Since 2015 Lock and Talk Virginia has been thrilled to bring nationally recognized experts in the field of suicide awareness and prevention to Charlottesville, Virginia. Survivors, their families, friends, and allied professionals travel from across the region to be part of the Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month training event.

Survivors, their families, friends, and allied professionals travel from across the region to be part of the Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Month training event.

2017 Event:

Dr. Jerry Reed & Lt. Deuntay Diggs

September 29, 2017 at

Dickinson Theatre, Piedmont Virginia Community College,

Charlottesville, VA

Dr. Jerry Reed

Dr. Jerry Reed has been a leader in the suicide prevention movement for many years. So it comes as a bit of surprise when he says, “Each of us in this field should be committed to looking to other areas, because the answers to some of our challenges lie in places we least expect them.” In this heartfelt talk, Dr. Reed offers a new way to help individuals – and the movement as a whole – move forward.

Jerry Reed, PhD, MSW, is the Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the nation’s only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.


Deuntay Diggs

Deuntay Diggs is a young, dynamic, motivational speaker who presents a fresh dialogue on issues of race, sexuality, and diversity within our communities.

He provides insight and shares his own personal and unique cultural experiences as a roadmap on how to achieve change and acceptance. He went from a poverty-stricken family, to a Virginia Military Institute graduate, and then ultimately became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office.

Deuntay was the first openly gay cadet to graduate from VMI as well as the first openly gay deputy at the Sheriff’s Office. Deuntay shares his accounts of how being abused, abandoned, and raised by strangers, shaped his path in life. He speaks openly about how he dealt with homelessness, lack of education, the issue of sexuality, as well as being African American in a predominantly Caucasian environment.

Diggs will deliver a presentation that includes valuable lessons from his lived experience, debunking suicide intervention myths, and provide training on maintaining emotional wellness in a helping profession. Stay tuned for more information on registration at this website.

Past Presenters have included:

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Kevin Hines

In September 2000, Kevin Hines leapt off the Golden Gate Bridge, a method of suicide attempt that has resulted in death for most of the 2000 people who have made that jump since the bridge was erected in 1937. But Kevin survived. He survived, and in the 16 years since his nearly fatal try, Kevin has become the bridge between the many mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, spouses, friends, and loved ones who made a similar acts. Each doing what they did to put an end to unimaginable suffering—and those left behind, wondering why? What could we have done to help?

Even further, Hines, in sharing his story, is fostering a critical bridge of hope between life and death for people caught in the pain of living with serious mental illness, difficult life circumstances, and more. His refreshing honesty, realism, advocacy, and appreciation of the complex conditions that contribute to mental illness is a much-needed guiding like through the darkness of societal stigma and discrimination


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Kevin Briggs

A member of the CHP for over twenty-three years, with the majority of those years patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge, Sgt. Briggs discovered early that his job required him to take on an unusual role for a police officer: suicide prevention counselor. As a cancer survivor and survivor of multiple heart operations, Briggs’ familiarity with personal struggle bonds him with suicidal men and women. With simple empathy, an instinct for improvisation and a refusal to walk away, Briggs has negotiated several hundred people from suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge. As he told the SF Chronicle, “I’ve talked to people from ten minutes to seven hours. I very much despise losing. I do whatever I can to get that person back over the rail. I play to win.” Sgt. Briggs retired from the CHP in November 2013.


Dese’rae L. Stage:

I’m a photographer, writer, and suicide awareness activist. In December 2005, I completed my Bachelor of Science in Psychology at East Tennessee State University, where I was an undergraduate research associate in Dr. Chris Dula’s Applied Psychology Lab. I’m trained in various crisis intervention techniques. And the camera? Self-taught. I struggled with self-injury for nine years, and survived a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2004. It is these experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and a lack of resources for attempt survivors, that prompted me to start working on Live Through This.

In February 2013, I raised $23,000 via Kickstarter to take the project on the road. As of August 2016, I’ve photographed 166 suicide attempt survivors in 28 US cities.Live Through This has been covered by the New York TimesAssociated PressUpworthyNPR, and more. I’ve spoken about the project at universities and conferences nationwide. I’ve provided commentary on various radio and TV programs (including the Glenn Beck Program). Recent achievements include winning the inaugural Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest and being named New Yorker of the Week by NY1 News. I’ve even told my story onstage to a room full of science enthusiasts while violently ill.  My writing has been published in CosmopolitanxoJane, and Huffington Post.  I live in Philadelphia with my wife (a fellow Miami native) and various furry creatures.



Thomas Joiner

The Florida State University psych professor, who grew up here and endured the suicide of his father not far from their Atlanta home, asserts that suicide is not simply an act but a process. Joiner describes how a person works up to suicide by overcoming the fear of death and the instinct for self-preservation. In accessible, somber prose, he also explains the conditions under which a person becomes suicidal.—Lawrence Wright, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution