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March 28, 2019

Social Work Student Takes a Lead Role in Teen Suicide Prevention

Stacy Brief

Stacy Brief, a junior at Adelphi, struggled with emotional issues and thoughts of suicide as a teen. But she has channeled her struggles into helping others overcome their challenges.

For the past five years, she has volunteered with the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. On March 19, she organized the society’s daylong Youth Wellness Summit for 25 Nassau County high schools. At the event, teens learn coping skills and build confidence and self-esteem. The Bellmore native and her efforts were featured in both Newsday and LI

“The summit was a heartwarming and successful day,” Brief said. “The school staff and students in attendance were grateful for the opportunity to address some of the topics raised, such as self-esteem, suicide prevention, and it being ‘okay not to be okay.’ We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from all who attended.”

Todd Vanidestine, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Social Work, has advised and mentored Brief, who is pursuing her B.S.W., for the last two and a half years. For the event, Brief went “above and beyond,” he said, “She coordinated various stakeholders, accessed funding, facilitated bimonthly meetings and exemplified what it means to engage a community,” creating, he said, “not only an event but also building a movement to support young people…that includes ongoing coordination within participating schools and supporting young people to continue the work with their peers.”

Brief, in turn, gives credit to her mentor, saying, “His guidance along with the foundation of social work skills I have gotten from being a student in Adelphi’s social work program allows me to do great things, such as host the summit as a first step towards starting a mental health and suicide prevention movement throughout Long Island high schools.”

The Nassau County National Association of Social Workers (NASW) rewarded Brief for her efforts with a scholarship, which she will be presented with at the 2019 NASW-NYS Nassau Division Social Work awards event on April 3. Brief said the award “is an absolute honor and validates that the work I put into my degree and into my community. Training to become a social worker is the most exciting time of my life and I appreciate the recognition of my work.”


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