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Sept. 19, 2019: NJHA to Host Sept. 24 Conference Suicide & Stigma

What: The New Jersey Hospital Association will host the full-day conference Suicide & Stigma: Taking the Conversation Out of the Shadows in observance of Suicide Prevention Month. The event will explore topics such as veterans’ suicide, social media’s influence, adolescent suicide and building resiliency in first responders. 

Where: NJHA Conference and Events Center, 760 Alexander Road, Princeton, N.J.

When: Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The schedule includes:

9:15 a.m. Keynote: George Scott, family therapist and speaker, “Suicide: Wanting the Pain to Stop”

10:30 New Jersey’s Expanding Public Health Challenge

10:50 Adolescent Suicide: Community Needs and Interventions

12 noon Luncheon Guest Speaker: N.J. Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on first responders and resiliency

1:10 p.m. Veterans Suicide: The Continuing Battle

2:15 Social Media and Self Harm

Who: Each panel includes a clinical expert, an individual or family touched by suicide and an innovator who has developed promising programs to address suicide. Participants include:

Cathleen Bennett, NJHA President and CEO
Maureen Brogan, Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth
Amy Carnall, DNP, Clarity Psychiatric Care New Jersey
Chris Cattani, LPN, HeroCare Connect
Major Elle Cleaves, MD, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Joseph Devine, president, Jefferson Health New Jersey
Mary Ditri, New Jersey Hospital Association
Saila Donepudi, MD, Veterans Affairs NJ Health Care System, East Orange
Frank Ghinassi, PhD, president and CEO, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care
Major General Mark Graham, Vets for Warriors
Diane Grossman, founder, Mallory’s Army
Brian Isaacson, MD, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center
Wendy Sefcik, N.J. Youth Suicide Advisory Council
Rachelle and Vladimir St. Phard, founders, Be the Light Foundation
Anthony Tobia, MD, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Why: Nearly 700 New Jersey residents die by suicide each year. That’s twice the number of people who die by homicide. Those numbers fail to capture the additional suffering of those experiencing suicide ideation and self-harm. It’s a public health issue that demands dialogue to help turn loss into hope.

See the full program details at

Please contact Kerry McKean Kelly at 609-275-4069,, for additional information or to confirm attendance.

Resources for journalists covering suicide are available at, a joint effort from Poynter and suicide prevention organizations, and from the National Foundation for Suicide Prevention at .