Codey announces teen suicide initiative at LMS

Photo Courtesy of WOSD
From left are student assistance counselor Amadeo Chirichiello, Superintendent Jeff Rutzky, State Sen. Richard Codey, and SACs Heidi Brotzman and Keshia Golding-Cooper at a May 9 press conference at Liberty Middle School.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — State Sen. Richard Codey held a press conference at Liberty Middle School on May 9 in an effort to address the serious issue of teen suicide and to assist school employees in identifying at-risk students.

Codey and his wife Mary Jo — a teacher for more than 40 years, 15 years of which she spent as a special needs educator in the West Orange School District — are longtime mental health advocates and founders of the of Codey Fund for Mental Health. As part of their initiative to combat teen suicide and depression, specialized training to non-licensed school staff who interact with students on a daily basis, new legislation to establish a pilot program, and the creation of a statewide Teen Suicide and Depression Task Force will be initiated.

Representatives with the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris will offer new workshops that target and empower non-licensed school professionals by recognizing the signs and symptoms of students who may be suffering from mental health issues. The goal is to better equip all school employees to help identify at-risk students and prevent teen suicides and other mental health related incidents in their schools.

Find out more about the Codey Fund for Mental Health initiative here.