Wednesday, August 19, 2020

 FY2021 Budget Must Support Increased Capacity for Behavioral Health Services

As critical decisions are being made to finalize Governor Murphy’s FY2021 budget, the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) urgently requests your support to ensure full funding for mental healthcare and substance use treatment services.

Many of our state’s most vulnerable children and adults have been relying on these life-saving services for years and for many, the pandemic has increased their need for services due to exacerbated symptoms of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This is the result of social isolation, unemployment, the virus itself and concerns about their own and loved ones’ health and safety. In addition, many more individuals have needed services for the first time or are likely to need services in the near future.

The FY2021 budget must support increased capacity, so tens of thousands of New Jersey’s adults and children in need of services will not have to go untreated or seek treatment in emergency rooms, an inefficient and costly alternative. Adequate funding to avoid layoffs and program closures in the community-based behavioral health system is essential for a healthy New Jersey, as well as the health of the state’s bottom line.

The anticipated exponential increase in the demand for services underscores the critical need for funding to be not only sustained, but also increased, in the FY2021 State Budget. Please read more details in op-ed pieces I recently had published in the Star-Ledger and Philadelphia Inquirer, and an interview I had with ROI-NJ.