February 28, 2006
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Co-Sponsors Initiatives on Youth Suicide Prevention
PISCATAWAY—The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has launched a statewide series of initiatives aimed at educating teachers and school administrators about preventing suicide among youth.
Last year, Former Governor Richard J. Codey signed A3931, which made it mandatory for teachers to participate in two hours of suicide prevention training every five years and for schools systems to include suicide prevention in the student curriculum. To help the educational community comply with the law, health professionals at UMDNJ's Behavioral HealthCare are co-sponsoring workshops that will provide school administrators with options for incorporating suicide prevention programs into their curriculum.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among children between ages 10 and 19, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
On Wednesday, March 1, school administrators, teachers, and crisis counselors will have an opportunity to learn about a suicide prevention curriculum for youth during a workshop at St. John Neumann Conference Center, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The workshop will be held at 146 Metlars Lane, in Piscataway.
This free workshop, which is being coordinated by Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth at the UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare, will give school personnel an opportunity to role play as students during a half-day, interactive session on the Signs of Suicide curriculum. The curriculum, developed at the Screening for Mental Health, Inc., in Wellesley Hills, Mass., has been implemented in approximately 2,000 schools nationwide.
"Statistics show more than 90 percent of the children who die of suicide had a mental health disorder," said Donna Amundson, a social worker and program manager of the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth at the UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare. "We want to prevent suicide and the devastation that accompanies it."
The SOS curriculum kit, which can be purchased from Screening for Mental Inc., includes self-injury resources for staff and parents; a staff training video and implementation manual; a "Friends for Life" video and discussion guide; depression screening forms; parent education posters; brochures; and guidelines for dealing with the aftermath of suicide.
In May, UMDNJ will also sponsor the Fourth Annual Suicide Prevention Conference for educators, nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors. "Causes, Management and The Prevention of Youth Suicide" will be held twice: May 4 at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona, and on May 11 at the Somerset Marriott in Somerset. Topics will include current research, school and community prevention programs, the management of bullying behaviors and their relationship to depression. For more information about the conferences, call: 732-235-9342.
The Traumatic Loss Coalitions offers county, regional and statewide training, information, technical assistance, and trauma response capability. Since its inception in Sept. 2000, TLC has trained over 10,000 individuals on various programs for youth. TLC is dedicated to providing suicide prevention programs and responding to crises affecting the behavioral health of youth. For more information about upcoming TLC programs or to receive their newsletter, call 732-235-2810.