Our theme, Better Together, reflects on the positive lessons we learned throughout the pandemic. We learned the importance of mental health and how critical it is to our overall wellbeing, both as individuals and as a society. Two years of social isolation and adversity brought to the forefront our need for connectedness and the support of our families and friends.
In 2022, we find ourselves in the midst of a public mental health crisis, with soaring rates of anxiety and depression across the lifecycle. Nowhere is this more apparent than with our youth. Everywhere you turn, data from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others show alarming statistics related to an increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 18-year-olds nationwide.
Mental Health America, our national affiliate, reports that more than half of adults with a mental health condition and over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive treatment. This flies in the face of the guiding principles of the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, where we apply a prevention-focused approach to mental wellness, including early intervention and access to quality treatment.
Always focused on the immediate needs and gaps of our communities, our agency provided counseling, education, and case management services to thousands of individuals and families:
- 2,471 educators, school counselors, and parents were trained in our Lifelines Suicide Prevention Program. We also provided six free counseling sessions to Monmouth County school personnel, who experienced increased stress and anxiety resulting from COVID-19 and gun violence.
- 165 homeless individuals were housed through our Housing Navigation Program.
- 1,337 clients received bilingual assistance with health, housing, food, social, and financial issues, including 1,748 social service linkages, through our Red Bank Resource Network.
As we identify communities in need, services are developed to alleviate crises and provide support using a strength-based, collaborative approach. Our programs and services are provided free of charge to our clients, eliminating the financial barriers that prevent so many from seeking help.
We are exceptionally grateful for your ongoing generosity. Let us continue to prove we are truly Better Together as we deliver integrated, comprehensive care for those in need and advocate for the importance of mental health and wellness throughout Monmouth County–and beyond.