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Posted Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Public Events Planned on Monday, March 25 at Drew University — April 2 in Jefferson and April 18 in Wharton

The difficult topic of suicide will be the focus of three special events scheduled for Monday, March 25, April 2 and April 18 in Stigma-Free Morris County, where a countywide initiative is underway to foster treatment and recovery for persons dealing with very difficult issues that could lead someone to consider taking his or her own life.

Michael Hill of NJTV

NJTV anchor Michael Hill will moderate.

Madison (Drew University):

On Monday, March 25, “Understanding Mental Stress and Suicide Factors for Today’s Youth ” is a public conversation about the symptoms and and prevention tactics to help today’s young people cope with stress and societal pressures, and how to prevent teen suicide.

The forum, to be held on Monday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at Drew University (36 Madison Ave.), is free and open to the public, presented by NJTV’s In Your Neighborhood initiative for 2019.

NJTV News Correspondent and Anchor Michael Hill will moderate a panel of health professionals, suicide prevention experts, and survivors of suicide loss to discuss the warning signs and risk factors of suicide, and better identify when it’s more than “teen angst.”  A broadcast will be available via livestream on NJTV’s YouTube Channel.


  • Maureen A. Brogan, LPC, ACS, DRCC, Program Manager, Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth
  • Stuart Green, DMH, LCSW, Dir. NJ Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention and Assoc. Dir. Overlook Family Medicine
  • Wendy Sefcik, Advocate of Suicide Prevention
  • Maureen Underwood, LCSW, Nationally recognized Suicideologist and Clinical Advisor, Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

The event is free and open to the public.  Walk-ins are welcome. Pre-register to guarantee a seat at 973-233-8398 or [email protected] or visit

The exhibitor area opens at 5:45 and the program runs 6-8:30 p.m. The event will be held in the Ehinger Center on Drew University campus, 36 Madison Ave, Madison 07940.

April 2 in Jefferson and April 18 in Wharton

Morris Stigma-Free Community to Deal with Suicide at Forums in Jefferson and Wharton

Jefferson: On Tuesday, April 2, at Jefferson Township High School (10 Weldon Road) , there will be a special showing of the documentary film, “Suicide, the Ripple Effect,” which focuses on the devastating effects of suicide and the tremendous positive ripple that effects of advocacy, inspiration and hope that are helping millions heal and stay alive. It will be followed by a question and answer session and discussion.

The feature length film chronicles the story of Kevin Hines, who at age 19 attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. Since then, Kevin has been on a mission to use his story to help others stay alive and find recovery.

Wharton: On Thursday, April 18, at the Marie V. Duffy Elementary School, there will be a special forum, “Social Media and Teen Suicide Awareness …. What Every Parent Should Know.”

Speaker Heather DiDomenico, LPC, from Bridges Counseling, will talk to participants about the warning signs of children in crisis and solutions for prevention.

Teenagers are using a language all their own to talk and keep secrets that includes emojis, acronyms and their own terms. During the discussion, DiDomenico will discuss social media apps and explain how kids use them, and how they can be appropriate, misused or even dangerous.  A Q&A will follow the talk.Morris Stigma-Free Community to Deal with Suicide at Forums in Jefferson and Wharton

Morris Stigma-Free Community to Deal with Suicide at Forums in Jefferson and Wharton

Hosts of this FREE event are Wharton Police Department and the Wharton Municipal Alliance. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Marie V. Duffy Elementary School, 137 E. Central Ave., Wharton.

For other Stigma-Free events, visit the calendar of events.

The Jefferson event, sponsored by JT Connect, is the work of Jefferson Girl Scout, Brittany Boetticher. It is part of Project Speak Out, which is Brittany’s Girl Scout Gold Award activity.

In 2009, after Jefferson Township suffered the loss of several individuals by suicide, it became clear that there was an immediate need to raise awareness about mental illness, provide education to the community andmost importantly, connect people through support and resources.

Morris County Stigma Free logoJT CONNECT was founded by Debi Merz, who is the current Council Vice President; Ellen Bechtold, the pastor of Jefferson’s Milton United Methodist Church; and Kristine Wilsusen, Jefferson’s Community Health Educator. The framework for the group was started in 2010 when the founders met with Celina Gray, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma to help define a mission statement and direction for the group.

Originally named Jefferson Township Mental Health Project, the group was re-branded in 2012 as JT CONNECT, signifying the need to “connect” the community by raising awareness about mental health, erasing stigma and providing acceptance and support so people would be willing to reach out for help.