Sen. Bob Gordon, (D-38), Bergen, wants New Jersey to apply for federal funds to help children in need of mental health services.
Gordon announced Friday he has introduced a Senate resolution calling on the state to apply for the funds to help create a pilot program.
“The sad truth is that far too many children with mental health needs are not getting the kind of services they require,” Gordon said in a release. “We need a centralized location where primary care physicians can reach out and acquire information that they can then pass on to children and their families.”
According to Gordon, approximately 70 percent of children and adolescents who need mental health treatment do not receive it. Those who do often receive it from their primary care physician. Often these doctors do not have the resources or means to adequately treat them
With the assistance of groups such as the New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and many others, Gordon has been advocating for the establishment of a pilot program in Bergen County to improve access to mental health services for children and adolescents.
The pilot program would provide primary care physicians with immediate access, through telephone or by some other electronic means, to a child psychiatric team that will assist primary care physicians in their assessment, diagnosis and treatment of child and adolescent mental health issues.
The federal government has grants available through the Department of Health and Human Services that would pay for full implementation of the pilot program, but a New Jersey state department or agency has to apply for the funding in order to receive it, according to Gordon. The deadline to apply for funding is June 2.
The measure, SR-113, has been referred to the Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee.