Who are we?
Jersey Voice exists for all of us – teens and young adults – in New Jersey who have ever had a horrible day, struggled with mental health, or lost a loved one. It’s about adults and experts stepping back (for the most part) and letting us do what we need to do and say what we need to say. It’s about using our own unique Jersey voices to help each other out, recognize our strengths, and inspire hope. It’s about getting involved, making a difference, and keeping Jersey strong.
Hello, I’m Anya and I’m going to be a sophomore at Tulane University next fall. After interning with Donna Amundson at the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth in spring 2011, I became very interested in the work she does. She mentioned that they need help creating Jersey Voice and I was more than willing to help. I would tell someone my age that mental health, anxiety, or stress is not something to be taken lightly. Moving away from home for the first time and having to be completely responsible for yourself is a challenge and the adjustment is not always easy. Feeling depressed or over-stressed is something to definitely take seriously and most schools provide mental health services if you seek them out.
Hello, I’m Becca and I am a freshman in high school. I got involved in helping with mental health and suicide prevention projects through my Peer Leaders Club after taking training in suicide prevention with the Sources of Strength program. We discussed ideas to spread awareness, and a website (like this one) is a great way to do that! I want others who might be having a hard time to know that there are people who love you. Life has its problems, but sometimes it’s the little things that make it all worthwhile…because better times are coming.
Hello, I’m Colleen and I am 25 years old. I currently work as a service advisor for a busy auto body shop in Red Bank, New Jersey. I also work as an on-call massage therapist and volunteer my time to Jersey Voice. A very close family friend who has suffered the same tragic loss as myself, referred me to Donna Amundson who works for the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth program. Donna filled me in on a potential social media project that would be used to prevent suicide, give our youth a chance to express themselves, and even allow them to ask for advice. Seeing how I lost someone to suicide, I was not only interested but felt I HAD to be involved in this project. If I can be a positive influence, role model, or if I can answer any questions a young person or adult may have about depression, anxiety or moving forward with life, I feel I am spreading a positive message.
Hello, I’m Isaiah and I am a psychologist who specializes in working with teens and young adults. I also write books for teens and young adults. I like to combine the facts we have about taking care of ourselves with creativity to help teens and young adults deal with stress. As a young adult myself, I understand both the stress that many of us face today and the importance of taking care of ourselves to deal with that stress. It made sense to link with Jersey Voice to help teens and young adults deal with the challenges that come with growing up. I would like to say to someone out there who is struggling with mental health issues, that for as hard as it gets, there is always someone out there who is willing to listen and care. Sometimes you just have to reach out to them.
Hello, I’m Josh and I am in 12th grade. I found out about Jersey Voice through my work on a Youth Advisory Council for 2nd Floor Youth Helpline. I became interested in helping out with mental health programs after my own bout with depression several years ago. My advice to teens is to never let the negatives completely drown out the positives in a situation. It may sometimes seem as if you’re the only one struggling, but everyone has issues, and being confident in yourself (imperfections and all) is one key to getting through tough times.
Hello, I’m Lydia and I am a sophomore at Rutgers University. I major in biochemistry and plan to apply to pharmacy schools next spring. I have done a lot of work with the National Guard military youth programs and I am the advisor for the New Jersey guard teen panel. The panel speaks on behalf of the military youth of New Jersey to make improvements in programs and help them overcome obstacles. I’m an advocate for these military youth programs because I know that the teens and youth I work with face a lot of hardships in their lives. My job is to prevent these youth from feeling alone because studies show that military children have an increased risk of anxiety compared to others, especially during hard times. Their safety and mental health is important! Lastly, I would like to say that is it important to keep a positive attitude with everything you do in life. It can be very hard at times, but reminding yourself of the great things you do have, such as family, can help you through it.
Hello, I’m Matthew and I’m currently a senior at the University of Louisville where I am studying to be a graphic designer. I became involved with Jersey Voice through my mother who is the Clinical Director at the Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center of Somerset County in NJ. She called me one night and asked me if I wanted to be a part of creating something to help teenagers and young adults around suicide prevention and mental health awareness. It sounded like an amazing idea and a great cause so I was 100% in. I grew up with two therapists and mothers, so from a young age, helping others was simply second nature for my three sisters and me. We participated in things like suicide prevention walks and in groups such as the Families GOALs Project, a program created to help families cope with traumatic losses, such as 9/11. This experience taught me that when times become difficult it is important to remember that they will eventually get better with the love and support of people in our lives who care about us. You simply have to remember to look past how others view mental health and reach out for support in your own way. It may be family, friends, or anyone in your life who will hear you out and help guide you. Ask for and take the help when needed. Don’t be afraid to open up to people and let them know what is going on. Silence only causes more pain.
Hello, I’m Tiffany and I’m a 25 year old waitress and massage therapist from New Jersey. When my brother took his life, I felt I changed drastically as a person. Going from happy to depressed was something that was hard for me to grasp. I always tried researching ways of getting involved and making a positive change. My twin sister began telling me of a project that someone referred her to get involved with. I was more than interested in the Jersey Voice social media project because I felt it would allow our younger generation to interact and speak about any issues they may be having. The fact that I can share my story and know that someone is touched or can relate makes me feel like I am helping someone in need. Let’s make a change!
The Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program
The Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program (TLC) at UMDNJ-University Behavioral HealthCare is New Jersey’s primary youth suicide prevention program funded by the Department of Children & Families, Division of Child Behavioral Health Services (DCBHS).
The TLC is an interactive, statewide network that offers collaboration and support to professionals working with school-age youth. The dual mission of the TLC is excellence in suicide prevention and trauma response assistance to schools following unfortunate losses due to suicide, homicide, accident and illness. This is accomplished through county, regional and statewide conferences, training, consultation, onsite traumatic loss response, and technical assistance. The purpose is to ensure that those working with youth from a variety of disciplines and programs have up-to-date knowledge about mental health issues, suicide prevention, traumatic grief, and resiliency enhancement. Since its inception, the TLC has trained thousands of individuals throughout the state with the purpose of saving lives and promoting post trauma healing and resiliency for the youth of New Jersey.
2NDFLOOR, NJ Youth Helpline 1-888-222-2228
2NDFLOOR is a confidential and anonymous helpline for New Jersey’s youth and young adults. We are here to help you find solutions to the problems that you face at home, at school or at play.
NJ Division of Child Behavioral Health Services
Division of Child Behavioral Health Services (DCBHS) serves children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral health care challenges and their families. DCBHS is committed to providing these services based on the needs of the child and family in a family-centered, community-based environment.
Emotion Technology saves lives by working with social web companies, federal agencies, and policy-makers to prevent suicide and promote mental health online.
A minority-owned company, we focus on public health, suicide prevention, social media use and analysis, and creating help-giving user experiences.