School Refusal Hope

About Us


Dear families,

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I am a mom who has been down the challenging road of school refusal. My son struggled with school refusal for many years.  I am happy to tell you that my son was able to get back to a school environment.  He was able to enjoy his last few years of high school as a parent would hope for their child. He received a good education,he graduated and went to college.

I get how your child’s pain can be compounded by the lack of understanding among your friends, family, school district and your difficulty to find a solution.

When we went through this, there was much less information and understanding in the school systems. The good news is that today schools are doing better to recognize and address this challenge.

Some school systems have added in-district clinical services that may be appropriate or helpful to you. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and research professionals have improved communications of sharing information and solutions. So, hopefully you will be dealing with people who have experience with school avoidance.

As you know, when your child is suffering, you are too. Just as it can be challenging to find the right help, it is also hard to find other parents to connect to for advice, empathy and support.

On our site, you can:

  • Find out who you should be dealing with at your current school

  • Learn which types of therapy are recommended for school refusal

  • Discover treatment programs that specialize in school refusal

  • Connect with other school refusal families through our private Facebook Group (Coming soon)

My wish is that this site will make it easy for you to find comprehensive information and resources that can help your child get back to school.

I am really sorry if your family is struggling. I do remember those days and some were very difficult.

I want you to know that there is hope for your child and your family.  You can get your child back to school and your family back on course.  This is a period of time in your life that is a challenge, but it won’t always be this way.

Do not give up hope. Trust your gut when you have to make decisions. Try to take care of yourself and keep searching and fighting for the best help for your child.

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Jayne and New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer at a press conference announcing a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant.


Jayne Demsky founded School Refusal Hope in 2014 in order to provide guidance and resources for families dealing with their child’s school avoidance. She is an active mental health advocate and volunteer. She serves on the Public Policy Committee for the New Jersey state office of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. At NAMI she focuses on legislation and policy regarding mental health in our schools and mental healthcare insurance. In addition, she is a trained NAMI Smarts for Advocacy trainer where she presents workshops to teach individuals how to use their voice to improve mental health in America. She led the initiative to have her New Jersey town declare themselves Stigma-Free in order to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. She currently co-chairs her towns mental health task force and recently launched their stigma-free website to help educate and motivate people to seek help. She is most proud of her partnership with her town’s local School District where she persuaded the town to include mental health information on all their school’s websites. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid. In her past corporate life, she sold textbooks and educational software for Prentice Hall/Pearson and Blackboard (formerly WebCT). She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.