the affiliates Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice Life Care, and Holyoke Medical Group. RVCC services include: outpatient behavioral health clinics; school-based health centers (Teen Clinics); CBHI Services, Substance Use Services, HIV/AIDS Project; CONCERN Employee Assistance Program; and behavioral health services in schools, physician offices, and community organizations. To learn more about RVCC, please visit our website: rvcc-inc.org



    Angela Callahan, MSW
    Director of Marketing & Development
    P.O. Box 791
    Holyoke, MA 01041
    Cell (413)841-3546