A South Jersey-based nonprofit organization rooted in preventing teen suicide and stigma surrounding mental health issues will hold a conference early next month for anyone who works with children.
Spread the Love Foundation, with the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, will hold its Addressing Mental Health in Our Schools conference July 11 at Caesars Atlantic City. Conference topics will address many of the issues facing communities and students today.
“We feel like our kids are in crisis, between daily school shootings, suicide being the second leading cause of death (among teenagers) and the escalation of overdoses,” said Carolyn Coburn, founder of Spread the Love Foundation.
People have until July 1 to register for the all-day conference, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include breakfast and lunch. There is a $150 registration fee.
The event’s keynote speaker will be Peter Langman, a national expert on the psychology on school shooters. Organizers said Langman does trainings on understanding and identifying potential shooters for mental health, education and law enforcement professionals.
Conference breakout sessions will focus on youth mental health first aid for school staff, adapting schools to 21st century needs, combating technology’s negative impact and supporting transgender and gender non-binary communities.
Vendors will include local Mental Health Association chapters, the Family Service Association, the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, Minding Your Mind, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Traumatic Response Coalition, Safe and Sound Kid and others.
Spread the Love Foundation has created awareness and outreach programs that encourage education and open dialogue on suicide, addiction and other mental health issues. Coburn and her oldest daughter, Megan, created the organization after her younger daughter, Samantha, died by suicide in 2014. She was a recent graduate of Oakcrest High School.