September 25, 2020 | Live Through It: Suicide Risk and Prevention in COVID-19

Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are on the rise in this pandemic and young adults, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers now face elevated risk for suicide, along with LGBTQ+ communities. Identify red flags and effective interventions, and explore the latest community suicide-prevention strategies in Oregon — a state with an already high suicide rate.



Lillian Shirley, Lillian Shirley is the director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division and has been a local and a national leader in advancing public health. Most recently, she led the Multnomah County Health Department. Ms. Shirley was the Vice Chair of the Oregon Health Policy Board that designed Oregon’s Transformation Plan. She served as the founding Vice Chair of Health Share, Oregon’s largest Coordinated Care Organization. Before coming to Oregon, Ms. Shirley was the director of Public Health for the city of Boston and was also the first executive director of the Boston Health Commission, where she led the agency through the establishment, design and organization of the new public health authority. Ms. Shirley has served on the boards of the Public Health Foundation, the Oregon Public Health Institute, Portland Sustainable Development Commission and served as President of the National Association of City and County Health Officials. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of the State of New York. She also holds a Master of Public Health from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Lillian Shirley can be contacted at



Michael Sorensen, MPA, Michael Sorensen joined the team at Cedar Hills Hospital and Outpatient Services in 2019. He works to bring awareness to the community about the programs we offer. Michael has worked in the healthcare industry managing efforts to ameliorate health disparities, end AIDS, support folks with cancer, address mental health and substance use issues, and access primary care and more. Michael is a suicide survivor.  He holds a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marylhurst University. Michael was born in Portland, OR and though he has lived in many cities across the country, Portland always calls him home.

Michael Sorensen can be reached at

Nirmala Dhar, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker with a master’s in social work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri and Bombay University, India. She is mission driven with 35 years of experience in behavioral health in the public sector in Missouri, New Jersey, and Oregon. She is the Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative Project Director for Oregon Health Authority’s Health Systems Division. In addition, she is the PASSR Level II Coordinator and the SME for her Division. She is the OHA Champion for the Geriatric BH ECHO Clinic for Nursing Facilities. She is a trainer and presenter on behavioral health and aging topics and is a CIT trainer. Her areas of professional interest include improving behavioral health access in long term care settings, positive aging and age pride, social justice, quality improvement, health metrics and workforce development.  She also enjoys being a mentor to younger professionals who share her values. Nirmala enjoys gardening, reading non-fiction and travel.  She considers herself a foodie!  She is married to Sanjay and lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Nirmala Dhar can be reached at

Divina Davidds-Garrido is a former client of Newport Academy who has used her experiences in overcoming suicidal ideation, depression, and self-harm to help others struggling with the same issues find their light. Since treatment she has gone on to travel to Tanzania on a service and education trip, pursued higher education and is currently working towards a degree in International Relations. Divina is a board member of several clubs on campus, participated in social media campaigns with To Write Love on Her Arms for suicide prevention, and has partaken in a mentorship program to further her personal development and learn how to turn her previous pains and struggles into a guiding purpose for others.

Divina Davidds-Garrido can be reached at


Emily Moser, MPA, MAT, Emily Moser is a member of the Crisis Response Team for Lines for Life, a statewide nonprofit providing prevention education and 24/7 crisis intervention services. Ms. Moser directs the YouthLine Program, a teen-to-teen, peer support, help, crisis line.  Additional key components of the YouthLine Program include Educational Training and Outreach, and Youth Development for the volunteers.  Emily has been on staff at Lines for Life for over 9 years working in community prevention, prevention education, and crisis intervention with a primary focus on youth. Ms. Moser is a certified trainer in several evidence-based mental health and suicide-related programs including safeTALK, Youth Mental Health First Aid, and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  Ms. Moser has also participated in Crisis Intervention Training with law enforcement agencies throughout the state. Ms. Moser holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Lewis and Clark College and a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University.  Ms. Moser attended the University of Oregon where she received a Bachelor of Arts in business and dance.

Emily Moser can be contacted at


Our Sponsors:

To share your ideas or if you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Robin Moody at

Event Slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.