New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Strengthening statewide capacity for supporting youth facing emotional stress or mental health challenges
Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc.
Strengthening statewide capacity for supporting youth facing emotional stress or mental health challenges
Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc.
Grant Award Amount

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc., is leading this two-year project, partnering with the superintendents of the Freehold Borough Public School District, the Lower Cape May Regional School District and the Maple Shade School District to develop teams of certified Mental Health First Aid-Youth (MHFA-Youth) instructors. MHFA-Youth training participants learn to identify risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in youth, understand the importance of early intervention, and develop the intervention skills to assist an adolescent experiencing a crisis. Through this project, a network of 15 MHFA-Youth trainers consisting of school nurses, school safety officers, teachers, coaches and individual community members is being established across Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Monmouth and Salem counties. The potential long-term impact of this network of certified trainers could include increased mental health literacy and improved access to care, which could reduce the stigma of mental illness, and promote health and equity by addressing the behavioral health needs of adolescents in New Jersey. In addition, each of the three school districts’ instructional teams are training 200 school district and regional community stakeholders in Mental Health First Aid-Youth and developing a plan for self-sufficiency that incorporates policy-and systems-change to increase awareness of mental health and substance use issues among adolescents.

Working with NJ School Superintendents to Provide Regional Mental Health First Aid
Grant Recipient

Ruth Kaluski
Project Director
(973) 571-4100, ext 136

View an update from this project:
NJ School Superintendents Engage Community Partners to Support Youth through Mental Health First Aid
NJHI Blog. (2019, August 26).

Follow the latest news coverage regarding this work:
NJ Adults Take “Mental Health First Aid” Course to Spot Kids in Need
New Jersey 101.5 FM. (2018, October 24).

Maple Shade School District Staff Learn More about Mental Health
Burlington County Times/Ryan, L. (2018, October 26).

View All: NJHI: Small Grants