Alternatives to Suicide: Dialogue and Systems Change (In-Person)

This 2-day, in-person training will prepare participants to use and advocate for the “Alternatives to Suicide” approach, a human rights-centered alternative to coercive or pathologizing models. “Alternatives to Suicide” was first developed by the Wildflower Alliance ( in 2008 and now is used across several states in this country, as well as in Canada and Australia.

The Alternatives to Suicide approach is discussed in more depth in this Community Psychology journal article: This training discusses many common misconceptions about how to support people who are suicidal, as well as a specific framework for how to offer effective support (Validation-Curiosity-Vulnerability-Community). An in depth discussion of the role of power (and most notably, loss of power) is explored, including as it relates to systemic oppression.

Individuals who attend this training can expect to achieve the following learning objectives:

Name at least three common misconceptions about how to support people who are talking about wanting to die
Name all four components of the VCVC model of supporting people who are in distress
Name at least three ways to support someone to regain a sense of power and control in their life
This training includes a number of interactive exercises, including a mix of small group and brain role-plays. Other exercises included are intended to support people to thoroughly examine the role of loss of power and how to refine advocacy techniques in system environments.

About the facilitator:

CAROLINE MAZEL-CARLTON is a native-born Hoosier whose passion for improving mental health supports is informed by her own struggle with suicidal thoughts/attempts. Since moving out of psychiatric group home in 2009, Caroline has worked tirelessly to develop innovative approaches across the globe. She has been featured in diverse media outlets such as Foreign Policy, the New York Times, and Oprah magazine. Caroline has contributed to multiple academic publications on the topic of suicide and one book on her experience skating for the Blue Ridge Rollergirls as #18 “Mazel Tov Cocktail”. Her life and work with “Alternatives to Suicide” is featured in best-selling author Daniel Bergner’s new book “The Mind and the Moon.”

The event is finished.


Feb 20 - 21 2024


9:00 am - 5:00 pm


MHAI SWD Training Institute
1441 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN

If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis,