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Mental Health

People in New Jersey are Lacking for Mental Health Support Options

— February 16, 2024

Those with mental health and addictions struggles in NJ are experiencing long wait times for treatment and a lack of resources to get help.

There is currently tremendous demand for mental health services in places like New Jersey and in the rest of the United States. While some of the stigma around mental health issues has been removed and more and more people are willing to talk about their struggles and ask for help, there remains a glaring problem – resources are lacking. It’s difficult to get an appointment to be seen for mental health concerns, and that’s a problem that may continue to get worse before it gets better.

This lacking support for people in need of mental health support is not a good thing, to be sure. What is a good sign, however, is that so many more people are now willing to reach out and acknowledge that they need help. That’s not something that was happening so regularly even a short time ago, so there are signs of progress. As more and more people understand that they might need mental health help, and aren’t afraid to ask for that help, society as a whole can benefit.

With that said, the system is going to have to catch up with the demand at some point in time. Right now, the long wait times for appointments – which can easily stretch into multiple weeks – aren’t a component that should exist in a functional system. Many people need mental health care promptly, and if it isn’t available quickly, the situation can get much worse in the meantime.

People in New Jersey are Lacking for Mental Health Support Options
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Simply put, there aren’t enough people available with the qualifications needed to give the care that is required by the public as a whole. Making the problem worse is the fact that many of the practitioners that are qualified and working in this sector are choosing to go into private practice as a way to make more money and have more control over their working conditions; thus, community mental health resources are lacking. That allows them to help some people, but many individuals are priced out of their services in this model and are left to struggle to get appointments with the reduced number of providers in the public system. Working with an organization like N.J. Mental Health Cares can help people get the information and referrals they need, but long waits can still exist.

The good news in all of this is that there hasn’t actually been a decline in how many providers are available for patients to use. In fact, it’s likely that the number of mental health providers is increasing, if only gradually. Rather than being a result of a decline in supply, it’s more an issue of increasing demand, so the rate of growth in the mental health profession needs to pick up to balance out the market. Hopefully, that will be able to happen in the coming years with so much focus on mental health, and a larger percentage of people who need care will be able to get it in a timely manner.


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