Jayne Demsky, USA
Jayne is founder of the School Avoidance Alliance, initiator of Stigma-Free, mental health advocate in New Jersey USA, and co-chair of her town’s mental health taskforce.
About Jayne Demsky
Jayne has helped thousands of families navigate their child’s journey back to school. Her son struggled with school avoidance for many years. The isolation, confusion, and fear her family experienced were exacerbated by lack of awareness, shortage of clinicians using evidence-based interventions, and attitudes among school personnel. Once he was back in school and doing well, Jayne started helping other families via School Avoidance Alliance which facilitates information-sharing between clinicians, researchers, educational advocates, families, and schools.
Jayne serves on the public policy committee for the New Jersey State Office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She is a Smarts for Advocacy trainer, providing workshops on mental health advocacy. Jayne led the initiative to have her town declare itself Stigma-Free, to reduce the stigma of mental illness. She co-chairs the town’s mental health task force, is certified in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid, received educational and disability advocacy training, and obtained a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University in the USA.
"I like the theme for this year’s INSA Conference, ‘Making Waves to Advance School Attendance’. It gives us license to be agents of change. We can make bold moves to hasten the flow of information, promote collaboration, and disrupt old-school attitudes and punitive responses towards kids challenged with school avoidance. We need to support schools and stakeholders in their prevention efforts, and spotlight the fact that early interventions equal the best outcomes. After all, these outcomes are our kids’ lives.