By Justin Udo


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Suicide prevention treatment took center stage in Philadelphia on Monday as specialists united in the fight against the causes of depression.

Experts from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Jefferson Medical College, the City of Philadelphia and other organizations, gathered at CHOP as they look to implement suicide prevention task forces.

“We’ve all formed sort of a regional and state-wide coalition to work together to prevent suicide in our region,” said CHOP chief psychiatrist, Dr. Tami Benton.

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Dr. Benton says they formed the organization about a year-and-a-half ago, after several area middle-school students took their own lives.

“We’ve actually been a fairly productive group in terms of advocating for, educating people, writing grants to expand our initiatives,” she said.

The task forces will be designed to engage with faith-based communities, as well as train youth in foster care and in the justice system.

“It has to be a public health focus of something we all identify as a crisis that we need to address,” Benton said.

Dr. Benton says their group initially started with a focus on childhood suicide, but has since spread to work with college students, adults and families, too.