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Parent Empower Hour

Talking To Your Kids About Difficult Topics

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

7:00 pm

Free Virtual Zoom Panel Presentation

Register Here

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide invites you to attend a virtual presentation to discuss some of the difficulties of parenting a teen in challenging times. Are you unsure how to bring up the topic of suicide or mental illness with your child? This presentation will help you to dispel common misconceptions, provide information on the warning signs of suicide and local resources, and learn about the Behavioral Health Toolkit, a new, vital resource given to parents of 6th and 9th grade students in Monmouth County.

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide invites you to attend a presentation to discuss some of the difficulties of parenting a child in challenging times. You can attend this virtual panel presentation by registering at the link below.

Our Moderators

Susan Tellone, RN, BSN, CSN, MSN

Susan Tellone is a Certified School Nurse and health educator with a Masters degree in nursing and a
Bachelor’s degree in mental health and rehabilitation. She has been working as a psychiatric nurse for
the past 38 years with an emphasis on suicide prevention. She worked in the Emergency rooms of
Monmouth Medical as one of the first PESS (psychiatric emergency suicide screeners), and went on from
there to teach for many years at the University of Medicine and Dentistry on various topics on mental
health, but specifically the psychiatric screening law of New Jersey. In 2008 Susan took a position at
Manasquan High School as a school nurse and educator and soon after that, her school experienced one
of the larger teenage suicide contagions on record. During her tenure at Manasquan, as a response to
the suicide contagion, Susan took on the roles of Crisis Coordinator, Anti-bullying specialist and Master
Lifelines Suicide Prevention Trainer. She co-authored a Project Serv Grant (Schools against violence) and
was able to get funding into her school to develop a Crisis plan based on the Lifelines Curriculum that
became a national model. She presented this plan at the National Conference on Suicidality in Florida in 2009.

She was also the keynote speaker at the Annual Conference for Safe and Drug Free Schools in
Boston in 2010, and presenter at the REMS conference in Washington DC 2011, International
Conference of Suicide Prevention in New York City 2012, NJEA teachers conference 2014, and most
recently at the Mental Health America Conference in 2019. Susan continues to present both locally and
Nationally on this topic. Susan and her crisis team focused on the rebuilding of Manasquan School
District with a renewed emphasis on strength and resiliency of the students, faculty and community.
Since retiring from education, Susan worked for three years as the Vice President of the Mental Health
Association of Monmouth County. During her Vice Presidency at MHA Susan through County and grant
funding was able to bring the Lifelines Suicide Prevention program to over 160 schools in Monmouth
County. Presently she holds the position of the Clinical Director at Society for the Prevention of Teen
Suicide where she continues her passion for preventing suicide among our youth through education in
schools and communities.

Siobhan Power

Siobhan (she/her/hers) is committed to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide as the Advocacy Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s New Jersey Chapter. She began volunteering for AFSP at the Jersey Shore Out of the Darkness Walk in 2014. In 2016, Siobhan began to present the More than Sad and Talk Saves Lives™ programs to students, teachers, school administrators, and community members throughout the state; she continues to present AFSP’s wide range of prevention education programs in NJ. Siobhan has served on the Board of Directors for the NJ Chapter since 2018 and is a member of the Jersey Shore and Rutgers University Out of the Darkness Walk committees.

Siobhan has worked as a social-behavioral researcher for over 15 years. She is currently the Associate Director of the Bloustein Center for Survey Research at Rutgers University.

Our Panelists

Kalisha Smith, LCSW

Kalisha is a New Jersey licensed clinical social worker, a NJ certified social work clinical supervisor, and a licensed minister. Kalisha has been privileged to work in the social service profession for the past 19 years, supporting youth experiencing acute mental health concerns and providing supervision of direct care staff to youth in crisis through the NJ Children’s System of Care. Kalisha serves as the Associate Clinical Director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide where she provides training on the continuum of prevention to school districts, community organizations, and clinicians.
“Shame does not move people to a healthy place, but love, hope, and accountability transform lives.”

Fatima Aw

Fatima Aw is a sophomore at Yale University studying Computer Science and Psychology. Since freshman year of high school, Fatima has been involved with SPTS including organizing “Concert for a Cause” and participating in the annual “Wellness Summit.” She continues to be a mental health advocate in college, working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. In her free time, Fatima enjoys running, exploring new cafes, and trying out new recipes. 

Wendy Sefcik

On December 1, 2010, Wendy’s 16-year-old son T.J. died by suicide. Since losing her son, Wendy has worked to educate herself on depression and suicide risk in the hopes of helping others. She serves as Chair for the NJ Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council, as NJ Chapter Chair for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, as Board Member for the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County and is employed as the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Bergen County. Her passion is to help children and families maintain mental wellness and to understand when help is needed and how to connect to the appropriate resources. Wendy, along with her husband Steve and son Matt, created Remembering T.J.—A Story of Teen Depression, Lessons and Hope. https://www.rememberingtj.org

They have shared their story with over 30,000 people to raise awareness of depression and mood disorders in teens and suicide risk. Wendy also provides hope to those dealing with these issues and to those who have suffered a traumatic loss. Wendy was a 2019 Honoree of Morris County Board of Freeholders for Stigma Free Advocacy, the 2018 recipient of the Changing Minds Award by Minding Your Mind, the 2017 recipient of the Suicide Prevention Excellence Award presented by the NJ Traumatic Loss Coalition for Youth and the recipient of the 2015 Courage Award for Outstanding Commitment to Mental Health by the CarePlus Foundation.

 Dr. Renee A. Davis 

 Dr. Renee A. Davis serves as Supervisor of Special Education with the Middlesex County Magnet Schools. She started her career twenty-two years ago as a School Social Worker. Since 2008, Dr. Davis has worked as an Administrator, overseeing specialized programming and services in an educational context. In addition to holding a doctorate in Educational Leadership, Dr. Davis has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 2005. She has clinical experience as a Psychiatric Screener and Psychotherapist. Dr. Davis uses her formal training in social work and education to develop pathways for success for students of varied academic and social-emotional abilities.    

Additional Resources for Parents and Youth

This panel presentation is hosted in partnership by Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.