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Dr. Richard McKeon

2024 Conference Speaker
Dr. Richard McKeon


Senior Advisor, 988 and Crisis Office

Richard McKeon Ph.D., MPH received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Public Health in Health Administration from Columbia University. He has spent most of his career working in community mental health, including 11 years as director of a psychiatric emergency service and four years as Associate Administrator/Clinical Director of a hospital based community mental health center in Newton, New Jersey.  In 2001, he was awarded an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellowship and worked in the United States Senate for Sen. Paul Wellstone, covering health and mental health policy issues. He spent five years on the Board of the American Association of Suicidology as Clinical Division Director and has also served on the Board of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association.

He is currently Senior Advisor in the SAMHSA 988 and Crisis Office after serving for 12 years as Chief for the Suicide Prevention Branch in the Center for Mental Health Services where he oversaw all branch suicide prevention activities, including the Garrett Lee Smith State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention, and Campus Suicide Prevention grant programs, the Zero Suicide initiative, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the Native Connections program. He has worked with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline since its inception in 2005, including establishing the foundation for 988 as the national suicide prevention number. In 2008, he was appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to the Secretary’s Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to the Department of Defense Task Force on Suicide Prevention in the Military. He served on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Task Force that revised the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services project management team coordinating the 2024 revision of the U.S. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. He also participated in the development of World Health Organization’s first World Suicide Prevention Report.

In 2023 he was awarded the American Association for Suicidology Dublin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Suicide Prevention. Also in 2023, he was a finalist for the Samuel J Heyman Service to America Medal for his contribution to the establishment of 988 as the new United States national suicide prevention and mental health crisis number.

My Sessions