A Vision for A Better Tomorrow

New Jersey Leaders

Across New Jersey, behavioral health workers are coming together to have a voice on the job for themselves, their clients and the very future of the state.

Addressing the behavioral health crisis means supporting the behavioral health professionals because a strong and equitable community behavioral health system can empower people to recover, heal and thrive.  

Recently, a new report was released by AFSCME exposed how New Jersey’s top behavioral health providers have thrived as a group, while leaving the state’s consumers and their own employees behind. The report found that “large behavioral health providers in New Jersey have gained new financial stability in recent years, but frontline caregivers continue to struggle with low pay and poor working conditions,” reported Lilo Stainton in an in-depth piece for NJ Spotlight News.

We need to send a clear message that New Jerseyans support addressing the inequities that are at the root of the industry’s staffing crisis, giving these workers a protected voice and increasing funding transparency so we can build a behavioral health system to be proud of.

Sponsored by

To: New Jersey Leaders
From: [Your Name]

I support building a new behavioral health system that will help us meet the surging demand for services today and provides a framework for a first-class system for years to come.

Now, more than ever, we see how critically important these essential workers, and the services they provide, are to our state. But the system, already overwhelmed, is unprepared for the additional need to provide health care providers the care they need after being faced with so much death and tragedy.

New Jersey's behavioral health future must include:
• Fully implementing the new labor peace legislation that will ensure
workers who want to form a union can do so without fear of harassment
and intimidation.
• Providing ready access to rapid COVID tests, supply adequate personal
protective equipment and enact policies to keep the workforce as safe
as possible.
• Creating a starting rate of $18/hour for qualified provider positions to
bridge the gap between low-paying entry level work and student debt-
filled social work.
• Raising standards and establishing a career path for recruitment and
retention to lower staff turnover and reduce the crippling caseloads that
plague the state, negatively impact the quality of care provided and
incur unnecessary cost.
• Appropriate oversight and transparency to make sure state resources
are only allocated to these critical issues.

The reality is that you cannot solve the behavioral health crisis in New Jersey and provide better care for consumers and clients without giving the front-line workers who deliver those services a voice in how to accomplish it​.

This vision is achievable and will deliver a stronger and more resilient social services network in the Garden State.