State To Provide Additional Funds For Mental Health Care

Nicholas Cruz, Staff Writer

“I think it would be a great idea. Mental health is very important for everyone, especially college students,” said Vlad Zinchenko, a 26-year-old undecided major from Farmingdale when discussing  grants being established to help N.J. college students with mental health.

The state of New Jersey is offering $16 million in grants to colleges. The goal is to address college students’ mental health. The state secretary of higher education will distribute grants to help pay for mental health resources at public colleges, and according to Dinneen Jackson, director of the wellness center at Brookdale, the college has applied.

In 2021, the state’s higher education department took a questionnaire on students’ mental health. They found that more than 70 percent of those who took the survey had high measures of stress and anxiety. This iniative allots $15 million in grants to higher education institutions to build partnerships to talk about and help students’ mental health needs.

This funding will be assigned to eligible institutions. The state plans on using an additional $10 million in COVID relief money to set up a statewide health program. Since Gov. Murphy took over the leadership of the National Governors Association in July, he made mental health, specifically for the youth, his priority. Murphy also established a statewide plan in New Jersey to make mental health and wellness a priority in classrooms and to recognize and refer students in need of counseling services outside of their school.

“With sharp increases in the rates of depression, anxiety and stress among youth in New Jersey and around the nation, it is clear many young people are struggling right now,” said Murphy in November.

“We must do everything in our power to support youth mental health as we emerge from the pandemic and look towards the future. These grants will fund critical initiatives at our institutions of higher education to help address the mental health needs of New Jersey students – which is essential to both their success and the success of our state as a whole.”

“I think it is really important to promote mental health. I think students should be able to speak to advisers,” said Liam Kennedy, a 22-year media studies major from Sea Girt.

At Brookdale Community College, the school encourages the use of the many mental health resources available, so no student needs to feel hopeless or alone. The schools offer support for international and immigrant students and displaced homemakers. The school also has a LGBTQ ally program along with veteran services.