UNION, N.J., June 22, 2022 – Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services, formerly Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services, northern New Jersey’s leading mental health services organization, will deliver critical school-based mental health care to children and families in Somerset County and Union County schools.
These services are supported through federal funding for Outpatient Counseling Services in Union County, and funding from Somerset County for school-based services. Bridgeway will also provide training and support to school personnel.
Seven out of 10 public schools reported increases in children seeking mental health services since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the Institute of Education Sciences. The survey also noted that three-fourths of school faculty and staff have concerns about depression, anxiety, and trauma in students since the start of the pandemic, yet only about half said they could provide needed services.
“The Bridgeway services will provide clinically-based crisis response to students, their families and school professionals, which will be delivered in-person and by telehealth modalities,” said Cory Storch, president and CEO, Bridgeway. “In partnership with the Somerset and Union School districts, our goal is to eliminate barriers to behavioral health and substance use services for families. We want to intervene as early as possible so crises are averted, and ER and inpatient services are avoided.”
For the past five years, the age-appropriate living rooms at Bridgeway’s Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services (PESS) have been available for residents in Somerset County who are approaching or experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis. The PESS goal is to relieve an individual’s immediate distress and identify community resources for longer-term care. The resulting benefit has proven to be fewer visits to local emergency rooms. Early intervention
Bridgeway’s PESS staff will now partner with Somerset County schools to ensure prompt psychiatric assessment, crisis intervention and referral services 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Bridgeway’s Community Mental Health Clinic staff based in Union County will deliver services to Union County schools.
“Many students and family members who present with symptoms in schools are overwhelmed, frightened, in pain, confused and afraid to ask for help. Bridgeway’s person-first and recovery-oriented approach will enhance engagement, and encourage people to embrace behavioral health services,” Storch added.
About Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services
Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services helps people recover from conditions related to mental illness, co-occurring physical health challenges, and substance use. Bridgeway delivers individualized around-the-clock crisis intervention, outpatient services, and whole-person mental health care, providing access to physical health care services. Bridgeway impacts people’s lives in our communities by creating real opportunities for improvements in the social determinants of health, with dignity and compassion. www.bridgewaybhs.org.