As part of their $5 million pledge to the Sandy recovery, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently donated a $735,780 grant to provide funding to cover gaps in mental health services for storm survivors.

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The Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) will receive the money to fund the projects to provide behavioral health recovery services.

"About six to 12 months after a major disaster like this, is when many of the mental health problems begin to really display themselves," said John Lumpkin, Senior Vice President and Director of the Health Care Group at RWJF.

The project will focus on three initiatives: monitoring and preparing for the future, mental health first aid, and outreach to the most vulnerable.

Lumpkin says the MHANJ will train neighbors and volunteers to detect warning signs, reach out and refer these storm survivors treatment sources. Officials believe that based on past storms and natural disasters, coping with financial and personal consequences from the storm may lead to continuing cases of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.

"Mental illness after these storms are one of the silent problems that tend to get overlooked," Lumpkin explained.

He believes this is a problem that we are going to see more of over the next few months.

"As we approach the first anniversary, people are going to have an opportunity to reflect, and that's when the depression may set in."

Learn more about the two organizations by checking out the RWJF and MHANJ websites.

More Good News

HomeFront

For over 20 years, HomeFront has been on a mission to end homelessness in Mercer County. In the past year, nearly 14,000 heads of households have come to HomeFront looking for help.

HomeFront provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent service-enriched housing to over 450 people a night, most of them children. In addition to housing, HomeFront also supplies families with emergency food, clothing, household goods, job placement and readiness skills. To learn more, visit them online.

Operation Provide Comfort

Operation Provide Comfort is a Colts Neck based organization that is closely united with Union Beach. Created after seeing the overwhelming devastation Union Beach experienced in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Operation Provide Comfort is comprised of many churches, clubs, business organization and individuals all working together to restore Union Beach.

The goal is to see Union Beach become the community it was before Superstorm Sandy. To learn more, visit their website.