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September 10th is Suicide Prevention Awareness Day

Help us spread awareness to #saveteens!


A little more than twelve years ago, Don Quigley and Scott Fritz, two New Jersey fathers, both lost teenage children to suicide. They were surprised and alarmed to learn that suicide was the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults.  Armed with this news, they began a campaign for public awareness and education that became the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS) in the hopes of sparing other families from tragic loss.  Based in Freehold, this local 501(c)(3) non-profit has grown to be known across the country for its high quality educational resources for families, schools, and communities. We are now well into our 10th year of operation.

As we recognize Suicide Prevention Awareness Day on September 10th, SPTS is promoting awareness activities to share the message that “You Are Not Alone”, including a presentation to students at Rumson-Fair Haven High School.  “In a school community, everyone needs to be able to recognize the signs and know how to get help for themselves or for someone else,” said SPTS Co-Founder Don Quigley.

Taking leadership on prevention, National Junior Honor Society students at Freehold Intermediate School applied for a grant to build a suicide prevention team in their hometown.  Their school, along with Rumson-Fair Haven and Neptune High Schools, will host SPTS suicide awareness sessions for parents, students, and staff during September as well.

2,134 children and teens throughout the country died by suicide in 2013, making it the second leading cause of death for 10 to 19 year olds.  Between 2011 and 2013, there were 232 suicides in New Jersey involving youth age 10 to 24 (2014 Youth Suicide Report, NJ Department of Child and Families). According to the Center for Disease Control, 17% of high school students have thought seriously about suicide in the past year, 13% made a plan, and 8% attempted (CDC, YRBSS, 2015).

As scary and sad as these facts are, there is good news.  There are simple steps anyone can take to help.  Suicide prevention can start by learning to recognize the warning signs and connecting distressed kids to trusted, caring adults.   “Communities are safer against suicide when struggling kids have helpful friends and trusted adults with whom they feel safe sharing their concerns.” said Maureen Underwood, Clinical Director at SPTS.

SPTS will also be holding its 2nd Annual wine tasting gala “Sips in September” on, September 10th at Eagle Oaks Country Club in Farmingdale, NJ. Tickets are available online at https://sptsusa.org or by calling the office at 732-410-7900. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door.