Rutgers University is getting $4.2 million in federal funding over five years to create a regional center to enhance mental health services for adults and children.

Dr. Kenneth Gill, chairman of the Rutgers Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling, will be one of the leaders of the center.

"We are trying to improve the capacity of mental health providers and organizations to deliver evidence-based, state of the science practices, here in New Jersey," he said.

"We will provide the training, the educational services to help people who are currently working in the field to improve their skills. We will also provide assistance to their organizations in implementation."

Gill says the center will be a resource and go-to location for those working in mental health.

New Jersey will be part of Federal Region 2 for these behavioral health services. The region also comprises New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He says the effort will be an extension of things that Rutgers has already been doing in New Jersey.

"We have worked with the state on very similar work, but just not on this scale," he said.

"It is heartening to see that the federal government is interested in this because most people with mental illness are living lives of quiet desperation. People are not reaching out to them; they are isolated."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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