Meet The Team
Jennifer Kelliher has been the Managing Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention since 2012 and has been doing coalition work since 2008. In her role as Managing Director for the MCSP, she provides support and technical assistance for each of the state’s 10 regional coalitions, works with an evaluator to put together an annual strategic plan evaluation summary report, prepares educational materials to support advocacy efforts that ensure adequate funding for suicide prevention resources across the Commonwealth, and helps guide the strategic vision of the Coalition’s work by advancing all 7 priority areas of the coalition (advocacy, structural development, strategic plan evaluation, regional coalitions, membership, communications and messaging, and equity.) She is enthusiastic about social justice and has been the chair of the White Ally Caucus since its inception in 2017. She is the co-author of Widening the Lens: Exploring the Role of Social Justice in Suicide Prevention—A Racial Equity Toolkit. She has been co-presenting on social justice and racial equity across Massachusetts and at national and international conferences since 2019. Prior to coming to MCSP, Jennifer collaborated with MA YouthBuild Coalition as the Coalition Director enhancing statewide initiatives and public relations for effective advocacy for ten youth education and workforce development programs.
Pata Suyemoto, PhD
Associate Director of Equity
Dr. Pata Suyemoto is a feminist scholar, writer, educator, curriculum developer, equity trainer, mental health activist, jewelry designer, and avid bicyclist. She earned her PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania and did her research on anti-racist education and issues of race and racism. She is the co-chair of the Greater Boston Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition and the founder and co-chair of the MCSP Alliance for Equity. Pata is one of the authors of Widening the Lens: Exploring the Role of Social Justice in Suicide Prevention – A Racial Equity Toolkit. She is the Training Director for the National Asian American Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA). Pata is a master trainer for NAAPIMA’s Achieving Whole Health Program and the director of the National Asian American Pacific Islander Empowerment Network, which is a network of AAPIs with lived experience related to mental health concerns. She has spoken and written about being a suicide attempt survivor and her struggles with chronic depression and complex PTSD. She is member of several boards and committees including the MCSP’s Executive Committee, the planning committee for the annual Asian American Mental Health Forum, and the board of directors for the American Association of Suicidology. Her claim to fame is that she rode her bicycle across the country in the summer of 2012.
Paula Tessier, MSW
Associate Director, Membership & Communications
Paula Tessier has decades of professional experience working across a wide span of issues with diverse groups of MA leaders in public health, human services, and behavioral health. Paula enjoys building networks for project support and planning while continually refining her skills in communications, equity work, program design and development. Paula listens with all her senses and enjoys exploring wildly diverging ideas and distilling them into concise expressions or plans. She honed this skill from extensive exploration in creating art and through observing social dynamics. She is a group facilitator with skills in expanding inclusion and supporting community engagement through team building, project planning, and training design. Paula previously worked as a DMH Emergency Response to Suicide Prevention (ERSP) Grant Director, helping to coordinate the COVID related SAMHSA grant. She is an active member, providing support for the MA Governor’s Challenge, part of the national VA/SAMHSA suicide prevention project for service members, veterans their families (SMVF). She was a former Director of Safe Spaces, a statewide LGBTQIA+ suicide prevention program at DPH and member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition prior to joining the MCSP staff in 2022. Paula sees her role as a wonderful opportunity to engage in project oversight and communications that support the coalition’s growth.