Save NJ School Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP)

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I work as a School-Based Counselor at Brick Memorial High School in Brick, NJ. School-Based is a group of counselors who provide mental health, youth development, group, crisis intervention, and extra-curricular services to students for free throughout various schools in the state of New Jersey. Unfortunately, this is about to come to an end. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) has decided to stop funding School-Based programs throughout the state as of next month! While I understand we are in a time of economic hardship, I believe this is an extremely short-sighted decision that is neglecting the current mental health and developmental needs of children/students during these difficult times in our country. Rates of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents are consistently on the rise, and the current nature of change in schooling and social climates will only contribute to this in students of all ages and backgrounds. School-based programs provide students an a daily basis with the mental health and crisis intervention services that they are in such need of right now, and there will be a significant gap in the care of these students without these programs. Many students are not able to afford mental health care outside of School-Based for various reasons, and these students will now not be able to receive services necessary to their development and health. Besides for just cost, we also remove many barriers to accessing mental health services, such as transportation needs and working around schedules. The current health crisis in our country has made mental health care all the more important, yet the needs of New Jersey students are not being given the priority they deserve! 

My coworkers and I across the School-Based programs throughout the state care so deeply about our students that will do whatever it takes to fight for this program, but we need help and awareness! Reach out to State Senator Stephen M. Sweeney to explain the need for School-Based programming, as well as the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). 


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