A Path Forward

Amid an unprecedented mental health crisis

Provide Hope and Help

A Path Forward

Amid an unprecedented mental health crisis

Provide Hope and Help

Our Community’s Response
to a Mental Health Crisis

In addition to sustaining our core services, we’ve launched new mental health and wellness outreach and education programs and expanded our system’s capacity to provide mental health services. These services have proven successful in addressing our community’s needs, but more still needs to be done.

“We are facing a critical shortage of mental health professionals, which continues to grow, making it hard for young people to get the care they need, ” says Joan Grayson Cohen, Executive Director of JCS. “This has a serious impact on their mental well-being and their lives, affecting their ability to be successful in school, make friends, or experience the joys of childhood, and places them at high risk for serious, lifelong mental health conditions such as depression, suicidality, anxiety and substance abuse.”

Did You Know?

55% of Jewish young adults experienced emotional or mental difficulties adversely affecting their daily lives.
Building Resilient Jewish Communities: Baltimore Key Findings (August 2020)
4 out of 10 teens feel persistently ‘sad or hopeless,’ and 1 out of 5 have contemplated suicide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1 in 5 children have a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder, but only 20% receive care from a mental health provider. 
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine

“I will stay strong and know it is just temporary,” says one Park School 10th grader after a Jewish Community Services Prevention program, and another student adds, “It made me think of past experiences and showed me that I have been resilient in the past and can be in the future.”

Young woman looking out window

Our Response

Our Jewish traditions teach us that if we see something broken, then it is our scared obligation to repair it. Now more than ever we cannot turn a blind eye to the need for (repair). With our agencies, we have:

  • Created a new community mental health consultation services that provides assessments, consultations, crisis intervention and short-term direct services supporting year-round children’s programs in our system. This also includes ongoing training for staff and parents around mental health and wellness issues.

  • Expanded the camp care team from one professional to three. Our professionals focused on supporting individual campers and staff facing mental health challenges. The team also provided professional development for counselors and shared information and resources with families.

  • Supported mental health at local college Hillels by offering professional development and creating opportunities for students to learn about the challenges, how to cope and where to go for resources.

  • Addressed staffing shortages for mental health professionals by increasing starting salaries to attract a larger pool of candidates and hiring new Licensed Master Social Workers who are making a multi-year commitment to the system.

  • Provided trauma-informed therapy for CHANA clients, along with safety planning and legal advocacy. CHANA experienced a 92% increase in domestic violence calls last year, responding to an influx of new clients while simultaneously addressing the intensifying needs of existing clients.

  • Offered more prevention and wellness programming for children, teens, and young adults, including a new on-demand interactive platform – Wellness My Way – that has the feel of a multi-level video game to keep participants engaged in lessons about mental and behavioral health.
Pensive teenage girl looking off into distance

What Can a Revolutionary Approach to Wellness Look Like?

Recognizing the need for a strategic and holistic approach to the mental health crisis, we’ve created a local Resiliency Roundtable that is working to normalize and prioritize mental health care. The Roundtable provides outreach, community education, and training, such as new in-person and virtual opportunities for young adults to share their stories and strategies for managing their mental health. The Roundtable serves as a centralized community resource for mental health and wellness information and a vehicle for professionals to collaborate and learn from one another.

With your help, together we can change the trajectory of a child’s, teen’s or young adult’s life.

With your help, together we can change the trajectory of a child’s, teen’s or young adult’s life.

We are challenged daily to address our community’s mental health and wellness needs.  From counseling to therapy services, from support groups to crisis intervention for victims of abuse, from parenting resources to school-based behavioral health programs and more. We need significant additional funds to sustain and grow mental health programs to meet the increased mental health needs of our children, teens and young adults.

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