By: Bailey Phillips
On Friday November 15, 2013 the A&M-Commerce department of Psychology, Counseling & Special Education, department of Educational Leadership and the College of Education & Human Services hosted Dr. Ruth Ann White Day. Dr. White is a retired professor from A&M-Commerce who has served as a teacher, lecturer, and has held multiple student affairs positions at the local, state, and national levels and is also a founding member of the Texas Counseling Association. In honor of Ruth Ann White, the university held a fall conference to celebrate her contributions to the profession of student affairs.
In addition to local school districts throughout the Northeast Texas region, mental health professionals and school counselors were invited and encouraged to attend the conference for free with an opportunity to receive continuing education units. There were a number of speakers including Dr. Elyse Deleski, LMFT and Founder and Director of New Perspective Counseling Services, who addressed how to recognize and respond to suicidal behavior. Dr. Richard De La Garza, II, an alumnus of Texas A&M University- Commerce (BS 1985) and Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston spoke on suicide prevention, intervention and treatment. Dr. R.N. Singh, Interim Department Head and Professor of Sociology at A&M- Commerce wrapped up the day with a seminar on “Suicide Terrorism”.
The conference piggy backed off of a legislative initiative backed by state senator Bob Deuell, who was also in attendance, that focuses on making schools in his districts more aware of bullying, suicide, and anger issues. The overall goal was to help increase awareness and provide training to the school districts that surround the university to eliminate aggressive behavior in the classroom and the number of bullying-related suicides.