AMY KENNEDY ROLLS OUT POLICY TO ADDRESS SOUTH JERSEY’S MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION CRISIS
Kennedy holds roundtable discussion with community leaders and activists, lays out solutions for growing epidemic
Brigantine, NJ—Today, mental health advocate and Democratic candidate for New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district Amy Kennedy offered her proposed solutions to address South Jersey’s mental health and addiction crisis. Kennedy met with community leaders and activists for a roundtable discussion at the Enlightened Café, before speaking at a meeting of the Retired Police and Fireman’s Association on the same topic.
Drug-related deaths in New Jersey have increased by 150 percent since 2012, with the highest fatal overdose rates happening in South Jersey. Fewer than half of returning veterans in need of mental health services receive any treatment.
“South Jersey is in the throes of an addiction crisis, and yet our political leadership in Washington is failing us,” said Kennedy. “President Trump said that he would end the opioid crisis, but the only thing he’s done is make empty promises. He has even called for throwing people with mental health conditions into institutions. Trump has been heartless, he’s been dishonest, and he’s been ineffective. That’s left state and local governments alone on the front lines.”
Joining Kennedy for the discussion of the crisis, and how those on the front lines have been responding, were Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler, Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans, Jaime Angelini, Mental Health America’s Director of Consumer Services; Frank Florence, Executive Director of Enlightened Solutions; and Sandy McGarvey, a mental health counselor in Cape May.
“I believe that we need to respond to the mental health and addiction crisis with the same urgency that the U.S. finally used to address the HIV/AIDs crisis,” Kennedy continued.
Kennedy’s 10-point plan to revolutionize mental health and addiction care includes solutions to:
- Expand access to effective treatment options;
- Equip our first responders so they have the tools and resources they need to provide life-saving care;
- Reform our criminal justice system to divert people with nonviolent offenses into treatment;
- Invest in our schools, making sure that every child has access to counselors, nurses, and psychologists;
- Hold opioid manufacturers and insurers accountable.
Amy has made addressing mental wellness the cornerstone of her career. She serves as the Education Director of The Kennedy Forum, where she pursues partnerships and collaborations that emphasize evidence-based research and programming to facilitate policy change in the areas of education and mental health. Amy also serves on the board of Mental Health America, a leading national advocacy organization, and as an advisory board member of Interaxon, a mental health technology company.
The complete plan can be found online at amykennedyforcongress.com.2-13-20 Amy Kennedy Mental Health and Addiction Plan
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