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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Marie

Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D. - Licensed Psychologist in Montclair, NJ

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

September 2022 Newsletter


Dear Readers,

Hello, and welcome to the first of many monthly newsletters! My hope in this endeavor is to encourage a platform for interested folks to learn more about how we, as a community, can better conceptualize, understand, appreciate, practice and promote mental health and wellness.

Who am I?

First and foremost, let me start off by introducing myself and letting the audience know a little bit about me both professionally and personally. My name is Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D., and I am licensed psychologist in private practice in Montclair, NJ. My niche is working with adults struggling with symptoms related trauma and addiction. Sub-niches include working with adults presenting with issues of anxiety, depression, grief and loss, and stress management.

What do I do?

I function primarily from an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) theoretical orientation, which is a contemporary form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. At its core, this therapeutic approach serves two main purposes:

1) Acknowledging and normalizing the inevitability of human pain through a compassion focused lens, and

2) Decreasing human suffering through making psychological contact with what that makes life rich, meaningful, and vital through our actions

Get to know me a little more!

At home, I live with my husband, my 11-year-old stepdaughter, my 2-year-old son, and our 4-year-old Bernadoodle named Lucas. Together as a family we enjoy arts and crafts, creating our own games, going for walks, making each other laugh, and enjoying our staple Friday Family movie nights. Personally, I enjoy being out in nature, especially near the ocean, listening to my favorite music and podcasts, practicing mindful meditation, and trying out new recipes.

Spread the word!

The main aim of this month’s newsletter is to help spread the word that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a survivor of suicide loss myself, I whole heartedly believe that it is my mission to help end the stigma by inviting communication about suicide prevention, and promoting resources and awareness, such as knowing the warning signs and how we can help others and ourselves if we are experiencing a psychological emergency. Let’s dive right in …

Warning Signs of Suicide:

1. Comments or thoughts about suicide (“I wish I wasn’t here”; “I’m a burden and others would be better off without me”)

2. Significant emotional changes:

a. Increased feelings of:

i. Depression

ii. Hopelessness

iii. Helplessness

iv. Anxiety

v. Internal angst

3. Significant behavioral changes:

a. Increased alcohol and drug use;

b. Aggressive behavior;

c. Withdrawal and isolation from friends, family, community;

d. Impulsive or reckless behavior

e. Collecting and/or saving pills

f. Buying a weapon

g. Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts

h. Saying goodbye to friends and family

How We Can Help:

If you are someone you know is struggling or in a crisis, help is available. Call or text 988, or chat to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained Crisis Counselor


1. National Alliance on Mental Illness:

2. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

How You Can Help Too!

Interested in helping to reduce the stigma and raise public awareness about suicide prevention? Consider participating in your local “Out of the Darkness Community Walk”. As a community, let's come walk together, take strides in saving lives, and bring hope, one step at a time, to those affected by suicide. Find your local supporting event here:

Together, we as a community can work together to spread the news that mental illness is real, treatment is available, and recovery is possible!

If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please email to be added to the mailing list.

*Peace, Love, & Fierce Acceptance*

Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D.


NJ Licensed Psychologist #5888, Private Practice

Adjunct Professor, Kean University, Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology

Manager, New York City Chapter of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science

Board Member, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris

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