We all need to be aware of mental health issues – Jewish Community Voice

Published by the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

COVID-19 has brought difficult changes to the way we live and feel, including altered routines, uncertainty about the future, financial worries, and new or increased emotional stress. Surveys have shown a major increase in the number of people reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia since the pandemic began. Some have turned to drugs and alcohol, erroneously thinking it will help them cope, when, in reality, use of substances can actually worsen the underlying problems.
Too many people are struggling without getting the critical support they need, as reflected in these troubling statistics:
– In 2020 alone, the U.S. had one death by suicide about every 11 minutes.
– For people aged 10-34, suicide is a leading cause of death.
– More than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, up 15 percent from the previous year.
Thankfully, the 988 Lifeline is now available to help thousands of people each day as they struggle to overcome distress. Recognizing the need to strengthen and transform crisis care in our country, the federal government has allocated unprecedented resources to scale up crisis centers, staffed with trained counselors, in support of 988 (which operates through what was formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). The 988 Lifeline is a national network of more than 200 local crisis centers that offer a direct connection to free, compassionate support for anyone experiencing any kind of mental health-related distress or thoughts of suicide. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. Early research has shown that callers are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful after speaking to a 988 Lifeline crisis counselor.
Given the climate we are living in, it is more important than ever to build a network of support for those experiencing mental health challenges. JFCS is proud to be a small part of that network. Our Faye Manger Counseling Department supports the mental health needs of South Jersey’s children, teens, individuals, and families. We offer individual counseling, support groups, and community outreach programs addressing a wide range of topics, including stress and anxiety, youth suicide, and addiction awareness and prevention. I feel privileged to lead our agency as it continues to evolve in response to our community’s ever-changing needs. One of the most positive recent developments is the appointment of Rebecca Rosenau as our director of Clinical Services.
Rebecca first came to JFCS as a graduate intern in 2006 and loved the agency so much that she never left. Eventually working her way up to director of 60+ Services, Rebecca is graced with a laser-focused vision to help make the world a brighter place. Through her work ethic, supportive nature, and opendoor policy, she has modelled exemplary leadership, bolstering her staff as they ushered in new services including Café Connection, LGBT Aging with Pride, Low Vision Support Group, and Cooking Companions. Rebecca brings a strong clinical background to her new role, as well as the ability to look at all of our agency’s offerings through a mental health lens. She now oversees all aspects of mental health counseling at JFCS— from ages 3 to 103. I have no doubt that new mental-health initiatives will flourish under Rebecca’s leadership, and I look forward to sharing those with our community in the months ahead.
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