Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) issued the following statement on Governor’s Murphy’s announcement today that New Jersey will establish a statewide mental health training program to train employees in public and private schools, at institutions of higher education and create a mental health roadmap working group to create more access for young people:
“We are learning day after day how prevalent the issue of mental health really is, yet we struggle to adequately respond to people in need. I call this the ‘silent killer’ because many times, we do not spot the signs and symptoms until it’s too late.
“The statistics are staggering. In the United States, one in five young people suffers from a mental illness, but only about half of those young people actually get the treatment they need.
“In New Jersey, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 through 24. This is clearly a crisis we are not addressing as well as we should.
“It is critical that we develop policies that help schools and parents be able to recognize the signs of mental illness and make it possible for them to assist young people in getting the help they need and end the stigma around mental health. The fact is, there is no health without mental health.
“I am committed to working on this issue. In the coming month, I will introduce a bill package that better enables schools to identify students with mental health issues and connect them with professional help. By reaching out to these students in school, we can address issues early on and ensure they stay on the path to success.”