CANA will dedicate a special session to understanding suicide, exposing long-held myths about it and providing language to talk to grieving families about suicide and the deceased in a special session at its convention, Aug. 9-11, in Washington, D.C.

As both a leading cause of death and a public health crisis, suicide is often hidden in plain sight. Those grieving a suicide loss frequently do not receive the support they need. In 2020, it was in the top three leading causes of death for Americans ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for those ages 35-54. Moreover, the pandemic and associated stressors could have long-term effects on suicide rates, particularly among youth.

Led by Dr. Sara Murphy, a death educator and suicidologist with over fifteen years of experience in the field, this session will help you to understand the impact of suicide loss on survivors. It will also help attendees develop helpful responses to support suicide survivor families. “It is not contagious, and without open and accurate conversations about it, including in memorialization, silence will continue to function as a way of shaming survivors and cultivating more silence around these deaths,” Murphy said. “The suicide death of a loved one was the endpoint of their unique and extraordinary life, not the totality of their life.”

Murphy will review high-risk warning signs for suicide to help us recognize and respond to suicide risk within the funeral services profession. This special two-hour session will empower you to contribute positively to professional and community responses to suicide.

Innovative sessions are the core of every CANA Convention, and the Washington, D.C. program is designed to support many aspects of your business success:

  • Tackling burnout and staffing shortages head on, Brent Patterson and Glenda Stansbury will share strategies to engage your staff and help them grow as creative and enthusiastic professionals in Blocked, Burned Out, Blasé.
  • Eric Layer will draw from national data collected over the last several years to respond to families’ preferences around disposition, memorialization, and more by Targeting with Data.
  • Regulate, Recruit, and React: A Quick Take on Current Issues will bring together three presenters on three topics in bite-size format. Caressa Hughes will present a Regulatory Update; Jim Price will share tools for Recruiting Veterans; and Scott Smith will share tips on How Can I Pitch In? when disaster strikes your community.
  • Lisa Baue will present seven essential components of mentoring, discussing Why Mentoring Matters to both owners and team members.
  • Dan Cassin, Bryan Mueller and Cole Waybright will help breathe new life into cemeteries to make sure they are Built to Last.

Everyone is invited to earn their certification by registering for an in-person, pre-convention CANA Crematory Operations Certification Program taught by Tom Krowl of Cremation Systems and Wendy Russell Wiener of WRW Legal.

CANA has also planned an afterparty to celebrate being together in D.C. The Annual Membership Meeting and In Memoriam will give time to reflect on another year in funeral service. Plus, tickets are available to attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and tour Arlington National Cemetery on Friday afternoon and enjoy America’s pastime in America’s capital when the Oakland Athletics meet the Washington Nationals on Friday night. Special day passes are available to attend just Thursday or Friday so you can continue to respond to your business’s needs – just call CANA to inquire.

Learn more about the CANA convention.

About CANA

Founded in 1913, the Cremation Association of North America is an international organization of over 3,500 members, composed of funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, industry suppliers, and consultants. CANA members believe that cremation is preparation for memorialization.

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