Kovich Urges NJ to Rethink Mental Illness

Funding and Programs Will Help
But Perceptions Need to Change

Lynn KovichIn a May 11, 2012 opinion piece in the Daily Record, Lynn Kovich, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, New Jersey Department of Human Services, challenges us to rethink the myths around mental illness and its causes. She writes:

“Mental illness is mental illness, much like cancer is cancer. It’s diagnosable, treatable and most often, recovery is attainable.”

As a brief snapshot, in New Jersey, 1/5 of people experience mental illness at some point during her lives – a total of 1.6 million residents. And instead of being a danger to society, people living with mental illness are often the victims of crime.

Her department has invested significant resources in outpatient services, supportive housing, and integrated care plans and an additional $16 million for county based resources and treatment programs is proposed into the FY 2013 state budget.

But as Kovich concludes:

“No amount of state funds or policies will change people’s attitudes towards individuals with mental illness. As advocates and public servants, we must work harder to change the public’s perception of mental illness. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s start now.”

Click here to read the full piece.