Promoting Opportunities to Develop Children’s and Youths’ Resilience during National Recovery Month

September 7, 2017

NJAMHAA Promotes Opportunities to Develop Children's and Youths' Resilience during National Recovery Month

MERCERVILLE, NJ - Mental health issues among children and young adults have come into sharp focus in recent years, and are now especially prominent with students heading back to school this week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the rate of suicide has doubled among children 10 to 14 since 2007. In addition, the suicide rate among older teenage girls hit a 40-year high in 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Emphasizing awareness and recovery is now more important than ever.

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) and Attitudes In Reverse® (AIR™) will promote recovery for students at their fifth annual suicide prevention conference, Back to School: Finding Strength from the Start, on September 15, 2017, from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. The event is co-sponsored by NJAMHAA member Carrier Clinic and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Central New Jersey Chapter. This event will feature State Senator and Former Governor Richard Codey as keynote speaker, remarking on the importance of prevention and treatment, and will also provide an overview of AIR's educational presentations and educators' views on the impact of this information, as well as the effects of bullying on young people's mental health.

"Mental illnesses and substance use disorders are highly treatable and many people have achieved recovery," said Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NJAMHAA. "However, stigma stops many people from seeking help when they need it. Education is essential for eliminating such judgments and discrimination.

"We are proud to work with AIR for the fifth year in a row to present this unique conference on youth suicide prevention. In today's world, children and teens experience increased pressure from social media and academics, while young adults continue to struggle with balancing higher education, debt and work life. Meanwhile, there is still a shortage of children's mental health services. It is more important than ever to promote the mental well-being of children and young adults during National Recovery Month and all year long," Dr. Wentz said. Details and online registration for the suicide prevention conference are at

As many students contend with stress during school, and 50% of mental illnesses develop by age 14, mental health problems are a salient concern for children, youth and their parents. For some, illnesses including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders can make receiving a quality education a significant challenge; others experience bullying, which could lead to isolation and mental health issues, and students in higher grades may feel tremendous pressure in school or social situations. As a result, students may rely on social and mental health services provided through public schools or colleges or in their communities.

According to SAMHSA, in 2014, 9.4% of 12- to 17-year-olds reported using illicit drugs within the month prior to being surveyed, and between 13% and 20% of children in the United States experience a mental illness in a given year. Developing children's and youth's resilience is crucial to preventing mental illnesses from leading to suicide attempts, and it is important to always maintain a focus on recovery. Amid the increasing rates of suicide attempts among children, as well as a growing crisis of mental health issues on college campuses, the message of National Recovery Month is particularly important to share. Sponsored every September by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month promotes the dissemination of informational resources about mental illnesses, substance use disorders, and recovery, and celebrates the voices of people who are successfully managing their mental health challenges.

Resources Are Available Online and in Communities

The United States Department of Health and Human Services maintains a website,, that provides information for parents, educators, and others seeking help on how to detect potential signs of mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders, and where to turn for help. It also includes phone numbers for crisis hotlines and personal stories of hope and recovery.

Every day, NJAMHAA members serve children and adults who are seeking their own recovery. New Jersey residents can visit NJAMHAA's website at to search for treatment providers in their towns or counties. NJAMHAA also encourages all to take advantage of the resources available through the National Recovery Month website,

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