Ocean County Students attend Youth Wellness Summit
A collaborative effort to bring wellness to the teens of Ocean County
On April 23, 2015 , The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide partnered with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Prevention First, Preferred Children’s Services, and the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention to host a single day wellness summit at Jackson Liberty High School on Thursday, April 23, 2015. 10 public and private high schools from Ocean County attended, and were represented by 75 students and 27 staff members.
The goal of the Ocean County Youth Wellness Summit was to instill methods and practices for wellness and mental health in students leaders that will help them guide their students peers to wellness and help-seeking. Students and staff took part in “Strings of Hope”, a panel discussion that gave local survivors of suicide loss and substance abuse recovery a platform to tell their stories of resiliency and courage. Students took part in workshops that reinforced coping skills, peer leadership, and safe dating, and ended with a guided yoga class for relaxation and meditation skills.
Students left the day feeling uplifted and eager to return to their schools and implement the programs learned. One student felt that the day was “…a must. I wish more people would be able to attend. I plan on trying to bring it to schools as best as possible. It was amazing meeting new people and working with different groups and learning important info that can change people.” One staff member commented that the summit was “…right on target for what our students need. I hope I can bring more students next year!”
By inviting high school staff and faculty, the Summit hoped to reach those in local schools typically thought of as “Trusted Adults” by their students. Faculty and staff received information on substance abuse prevention from the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Through the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, faculty and Staff also received training on suicide prevention from Susan Tellone-McCoy, RN, MSN, CSN, giving insight from her experience managing Manasquan High School’s suicide contagion from 2008-2013.
Investors Bank Foundation provided a grant to defray costs to the partners and community. Donations were received in support of this event from Jackson School District; Jersey Mikes, Jackson; IHOP, Brick; Lotus Lounge, Jackson; Dr. T-shirt, Manasquan; Unique Musique, Marlboro; and US Foods.