Teen suicide prevention group gets $100K grant from Provident Bank Foundation

The Provident Bank Foundation has awarded a $100,000 Signature Grant to the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide in partnership with Atlantic Behavioral Health.

The 2020 grant recognizes Freehold-based SPTS in the Health, Youth & Families funding priority area, the Morristown-based foundation said in a news release Wednesday.

The organization is dedicated to increasing awareness, saving lives and reducing the stigma of suicide through specialized training programs and resources that empower teens, parents and educators, the release said.

“As the stigma of suicide and mental health begins to decrease, the likelihood of individuals reaching for help will increase; however, SPTS acknowledges a concerning gap in the mental health system — that many professionals do not feel they have had adequate training in suicide assessment or management,” Susan Tellone, clinical director for SPTS, said in a prepared statement. “This grant will help our efforts to enhance the capabilities of local hospital staff and mental health professionals to treat adolescents experiencing a mental health crisis.”

This particular grant will support a collaborative project between SPTS and Atlantic Behavioral Health to develop and implement a training program for clinicians who see adolescents to increase competence and confidence in treating those with suicidal thoughts.

SPTS’ programming takes place across Atlantic Health hospitals in Morristown, Summit, Newton, Pompton Plains and Hackettstown.

“We are pleased to support the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide as they make a big impact in the lives of teens and their families,” Samantha Plotino, executive director of the Provident Bank Foundation, said in a statement. “Through community awareness and education, this organization is developing high-quality, evidence-based programming that is accessible to those who need it in our communities.”

The foundation said no suicide prevention training program for adolescent clinicians currently exists in New Jersey.