SOMERVILLE, NJ -- The Interfaith Community Action Network willl host a discussion panel and forum to help teens and their parents navigate the topic of youth mental health on Sunday, April 28, 2-4 p.m.. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 18 West High St. here.
From Surviving to Thriving: Navigating Adolescent Angst will include a keynote speech from Dr. Patricia Colontino, a Crisis Psychologist and Anti-Bullying Specialist at Hillsborough High School; several breakout sessions and a panel discussion.
“I am proud to have been a part of this group since its conception. It is an honor to be hosting our first event as I.C.A.N., which I hope will continue to grow as well as inspire our communities to keep coming together and rallying behind the important issues we are all facing,” said Father Ron Pollock of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Those in attendance will hear from Gil Pilarte, Student Assistance Coordinator of Hillsborough High School; Chad Berman, Student Assistance Counselor of Hillsborough High School, Orvyl Wilson, Director of School Management of Franklin Township Board of Education, and teenage students from the Hillsborough School District.
“Often times, conversations around issues young people are facing fail to include them directly,” said Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset). “I am looking forward to hearing from our incredible mental health professionals, faith leaders, and especially the teenagers in our community to learn more about their personal experiences with mental health.”
“So far, this organization has been a great outlet for people of all different faiths and backgrounds to come together and share in a greater sense of community,” said Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset) and Hillsborough resident. “Numerous tragedies have struck over the last year which gave us all a chance to grieve together. This event will allow us to be more proactive rather than reactive to support our community that has grown over the last several months.”
“Mental health does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of what they believe in. This panel is a great way for our group to learn about the challenges teens can face with mental health issues and how we can be a support system for those who struggle on a daily basis,” said Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset).
ICAN was formed by faith leaders throughout Central New Jersey along with Bateman, Freiman and Zwicker. Having previously gathered faith and civic leaders together in the wake of multiple tragedies, This is the first proactive event sponsored by ICAN on youth mental health.