We can all play a role in teen suicide prevention. Suicide is recognized as a public health issue. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, it is “the third leading cause of death for young people,” with more than 6,600 deaths in the United States. Despite this alarming data, there is hope that suicides are preventable through collaborative, evidence-based interventions.
Thanks to funding from Horizon, for the second year in a row, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) is working to highlight the importance of suicide prevention and raise awareness across the state. The $25,000 donation makes a program called A Focus on Youth Suicide Prevention possible. It enables the MHANJ to continue to provide suicide prevention training to youth-serving organizations, with a particular focus on supporting youth of color and youth who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2023, training will also be available to family members, educators, and other interested community members in both Spanish and English.
“A Focus on Youth Suicide Prevention has established a framework using QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), a nationally used, evidence-based training program, to equip community gatekeepers with the tools to build or strengthen a suicide prevention safety net for youth. This project aligns with our mission in striving for the best possible mental health for youth and adults in our state,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.
“In 2022, this grant from Horizon enabled the Mental Health Association in New Jersey to provide QPR training to 746 people working in youth-serving organizations. By expanding the training opportunity to additional gatekeepers and offering bilingual sessions, we widen the safety net of people who can recognize suicide risk and warning signs and offer help and support to young people in our community,” stated Jaime Angelini, the Association’s Statewide Director of Suicide Prevention, Crisis Response and Special Projects. “The response from participants has been extremely positive. It is evident from these trainings that most people want to help someone in crisis but often feel they do not have the skills or tools to intervene. QPR teaches people how to identify warning signs of suicide, how to talk with a person about their thoughts and feelings and how and where to connect someone with help. During our training, we work to empower people to have the courage to start an uncomfortable conversation. Most of all we remind people that suicide prevention is about offering hope. I truly believe we are saving lives and that’s what motivates me to do this work.”
Organizations that serve youth which would like to participate in this teen suicide prevention program are encouraged to contact Ms. Angelini by calling her at 609-576-9498 or emailing her at email@example.com.
“Thirty percent of teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide and 1 of 5 LGBTQ+ teens attempted suicide in the past year. This is a crisis and nothing is more important than the work being done by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey to save New Jersey’s children,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Horizon. “Horizon’s foundation works across New Jersey with grantees who share our commitment to improving health and the communities we serve. By training people who have regular contact with adolescent, teens, and young people in New Jersey, we confront this crisis head on. Mental health is health and Horizon is working to eliminate stigmas associated with emotional health disorders and enable more integrated, whole-person care.”
About The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, is focused on making New Jersey healthier by supporting non-profit organizations that expand access to health care, remove barriers to good health and increase opportunities for everyone to achieve their best health, no matter who they are or where they live. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit HZNFoundation.org.
About the Mental Health Association in New Jersey
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is a statewide non-profit organization that strives for children and adults to achieve victory over mental health and substance use disorders through advocacy, education, training, and services. The Association is headquartered in Union County, with additional offices in Atlantic, Hudson and Ocean Counties and affiliates in Essex, Monmouth, Morris, and Passaic Counties. For more information call 800-367-8850 or visit https://www.mhanj.org/.