(picture pending) Alex Karydi - Program Director
Dr. Alex Karydi, LMFT, CSAC, CAC, is a certified drug and alcohol counselor who has been trained in the impact of minority stress. She has a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has served for Richland 2 School District as a therapist and with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) as an evaluating psychologist with the designation of the DJJ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) youth coordinator. She is currently the Project Director for the SC Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative a community movement to end suicide in children and young adults. She has been working with kids and their families throughout her travels since 2000.
Robert Cottingham - Suicide Prevention Trainer/Coordinator
Originally from Sumter, S.C., Rob Cottingham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2009 with a bachelor’s in Mass Communication. After working with disabled adults for several years, he worked as a journalist for two family owned S.C. newspapers from 2011-2017. Rob joined the SCYSPI team as a training coordinator and facilitator in December 2017.
“Slow down. Close your eyes. Breathe deep. Sing yourself a song. You’re strong enough to get through this. Take it from someone who knows.” - Rob
(picture pending) Taylor Davis - Suicide Prevention Coordinator & Program Manager
Taylor Davis, NCC, LPC-I, is an experiential systemic therapist who received her Ed.S in Counselor Education, Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy from the University of South Carolina. During her early work she focused her youth advocacy endeavors on at-risk youth and drop-out prevention within the school system. Prior to transitioning to her current position, she served Richland School District 2 in dual roles as the Alternative School Transition Coordinator and as a family therapist with Family Intervention Services (FIS). In her current position as “Suicide Prevention Coordinator” with the South Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative (SCYSPI), a program of the Department of Mental Health (DMH), she works to end suicide and promote recovery and growth in youth and young adults throughout SC by collaborating with all systems of care via provision of best practice training, policy and protocol development, and implementation of effective suicide care pathways. Taylor is a skilled trainer in a variety of topics related to mental health, suicide prevention, and multi-systemic integration. Ms. Davis is a certified SafeTALK, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST), Suicide to Hope, and Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk (AMSR) Trainer.
(picture pending) Tonya Ahtonen - Training Coordinator/Instructor
Tonya Ahtonen has fifteen years of experience in various positions within the criminal justice system including uniformed patrol officer, parole examiner, and trainer. Tonya has worked as a full-time trainer since 2013 and believes training should be informative yet fun. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Arts in English from Southern New Hampshire University. Working with the South Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative allows her to help not only those in crisis, but also those surrounding someone in crisis who may feel helpless or underqualified to assist the person in crisis. At the end of the day, everyone can help someone in a crisis see light through the darkness. Always be present for others.
(picture and bio pending) Tinotenda Martin - Data Coordinator
(picture and bio pending) Brandon Parker - Public Information Coordinator