“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all of us statewide, and we know children, teens and young adults are no exception.” Governor Murphy said. “At a time when we knew our children would need them, we did not hesitate to invest state resources where they were needed most – in strengthening and improving the care system. children. By investing vital state dollars in modernizing the youth mental health system and helping families navigate the programs available to help, we live up to our responsibility as a state to support young people who have been hit hard by the emotional weight of the pandemic. No one should ever feel like they are struggling in isolation – in New Jersey we lift each other up and we will go through this crisis stronger together. “
“At the start of the pandemic, we recognized the signs of what I called a parallel epidemic of behavioral and emotional problems in young people,” said Christine Norbut Beyer, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. “We know that we have all, over the past year and a half, experienced a sense of loss and grief – whether we have lost a loved one to COVID-19, or have lost all sense and semblance of” normality ”. ‘ We recognize that returning to in-person education is not particularly quick or easy, but when children have a pattern of prolonged stress or anxiety, this is when parents should ask for help. additional help. We ask parents to be aware of the signs – perhaps these are unusual mood swings, or increased and prolonged behaviors of fighting or lying, or perhaps not enjoying the activities they are doing. once loved. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids what’s wrong and normalize their asking for help when they need it. For children, adolescents and parents in difficulty, know that help is available.
The web page, accessible through the state’s COVID-19 web portal or by going directly to covid19.nj.gov/youthhelp, is intended to serve as a one-stop web resource for programs, services and supports that specifically address youth behavioral or emotional health issues. The site will be continuously improved and updated to provide youth, families and educators with tools to take charge of their own mental health and to demystify and de-stigmatize the need to seek help. By helping families navigate the supportive infrastructure, it is expected that it will be easier for families to seek and connect to help.
Resources are available for different audiences – the 2ND FLOOR phone and text helpline and the Crisis Text Line for children and youth; Child Care System Hotline and Mental Health First Aid Tools for Parents; and resources and tools for educators to support the mental health of their students in the classroom. The site will be monitored and maintained by the Office of Innovation and will be updated with additional tools and site architecture in response to the needs of the family.
“This page on youth mental health will be an organic, living resource for families, youth and the educational community in New Jersey,” said Dr. Beth Simone Noveck, director of innovation for the state of New Jersey. “This page is only a first step, and we look forward to hearing from the community how we can better serve them, working with our colleagues in social services and education to best provide access to services. , especially for vulnerable youth, and using the data. to continually improve this mental health resource.
The child care system has seen an increase in activity recently – a 30% increase over the usual demand for services in September.
Behavioral signs indicating a more serious problem may include:
- protracted or recurring opposition and aggression,
- material damage and lack of respect,
- feelings of anxiety or depression
- a motive or a lie or a prolonged fight,
- theft or substance use,
- or running away or engaging in acts of self-harm.