Suicide is currently the 2nd cause of death among individuals 10-34 years old and the 4th for ages 35-54. There are 25 suicide attempts for every one death by suicide in the nation. One in four young adults has struggled with suicidal thoughts since the coronavirus hit. We need to be talking about suicide and what we can each do to help prevent it. For more than 30 years, Jewish Family Services (JFS) has brought Teen Life Counts (TLC) suicide prevention curriculum to students, faculty, and parents at local schools. The curriculum includes suicide statistics, the stigma associated with mental illness, the warning signs of suicide, how to have a conversation with peers and adults, and where to get help. Join JFS Clinical Director, TLC Program Manager, TLC volunteer, and Country Day Head of School for an open and honest conversation around the topic of suicide and what we can do to combat it.
Suicide: Why We Should All be Talking About it
Rachel Lazarus Eriksen is JFS’s Director of Clinical Services and has been with the agency since 2011. Rachel oversees all of the clinical staff and many of the agency programs, including TLC. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW,) and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor (BACS). Rachel graduated from Tulane University’s School of Social Work in 2007 and obtained the School Suicide Prevention Specialist Accreditation from the American Association of Suicidology in 2014.
Nichole Valenzuela is the Teen Life Counts Program Manager. She holds a Master of Science, in Sustainability through Black Hills State University with a focus on Organizational and Social Sustainability, along with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Human Services. Nichole is certified in Mental Health First Aid and is a Life Skills prevention educator. Nichole recently obtained the School Suicide Prevention Specialist Accreditation from the American Association of Suicidology.
Lauren Gehman, LCSW, BACS is the Head of the Counseling Department at Metairie Park Country Day School. After teaching fourth grade as a Teach for America Corps member in Washington, D.C., Lauren attended Tulane University’s School of Social Work. Lauren went on to become the adolescent specialist at Jewish Family Service, which was formative in her development as a social worker. Along with working at Country Day, Lauren has served as an adjunct professor at Tulane, she conducts a small private practice, and she teaches positive psychology with the Global Online Academy. Lauren has been teaching JFS’ Teen Life Counts to the MPCDS community for 15 years.
Julie Schwartz received a B.A. in Religion from Duke University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school she clerked for Federal District Judge George Arceneaux, then joined the New Orleans law firm Liskow & Lewis, where she spent the next fifteen years in private practice. She is a past president of the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah and New Orleans Toastmasters and for over twenty-five years has been a teacher with New Orleans Jewish Family Service’s Teen Life Counts, a teen suicide prevention program.