Educators participate in suicide prevention workshop


35 Mechanics recently gathered in Crown Heights to attend a suicide prevention and awareness workshop, “If You See Something, Say Something,” developed and led by Ms. Leigh Ioffé. Whole story

The Chabad community, as we know, is not immune to the mental health epidemic that has exploded in recent years. That’s why 35 mechanics gathered in Crown Heights to attend a suicide prevention and awareness workshop, “If you see something, say something”.

This important workshop was developed and facilitated by Ms. Leigh Ioffé, suicide prevention educator for 6 years, and brought to the community of Crown Heights through a collaboration of MASK (Mothers & Fathers Aligned Saving Kids) and the Gelt Charitable Foundation.

During the presentation, Ms. Ioffe delved deeply into the context surrounding a suicidal person, how to talk to someone about their suicidal thoughts and what types of resources are available to keep them safe. In Ioffe’s words: “Those who work in Chinuch have the opportunity to be mental health rescuers. They have an intimate glimpse into the functionality of each student, every day, and it is imperative that they are trained in how to notice red flags and when and how to intervene.

A key role that an educator can play in suicide prevention is to be a source of connection. “If the trauma is a disconnection, then the core of healing from the trauma comes from a real connection,” said Rivka Goldenberg, one of the event’s organizers. Disconnecting leads to void-filling behaviors, shopping, unhealthy relationships and endless hours on social media. During the workshop, teachers were trained on how to be that connection: how to reach out and ask a student if they are feeling suicidal, how to keep them talking and how to be an active listener.

MASK is a non-profit organization that offers a helpline, referrals to professionals and rehabilitation centers, and parent support groups. MASK has worked tirelessly to fight the stigma surrounding mental health issues for 24 years and 113,000 families.

The Gelt Charitable Foundation, sponsored by Gelt Financial, is a non-profit organization with a mission to raise awareness and educate about suicide prevention and mental wellness. The collaboration ensured that the workshop was completely free for the participants.

To learn more about MASK, visit:

To learn more about the Gelt Charitable Foundation, visit:

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