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Noah Webster House To Host ‘Nurturing Our Youth: Mental Health & Suicide Prevention’ Community Forum

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The topic will be covered as part of the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society’s ‘Conversation: A Community Forum’ events.

Submitted by Sarah Mocko St. Germain, Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society

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The public is invited to attend Conversations: A Community Forum at the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society. The evening discussion on Sept. 24, 2015, at 7 p.m. will focus on mental health and suicide prevention. The program is free, but reservations are requested.

West Hartford may seem like the perfect, bucolic community but even it is not immune to the tragedy of suicide. Of particular concern is the mental health of our youth, as they encounter increasing pressure in school, extracurricular activities, and family life.

As September is National Suicide Prevention month, the focus of Conversations: A Community Forum will be how we as a community can support our youth, offer mental health strategies, identify risk factors for suicide, and seek help and intervention in a timely fashion. A panel of community experts will share what their organizations are doing to reach these initiatives.

This Community Forum will be moderated by Christopher Dumas, L.M.F.T, the Clinical Director of The Bridge Family Services’ outpatient clinic. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has worked primarily with adolescents for most of his professional career. He has delivered presentations in the community at-large on bullying, suicide risk assessment, managing violence threats, and understanding anger and aggression in adolescent males.

Each of the three members of the Nurturing Our Youth: Mental Health & Suicide Prevention panel will each give a short presentation, followed by a question and answer period. The panel members will include Geoff Genser, David Bender, and Chris Bivona.

Geoff Genser is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a West Hartford practice. Their focus is engaging young people who struggle with stressors connected to social difficulties, family conflict, and academic problems.

David Bender is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Young Adult Services division at the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital. He also maintains a private practice in West Hartford. Dr. Bendor is a past member of the Town of Needham, Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Coalition.

Chris Bivona has been supporting students at Hall High School for over 30 years as a Clinical Social Worker. She works closely with the school psychologist, counselors, teachers, and parents to address students’ problems. In 2006, Ms. Bivona was named West Hartford’s Teacher of the Year. Ms. Bivona will weigh in on what the schools do in terms of training, policy and follow up with at-risk students.

Visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org to make a free reservation.

The Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society is a not-for-profit museum and cultural destination where citizens can learn to understand and appreciate the past. The museum preserves the birthplace of Noah Webster, the founding father, educator, author and lexicographer who taught generations of Americans what it means to be American. This National Historic Landmark is also a repository for West Hartford’s history, the community that molded Noah Webster’s future and is still thriving over 250 years later. The historic house and exhibit spaces are open daily 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. For information on the museum’s extensive school and public programs, please visit www.noahwebsterhouse.org or call (860) 521-5362.

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