The Morris County Funders Group, a coalition of 10 funding organizations, has announced $325,000 in collaborative funding to provide Mental Health First Aid training to Morris County organizations. Mental Health Association in New Jersey will provide the facilitation of this training.
This first initiative of the Funders Group, united by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, aims to address the growing mental health crisis in young people and adults. A Center for Disease Control report released in February 2023 found that, in 2021, 57% of high school girls reported feeling “persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in the past year,” while the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy publicly spoke about a loneliness epidemic amongst teens. A National Institute of Mental Health report from 2021 indicated that more than one in five adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid is an evidenced-based training that teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of emerging mental health and substance use challenges and crisis. Those who receive this training may be the vital link to connecting a young person or adult to appropriate support. Founded over 78 years ago, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the mental health of adults and youth in New Jersey. The Association is a leading provider of Mental Health First Aid training in our state. Through funds from this project, the Association will provide Youth Mental Health First Aid (a course for adults who work with youth) and Adult Mental Health First Aid to Morris-County-based non-profits, community organizations, faith-groups, school districts and similar entities.
Supporters of this initiative include the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Hyde and Watson Foundation, the Somerset Hills Community Health Foundation, the Fannie E. Rippel Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Six Talents Foundation, the F. M. Kirby Foundation, the MCJ Amelior Foundation, and the Mimi Washington Starrett Foundation.
“We appreciate the generous support of our funding partners and their recognition of the importance of mental health. This project could not go forward without their leadership. Taking a Mental Health First Aid course is an opportunity for the public to increase mental health awareness and become equipped with evidence-based, practical skills for helping people experiencing challenges or crisis,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.
“This is a bigger challenge than any one donor can take on alone,” said Aaron Turner, Chief Philanthropic Officer at the Community Foundation of New Jersey. “By bringing these committed local funders together, we can pool our resources and expertise and really move the needle on mental health challenges among young people in Morris County. We’re excited to make this difference together.”
The initial funding for this project will provide up to 45 Mental Health First Aid trainings to Morris County organizations. If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity for your organization, please contact Ruth Kaluski, Statewide Director of Strategic Programs and Mental Health First Aid for the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, at [email protected].