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Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Tourette Syndrome Community

Members of the TAA community gathered together for a webinar on mental health and suicide prevention. Held in cooperation with Doreen Marshall, Ph.D, VP of Mission Engagement at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), this informative webinar provided valuable resources for the prevention of suicide.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month, members of the TAA community, including a young adult and a parent, shared personal experiences. Additionally, Dr. Barbara Coffey, M.D. MS, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and TAA Medical Advisory Board Co-Chair, is a clinician with Tourette Syndrome expertise who provided a clinical point of view on this important and sensitive topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to find support for yourself or others in the Tourette Community who may be at risk for suicide.
  • Understand how to help someone at risk.
  • Resources are available for suicide prevention for you or someone you know.
  • Identify ways that the Tourette Syndrome community can support mental health and suicide prevention
Dr. Barbara Coffey

About Dr. Barbara Coffey

Barbara J. Coffey, M.D., M.S., is an internationally recognized specialist in Tourette’s Disorder and related disorders. She is a Professor in the Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Division Chief in the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, FL.

Dr. Coffey received her B.A. in Biology-Psychology from University of Rochester, her M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine, and M.S. in Epidemiology from Harvard University. She completed her residency in psychiatry at Boston University Hospital and her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Former Director of Pediatric Psychopharmacology at McLean Hospital and Tourette’s Clinics at McLean and Massachusetts General Hospitals from 1992-2001, Dr. Coffey remained on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School until 2007. She was Director of the Tics and Tourette’s Clinical and Research Program at NYU School of Medicine and Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 2001-2012 where she retains an Adjunct faculty position.

Dr. Coffey is the author of more than one hundred manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, chapters and abstracts. Past and new member of the Medical Advisory Board of the TAA, Dr. Coffey is a highly sought after speaker at worldwide conferences. The recipient of numerous research grants from NIH, foundations and industry, her research has focused on phenomenology, psychiatric comorbidity, neurobiology and novel treatment of Tourette’s Disorder.  Dr. Coffey has been a regular recipient of Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctors, and past Boston and recent New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors” honors.

Doreen Marshall

About Doreen Marshall, Ph.D.

As a psychologist with experience that spans clinical, educational, and professional settings, Dr. Doreen Marshall has been engaged in local and national suicide prevention and postvention work for more than 15 years.

Since joining AFSP in 2014, Dr. Marshall has expanded AFSP’s menu of programs and improved program delivery through AFSP’s nationwide network of chapters. Dr. Marshall oversees AFSP’s Prevention and Education and Loss and Healing programs, which includes community-based suicide prevention training, clinician training, AFSP’s Survivor Outreach Program for survivors of suicide loss, and programming for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Dr. Marshall works to foster partnerships with mental health organizations, such as with the National Council for Behavioral Health to train people across the country in Mental Health First Aid, and oversees the development of new programming, including clinician trainings, community trainings and K-12 educator trainings.

Prior to joining AFSP, Marshall served as Associate Dean of Counseling/Chair at Argosy University, where she contributed to the CACREP-accreditation process for the university’s counseling programs, and chaired the counseling program on the Atlanta campus. She is also past-chair for the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Georgia, and previously served as Associate Director of The Link Counseling Center’s suicide prevention and aftercare program in Atlanta. She has served as a consultant for both national and state suicide prevention and postvention initiatives, which included providing suicide prevention training for the Division of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and serving on a task force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

Marshall holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University, a master’s degree in Professional Counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and English from The College of New Jersey.

Cheryl Cardall scaled

About Cheryl Cardall

Cheryl Cardall is a mom of 5 children ages 10-21.  Due to family circumstances, in recent years she has become a passionate educator and advocate for parents raising children with various challenges including mental health issues, Tourette Syndrome, behavioral and educational issues.  Cheryl has a bachelor’s degree in Human and family development with an emphasis in early childhood education.  She has been coaching and strengthening moms and families for over a decade.  She is also the future host of Fight Like a Mother Podcast.

Allen shoaff

About Allen Shoaff

Allen Shoaff is a recent graduate from Perry High School in Canton, Ohio, as apart of the class of 2021. He is a Youth Ambassador and intern for the Tourette Association of America. Allen was officially diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in 2017 and underwent training to be a Youth Ambassador in 2019. He has been an advocate for mental health, suicide, and Tourette Syndrome since.