MONTGOMERY — The state has awarded $10 million for the expansion of the Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic’s child and adolescent inpatient program.
The grant, announced Wednesday, will help fund a $28 million expansion of New Jersey’s largest behavioral health facility.
The project will include up to 52 hospitalization rooms for children, adolescents and adults; the creation of a support and family resource center to help patients and their families throughout treatment; and an Academic Teaching Center and Medical Staff Suite to increase capacity to teach physicians and other mental health professionals.
The grant will be funded by $5 million from the 2022 state budget and $5 million from the 2023 budget.
Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. D-Middlesex and other lawmakers announced the grant at a press conference.
“Our young people are vulnerable, and the biggest challenge families face is time,” Coughlin said. “Currently, children and youth are waiting far too long to be admitted to the right facility, referred to the right doctor’s office and connected to the right resources. Speaking to mental health practitioners on the front lines, one of the things I often hear about is the lack of inpatient beds, and that’s a need this funding will help fill.
Investing in behavioral health has become a priority for Governor Phil Murphy’s administration, state officials said.
“Governor. Murphy’s administration, in partnership with Speaker Coughlin and the Legislative Assembly, made historic investments in the fiscal year 2023 budget to support and expand mental health services, especially for young people in difficulty,” said Sarah Adelman, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. “These funds build the pipeline of mental health professionals, create more bed capacity, invest in innovation and improve access to services for individuals in communities across New Jersey. This expansion of Carrier Clinic services comes at a crucial time and these historic investments have helped make it possible.
New Jersey:Heating bills are in line for double-digit increases, after the state approves steep rate hikes
Hackensack Meridian Health welcomed the announcement.
“We know the only way to tackle this youth mental health crisis is through collaboration with strong partners – government, other health care partners and community stakeholders,” said Robert C. Garrett , CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Together we make a difference.”
District 16 lawmakers also applauded the grant.
“Families in New Jersey can sometimes struggle to access mental health care for their children,” said MP Sadaf Jaffer, D-Somerset, former mayor of Montgomery. “By adding beds specifically for the behavioral health needs of children, we are working to create healthier, happier and more resilient communities.”
Email: [email protected]
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. For unlimited access to her articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account.