Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services (BRS) is applying for grant funding to enable community mental health centers (CMHCs) to support and restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This project, named the BRS Clinical Support and Restoration services (BCSRS), will strengthen the BRS CMHC services in Hudson, Union and Somerset Counties to effectively address the needs of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbance (SED), and SMI or SED and substance use disorders known as co-occurring disorder (COD). BRS intends to serve 345 unduplicated individuals in the first year and a total of at least 690 individuals over the lifetime of the project aiding those who have been negatively impacted or underserved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From August 2020 to February 2021, 41% of NJ adults reported recent symptoms of anxiety or depression, 11.7% reported an unmet MH care need and 20% reported an unmet need for counseling/therapy. In NJ, a greater proportion of persons presented at emergency departments (ED’s) with a MH and/or substance use disorder since the onset of COVID-19. Children under 18 had the largest post COVID % increase, three times the pre COVID rate, in ED behavioral health (BH) related visits, and adolescents had a 31% increase in visits. Total ED visits were largest among adults aged 18–29 years. Compounding this increase in ED use for BH symptoms is the 30+ day average wait time for an initial outpatient appointment in all three counties of focus due to insufficient numbers of providers and staff shortages. The goals of this project are to increase access to BH services, expand or restore access to OP services, expand crisis services and attach OP therapy to crisis services, increase the quality of care by expanding staff competency in providing evidence-based care, and address the mental health (MH) needs of BRS CMHC staff. With this CMHC grant funding, BRS will build on our 50+ years serving these communities by:
• Implementing open central access for crisis and OP services for all BCSRS including two walk-in immediate MH care sites in Hudson and Somerset Counties.
• Restoring BRS Telehealth Outpatient COVID Support Counseling Services and enhancing OP telehealth to serve all three counties.
• Expanding Early Intervention Support Services (EISS) and including outpatient services.
• Providing on-site OP services for all three counties.
• Providing children’s OP services and school liaison to address BH issues in Somerset County.
• Supporting trauma informed screening and assessment services including Zero Suicide screening and intervention.
• Expanding Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services 24/7 mobile emergency outreach and screening in Somerset County.
• Expanding recovery-oriented services through peer support and case management.
• Addressing the MH needs of all CMHC staff, and providing staff training and development.