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Posted Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

NewBridge Services Offering FREE Program — Financed by Grant from Stigma-Free Morris County

Suicide Prevention Month logoWhile rates of suicide in the county, state and nation have been climbing, much can be done to stop people from taking their own lives. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time for us all to learn to recognize the warning signs of suicidal thoughts and where to turn for help.

“Getting people treatment for underlying psychiatric disorders that can lead to suicidal thoughts saves lives,” said NewBridge Services Director of Community Response and Education Mary Vineis.

More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide had an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness, Vineis said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call New Jersey’s round-the-clock suicide prevention hotline at NJ HOPELINE, 1-855-654-6735. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number is 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

To help deal with these issues, NewBridge will offer two Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions for adults who interact with youths in September and October.

Warning signs of suicidal thoughts include:New Bridge Services logo

  • Talking about a desire to die
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
  • Acting agitated or behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Experiencing extreme mood swings
  • Increasing the intake of alcohol and/or drugs.

“The earlier you recognize symptoms, the easier it is to connect that person with services,” Vineis said. “Don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re concerned someone is contemplating suicide. Offer to go with them for help, and call 911 if circumstances warrant it.”

“Morris County is a Stigma-Free county, where we encourage people dealing with mental illness to seek treatment that can lead to recovery without fear of stigma or reprisal,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who is the county governing board’s liaison on human services issues. “We are glad to partner with NewBridge Services to bring this important program to our community,” she added.

Sign up for Youth Mental Health First Aid training

This fall, NewBridge will run Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions for adults who regularly interact with young people. The cost of the training is normally $170 per participant, but thanks to a grant from Morris County, NewBridge can offer the training free to the first people who sign up.

Suicide is Preventable poster showing two hands reaching for each otherTrainings will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 23 and Oct. 21, both Saturdays, at the NewBridge Parsippany Center. (The address is 1259 Route 46 East, Building 2.) Additional sessions will be scheduled later in the year. The sessions will teach family members, caregivers, educators, youth leaders and others how to help children ages 12 to 18 who have a mental illness or addiction problem, or who are in crisis.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches a five-step action plan for helping adolescents in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use
  • Disorders in which psychosis may occur
  • Disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD)
  • Eating disorders

Registration is required. Contact Vineis at 973-686-2228 or [email protected] to sign up or if you have questions. The deadline to register for the Sept. 23 session is Friday, Sept 15.

More than 44,000 Americans died by suicide in 2015 — an average of 121 per day. In New Jersey, it is the 11th leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Mental illness affects an estimated one in five adolescents, yet less than half of preteens and teens with disorders get treatment. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County, to foster vtreatment and recovery for mental illess and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling.

Stigma-Free Morris County posterMorris County has created a Stigma Free website to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse. A Stigma Free Toolkit also is available for towns and communities. Also, check the Stigma Free news and calendar site at

NewBridge Services offers individual and family counseling. The nonprofit also provides suicide awareness training for educator so they can identify students at risk and get them the services they need. NewBridge runs in-school programs to help parents, educators, and students in middle school and high school identify the signs and symptoms of depression. NewBridge can provide screening services if a school has concerns about a student.

For information on mental health services offered by Morris County, visit: