Youth Suicide – How NJ Schools Are Playing a Role in Saving Lives

Two fathers who lost children to suicide are the main reason teachers in New Jersey have had to undergo regular suicide prevention training for years.

Some adults, such as teachers and other school staff, may see your children more than you do on a typical day. That’s why advocates of youth suicide prevention see schools as the front lines of this problem.


This is part 3 of a four-part series on youth suicide in the Garden State. Join Eric Scott on air and online at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 30 for a live conversation with New Jersey advocates and medical professionals about this growing problem.


“We know that one of the best ways to reduce suicides is to foster relationships,” said Wendy Sefcik, president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “That’s why there was great concern during the pandemicbecause a lot of connections were broken.”

Sefcik, whose 16-year-old son killed himself in 2010, said teachers can play a role in noticing changes in a student’s behavior and being able to identify when someone seems turned off.

A 2006 state law requires every public school teacher to complete a minimum of two hours of suicide prevention education every five years. The instruction, which should be provided by a licensed healthcare professional with training in the area, should include information about the relationship between suicide risk and incidents of harassment, bullying and bullying.

“Suicide is preventable. It’s one of the diseases we can prevent,” said Susan Tellone, clinical director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.

The Freehold-based organization was founded in 2005 by two friends whose children committed suicide. The group’s board of directors made it their mission to require suicide prevention training for teachers after realizing that such a requirement did not exist. When New Jersey passed the law, it was the first state in the country to do so.

In New Jersey, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 24, but the state continues to have a lower suicide rate in this age group compared to the national average.

Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday signed legislation that earmarks $1 million for mental health screening in New Jersey schools.

In a statement emailed to New Jersey 101.5, the Department of Education noted that federal coronavirus relief funds have been set aside to make grants available for schools’ efforts to support education needs. mental health of students and educators.

  • New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hope Line: 1-855-654-6735
  • Crisis text: Text New Jersey at 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • 2nd Floor Youth Helpline: 1-888-222-2228
  • National LGBT Helpline: 1-888-843-4564

If your life or someone else’s life is in imminent danger, call 911.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]

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The data in this list was acquired from reliable online sources and media. Read on to find out which major law was passed the year you were born and find out its name, vote count (if any), and its impact and significance.

Sara R. Cicero