January 23, 2023
The New Jersey Department of Health (DHS) has hosted two 988 Mobile Crisis Public Listening Sessions during which New Jerseyans were able to offer verbal testimony on new 988 mobile crisis response teams.
DHS and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) are working to create these new teams that will respond to suicidal, mental health and substance use crisis situations across the state. Funding for mobile crisis response teams totaling $16 million was made available in the SFY2023 budget.
NJAMHAA Senior Health Policy Analyst Mary Abrams provided oral testimony during the January 19th session, both welcoming the 988 Mobile Crisis Teams for the relief they will provide and highlighting areas of focus for the efforts going forward. Abrams stated, "Once the adult mobile crisis teams and the planned crisis stabilization centers are integrated in the existing service array, they will serve as a great complement to New Jersey's Psychiatric Emergency Support Services (Screening Centers), which have uniquely and superbly served our citizens for decades."
Additional focus was placed on the staffing of mobile teams. As Abrams stated in her testimony, "The Managing Entity RFP [Request for Proposals] says that teams will include a Bachelor's level mental health professional and a trained peer counselor, supervised remotely by a licensed mental health clinician." She continued, "NJAMHAA expects that the RFP for mobile crisis teams and subsequent regulations will be more specific in outlining the qualifications of team members and recommends that they require the Bachelor's degree to be in a mental health related field and that the mental health professional have a minimum of one-year experience within a community-based behavioral health program, though two years of experience and, ideally, one year in crisis services would be preferable."
Click here to access the full testimony.