NJ State Senator announces large allocation for mental health in budget

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New Jersey State Sen. Vin Gopal, the only Indian-American elected to the upper house, speaks at June 22, 2021 signing of the small business relief package. Photo: Facebook Vin Gopal

State Senator Vin Gopal, the only Indian-American in the New Jersey State Senate, announced that the State Budget for 2023 adopted June 30, 2022, will include $250,000 for the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County.

“So many people have experienced depression and feelings of isolation over the past several years, and even before the pandemic we were seeing alarming increases in mental and behavioral health problems and suicide among teens,” Gopal is quoted saying in a press release, adding, “The Mental Health Association of Monmouth County provides a lifeline to people who are battling mental illness and cannot afford to get help on their own.”

Established in 1950, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHAMC) is an affiliate of the national nonprofit Mental Health America and provides more than 15 free programs.

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For the past several months Gopal has been working in a bi-partisan effort with legislative leadership in Trenton to secure direct funds for the residents of the 11th Legislative District, the press release said.

“On behalf of the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County we are extremely grateful for Senator Gopal’s continued commitment to the funding of mental health programs,” said MHAMC President and CEO Wendy DePedro. Rates of depression and anxiety continue to rise, and the funds included in the budget are expected to allow the County to continue providing free counseling and supportive services to those who have no ability to pay, DePedro indicated.

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