Selected students attend Monmouth County Youth Wellness Summit


Sarah McNey

Students went through a variety of workshops held at Brookdale Community College.

Sarah McNey

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS) hosted its annual Monmouth County Youth Wellness Summit at Brookdale Community College’s Lincroft campus on Tuesday, May 22. The event was sponsored by Brookdale and Manasquan Bank.

Three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore attended this year’s summit, which aims to “instill methods and practices for wellness in mental health in Monmouth County high school students that will help to enrich their lives and transform their abilities for problem solving, goal setting, leadership and overall well-being,” according to the summit’s mission statement.

Students attended several sessions throughout the day, ranging from yoga lessons to seminars on transitioning into college.

Sophomore Alessia Lubrano of Colts Neck attended a session about raising self esteem.

“[The moderator] stuck pieces of paper on to all of our backs and gave everybody a marker,” Lubrano said. “We were told to go around and write a comment on the back of another person, and once we took it off and read it, it made everybody feel more confident.”

After the workshops, all students listened to the keynote speaker, Mark Farrell. Farrell, a motivational speaker and radio host, spoke about mental health, overcoming adversity and living with a visual disability.

“He was kind of blunt and to the point with his story,” Lubrano said. “But besides that, I really liked him and the story he told.”

At the end of the summit, seniors Julia Dwight of Atlantic Highlands and Andrew Wang of Marlboro received scholarships for their work on the SPTS’s youth council.

Wang said organizations like SPTS are important to become involved in.

“While teens unfortunately struggle with issues such as depression and suicide today, their struggles are often stigmatized,” Wang said. “Organizations like SPTS help shed more light on these kind of issues, and also provide greater access to help and resources for those who may be in trouble, too.”