Meet Our Team
Barb Bigalke is a driven, compassionate leader who develops innovative solutions in the areas of mental health, suicide, trauma, and authentic living. Her diverse 20+ year career as a coach, speaker, and teacher provides a solid foundation of knowledge and experience to connect with people in an impactful way. She holds degrees in Psychology, Human Development, and Mental Health. She is certified in CISM, CIT, ASSIST, QPR, Sound Frequency, RAMP and holds 70 + certificates in crisis. Yay - she believes in continuing education! In all Barb does, she is always focused on bringing hope and healing to people who need it. In 2009, she founded the Center for Suicide Awareness and, in 2014, launched the HOPELINE™ text-based support line. As an expert in understanding human behaviors, she is a powerful, dynamic speaker and coach who reaches people from a place of empathy and non-judgement. Barb continues to seek ways to fulfill her passion which is to help people navigate through trauma so they can fully step into their true, authentic self.
My name is Brittnie Westphal and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and majoring in Human Services Leadership. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family and also enjoy attending and watching sporting events. I started working at The Center for Suicide Awareness last semester when I began doing my first internship and have loved it ever since I started. I love being a part of this team because I love the people that I am around daily when I am working there; they are very open and accepting and make it feel like another family or another home. I also love being a part of the team because I enjoy being involved with helping people as well.
Richard has worked in IT since college. Richard's main focus was in healthcare and healthcare related fields. Richard has continued to keep up with training and certifications.
Richard joined the Center for Suicide Awareness in 2011 as a technical resource to assist the Center as their needs have grown and developed.
Richard has also volunteered time to assist with the many walks, fundraisers, and awareness events that are conducted every year.
Emotional Support Dog
I am the Center for Suicide Awareness emotional support dog. I am Brenese Mountain dog and love people! I am attending all my classes to be fully certified. I love my job – I get to meet all sorts of people who give me hugs, snuggles, and treats too. Come and see me at the Center!
Director of Resiliency and Policy Development
Mike Crum is a Master Resilience Trainer for the Army National Guard, and the current Director of Policy
and Resilience for the Center for Suicide Awareness. Mike is a Marine Corps veteran and over the last 7
years has worked in the world of suicidology with veterans, military and the first responder community.
After serving in the Marine Corps, it took a while for Mike to find his purpose but eventually found social
work and completed a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Slippery Rock University, a master’s degree
in Social Work from The University of Wisconsin Green Bay and is currently working on his Doctorate of
Social Work from Capella University. Mike’s passion is education, training, coaching, and mentoring other people in resilience and suicide intervention. Mike currently lives in Madison, WI and enjoys the outdoors, traveling and meeting people from all over the country who keep Mike humble and grateful for the opportunity to impact their life.
Master Resiliency Trainer
Ranee' Wright is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years. Ranee' received a Master's degree in Forensic Nursing from Fitchburg State University prior to pursing her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Ranee' has spent her career working in institutional settings and correctional settings. She has experience in crisis situations and helping patients and staff through those situations. It is one of her core beliefs that we need to take care of our front-line staff to ensure we can provide the best care for our patient populations; trauma informed care begins with healing ourselves.
Retired Truck Driver, motorcycle, and hot rod enthusiast.
I am a community advocate. I find touching base with the public engaging. Whether it's through developing a motorcycle ride and leading it, hosting a car show, or just having coffee at a local shop.
"Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet."
After 45 years in the trucking industry. Retirement has allowed me to help where and when I can.
The Center for Suicide Awareness offers that engagement with the public and my community with endless possibilities.
Lead Master Resilience Trainer
Hello! My name is Scott Ryan and I am the Lead Master Resilience Trainer for the Center for Suicide Awareness. I am also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, I am a former Milwaukee Police Officer, having worked
uniformed and investigative divisions, Tactical Operations, and Special Assignments. I also
worked with the Milwaukee Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation where I was
instrumental in leading the Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force. Throughout those years, I lost
seven close fellow officers to either duty death or suicide, and was myself involved in an
“officer involved shooting”. I am a recipient of a Purple Heart Medal for injuries suffered in the
line of duty as well. The accumulation of all of these things took as tremendous toll on me both
personally and professionally for which there was little or no help at the time. I am excited and
look forward to providing the next generation of EMS, Law Enforcement, Fire Services, etc. with
the tools and means to deal with the stressors of their profession moving forward.
Master Resiliency Trainer
Hi! My name is Amanda Bates and I am apart of the Resiliency training team here at the Center for
Suicide Awareness. I also currently serve as the State of Wisconsin, Department of Health Services EMS
Section Chief overseeing 840 EMS Services and over 16,000 EMS providers. There’s no pressure there.. I
started as an open water lifeguard on Lake Michigan in the City of Kenosha, became a volunteer EMT/
Firefighter with Somers Fire and Rescue than a Paramedic. I have also worked professionally as an EMS Education and Outreach Director with an EMS Association, taught Dispatcher Assisted Bystander CPR to over 100 Telecommunicators, lead a stigma-reduction campaign, wrote community EMS education and served on a local Southeast Wisconsin City Fire Department. I am proud of my roots, the friends and mentors I have met along the way. I have given 110% on every call, every interaction, with very partner, with every patient.
They don’t prepare you in EMS or Fire training for the weight of some of the calls. How to be “you” in
between shifts, how to carry the loss, how to breathe, how to talk to each other. I’ve lost friends and
colleagues to suicide, I’ve seen good medics walk off the job, friends divorce- cheat- drink themselves
into a stupor. This is not who we are.
I took this seat at the State to advocate for EMS practitioners and our Fire Service. I teach this course- to save our profession and to empower you. Not one more.