Acting Governor Codey Creates
Mental Health Task Force
Acting New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey recently signed an executive order creating a task force that will recommend ways to better help the mentally ill lead normal lives. “Nowhere is the need for help more prevalent than in the area of mental health,” said Codey. “If there is anything that my administration will stand for, it is compassion and standing up for those who may not be able to stand up for themselves.”
Prior to signing the executive order, Codey met with mental health advocates from across New Jersey, who joined him for the signing ceremony in the Governor's Outer Office. The executive order establishes an 11-member Mental Health Task Force that will examine issues ranging from housing to jobs to access to care for the mentally ill.
Under the order, the task force is required to convene a statewide Mental Health Summit, hold at least three public hearings and form advisory committees that may include non-members of the Task Force. The Task Force is charged with, among other things, the responsibility for reviewing and evaluating the current effectiveness of the mental health system in New Jersey; the availability, accessibility and gaps in the mental health services; mental health housing needs; employment, training and education needs; community support services; and ways to redirect more services to the community and to divert hospitalizations. The Task Force will also develop specific recommendations concerning increasing bed capacity at the State psychiatric facilities; a strategy that addresses housing and services for people with mental illness; increasing the community capacity for behavioral health services; and outpatient services and outreach to the criminal justice system. The task force will submit a final report to the Acting Governor and the Legislature by March 31, 2005.#