Nadherny Symposium Focuses On Teens Who ‘Cut’ Themselves


Nadherny Symposium Focuses On Teens Who ‘Cut’ Themselves

March 05, 2007 


The difficult-to-treat situation of teens intentionally cutting themselves is the topic Friday at the ninth annual symposium in memory of Jon Nadherny / Calciano. Elizabeth McCauley, a child clinical psychologist in Washington and a research pioneer in the field of adolescent depression, will give the keynote talk at 1 p.m. at the Cocoanut Grove. President of the American Psychological Association’s Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, she and her colleagues have federal grant funding to test a school-based preventive intervention for youth at risk of depression.

A panel discussion will follow with Dr. Robert Brown, a psychiatrist for Santa Cruz County children’s mental health; Dr. Peter Holland, a psychiatrist working at UC Santa Cruz and in private practice; family therapist Bruce Neustadter; psychologist and high school counselor Suzanne Nicholas; and psychotherapist Amy Pine, co-founder of a nonprofit to serve adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
Topics will include symptoms, prevention and local treatment options for cutting, which typically appears at the onset of puberty. Cognitive dialectical behavior therapy holds promise and medication often helps the therapy be more effective, experts say.The symposium series began in the wake of a tragedy. In 1995, Jon Nadherny / Calciano, 23, took his own life, which prompted his family to do something to make a difference for young people in the future.

They approached Dominican Hospital and created an endowment to underwrite the annual seminars. The first, in 1998, focused on adolescent suicide. Since then, the symposium has become a sold-out event, widely attended by counselors, educators and parents concerned about adolescent behavior. Last year, it was moved from the hospital to a larger venue to accommodate an audience of more than 400 people.

Suicides remain a problem in Santa Cruz County. The numbers of suicides by young adults 19-29 has fluctuated from a high of seven to a low of two over the past 10 years. “As difficult as our loss continues to be, the sense of community coming together to help prevent similar tragedies from affecting other families is a healing force,” said Joshua Nadherny-Calciano, Jon’s brother.