Press release from The Community YMCA

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 — and here in Monmouth County, The Community YMCA is taking the lead in a coalition aimed at preventing youth suicide.

The Traumatic Loss Coalition for Youth is a year-round statewide program created to provide support for schools and communities who have experienced suicide or other traumatic loss, and to work together to prevent suicide. The Monmouth County coalition is made up of over 140 members, including school personnel, medical personnel, law enforcement officials and mental health providers.

The Shrewsbury-based Community YMCA was selected in November 2015 to lead the local arm of the statewide network. The program is operated by the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, and funded by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families, Division of Children’s System of Care.

“While many think of the Y as just a place to work out and swim, The Community YMCA is one of a handful in the United States that provides extensive counseling and social services,” said Heather Church-Soto, the Y’s Director of DCP&P Services and coordinator of the Monmouth County Traumatic Loss Coalition. “The Community YMCA has a team of certified professionals licensed to serve as counselors to youth, families and schools, specializing in social work, clinical counseling and alcohol and drug counseling.”

As a measure of prevention, parents or guardians concerned for their child are encouraged to consider the following:

• Be mindful of behavioral shifts from outgoing to reserved, as well as changes in the friends your child associates with.

• Ask your child/teen about changes you have observed. Using statements such as “I noticed” can be helpful.

• Get involved and seek professional help.

Parents who are concerned that their child might be thinking of taking their own life should call Monmouth County Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services at (732)923-6925. For more information about the Monmouth County Traumatic Loss Coalition, contact