We, and those like us, want to continue delivering vital treatment and other services to keep people out of overwhelmed Emergency Departments and social service systems today and in the aftermath.  I have great concerns that the frontline workers now running on adrenaline will crash when the crisis begins to recede.  Heroes overwhelmed by trauma and PTSD will struggle if substance use and behavioral health providers are unable to respond.  When most needed, we may be struggling for our own survival.

We do have one opportunity to fix this, but only if we act now. 

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies has joined with the National Council for Behavioral Health and more than 40 other organizations in urging Congress to include an emergency appropriation of $38.5 billion for behavioral health organizations in the next stimulus package. This infusion would ensure that substance use and mental health disorder treatment organizations in New Jersey remain viable to respond both to the immediate crisis and the anticipated aftermath. 

We are all in this together and all have a role to play.  Our 300-plus employees are doing their part, despite the risks and challenges involved.  We want to continue to be there to help in these times of great need, but we cannot do it alone. We need emergency funding from Congress, and we need it now.    

Tony Comerford is president and CEO of New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care