Supporting Emotional Wellness In School

By Zalman Abraham

The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) released Back to School in Unconventional Times, a white-labeled publication for Jewish organizations and schools across North America to affix their logo to and share with parents and educators in their network. The 36-page booklet provides expert advice and practical wisdom from thirteen mental health professionals who specialize in adolescent mental wellness and is designed to help parents and educators support their teens transition into the school year in the “new normal.” 

Back to School in Unconventional Times was published by The Wellness Insititute, a newly formed division of JLI that focuses on youth suicide prevention.

Suicide is the second leading (and #1 most preventable) cause of teen death in the United States. In the past decade, the suicide rate among teens has risen by 56%. Yet, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), it still takes an average of 10 years from the onset of symptoms until teens actually begin receiving treatment!

The start of the school year has added additional sources of anxiety and stress. Data informs us that teen suicides are strikingly aligned with the school calendar (peaking during school and falling during vacation), and with the addition of a pandemic, stress and anxiety levels have reached an unprecedented peak. An alarming CDC report revealed that more than one in four youth ages 18-24 (the youngest age group included in the study) have seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days!

The Wellness Institute is training parents, educators, and youth leaders to recognize warning signs, assess risk, and create safety plans with their teens; and to facilitate group discussions about identity, self-esteem, coping mechanisms, and personal meaning based on universal Jewish wisdom and contemporary psychology. 

JLI is a member of the American Association of Suicidology, and its clinical advisory board is comprised of leading names in suicide prevention, including Drs. Thomas Joiner (Florida State U.), Madelyn Gould (Columbia U.), David Brent (U. of Pittsburgh), Jonathan Singer (Loyola U.; president, American Association of Suicidology) and Sigrid Pechenik (director, NY State Suicide Prevention Resource Center).

Back to School in Unconventional Times is available free of charge and can be customized by interested organizations to share with their constituents digitally or in print. To view the flipbook, visit: For more information about this project, email Adina Posner at or call 718-221-6900. To order print or customized copies for your organization,