Denise and Ben Denslow with JEM Nikki Kontz with Teen Lifeline and Susan Todd with Movember
JEM was Founded in honor of Jacob Edward Machovsky who was lost to suicide on January 11, 2016. JEM exists to honor him by helping others. At The JEM Foundation they all have one purpose, to end youth suicide. Mental illness and treatment can be complex, JEM believes in support for the individual along with the parents/caregivers.
Their mission is to prevent suicide, support positive changes to mental health care, provide individual and family support, and remove the stigma that surrounds mental illness. JEM is working diligently to enact legislation that will improve the lives of those living with a behavioral health condition.
The Founders of JEM are certified Youth Mental Health First Aid instructors actively involved in training educators, community members, and others to reduce suicides throughout AZ. Along with training, they help families understand their insurance rights and file appeals when necessary.
JEM presents at statewide conferences, creates sustainable relationships with local, state and national elected officials, and formed a statewide insurance parity coalition that has garnered national support.
Jake’s Law, named for Jacob Edward Machovsky who was lost to suicide on January 11, 2016, is a comprehensive effort to improve access to mental healthcare and reduce rising suicide rates.
To learn more about Jake’s Law:
Denise Denlsow is business and technical professional whose life experience led to Co-Founding The JEM Foundation whose mission is to prevent youth suicide. Denise lost to her son to suicide and faced many obstacles getting her son Jake basic mental health care.
Due to that struggle, Denise and her husband Ben created The JEM Foundation and the Arizona Coalition for Insurance Parity (ACIP). ACIP’s focus is to enact state legislation to ensure that health insurance companies cannot discriminate between physical health and mental health.
Blessed, proud father of two and stepfather of two. Ben Denslow married his best friend three years ago and he is an AZ native. He has nearly 30 years experience in the banking industry.
Passions include animals, woodworking, gardening and driving legislative changes to improve mental health care. After losing his stepson Jake to suicide in 2016, he vowed to make change happen so no other family would have to endure the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. Together we can bring an end to the epidemic of suicide.
Nikki Kontz is Clinical Director at Teen Lifeline. Teen Lifeline’s mission to provide a safe, confidential and crucial crisis service where teens help teens make healthy decisions together.
The agency was established in 1986 to impact the devastating problem of teen suicide through a free, confidential, peer supported hotline and life skills development that empowers Arizona’s youth to reach their full potential.
The core of Teen Lifeline is its Peer Counseling Hotline which provides troubled youth throughout Arizona the opportunity to access immediate help from a Peer Counselor 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Movember is the leading charity dedicated to changing the face of men’s health around the world. Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing a health crisis that isn’t being talked about. We want men to take action to live happier, healthier, longer lives. We do this by investing in these critical areas: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention.
As the U.S. Director for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Susan Todd brings a unique blend of expertise in the areas of non-profit management and strengthening health systems as well as a passion for community involvement.
She is deepening Movember’s U.S. investment in mental health and suicide prevention by furthering the organization’s mission through partnerships and funded programs. Previously, she served as the Executive Director of 504HealthNet, a non-profit community-based coalition of primary care and behavioral health clinics in New Orleans focused on improving access to healthcare services, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
Prior to that she conducted research and analysis to implement components of the Affordable Care Act as an analyst for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. While there she focused on Medicaid and Marketplace enrollment and financing issues, and participated as a core team member in the White House initiative Strong Cities, Strong Communities.
Her earlier experience also includes working for NASA as a scuba diver assisting in spacewalk training for astronauts and teaching English in Argentina. Susan earned her Masters of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and her BA in International Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. She is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.