Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program
Several community tragedies involving youth in New Jersey schools
highlighted the need for a community-wide mental health response
to these events.
In a joint initiative of the New Jersey Division of Mental Health
Services (NJDMHS), New Jersey Department of Education and the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-University
Behavioral Health Care, county forums were held to discuss the
coordination of resources available to schools in the event of
a traumatic loss. Based on the findings of the needs assessment
conducted at these forums, NJDMHS identified the need to establish
a coalition in each county to address traumatic losses affecting
youth. This mechanism for proactive planning was modeled after
the Traumatic Loss Coalition of Mercer County, which was funded
by the Department of Health.
The Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program was created to
establish traumatic loss coalitions in each of New Jersey's counties
and to provide ongoing technical assistance to communities in
The mission of these county-wide coalitions is to develop a coordinated
response to traumatic loss events and crises affecting youth and
to update those working with youth on mental health
issues including suicide prevention and violence prevention.
These coalitions include representatives from schools, as well
as mental health, law enforcement, faith-based and community agencies.
Through scheduled meetings, they share resources, concrete plans
and procedures. This enables those in crisis to know who to contact
and what to do in response to a traumatic event affecting school-aged