Responding to an uptick in the number of individuals facing anxiety and depression as the COVID-19 crisis continues, a charity run by a former governor is putting out close to $100,000 to help individuals get in front of the services they may need.

During a Zoom press conference Thursday afternoon, state Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, announced a "significant buy" from The Codey Fund for Mental Health that will launch a public service announcement across a variety of media platforms, to inform individuals of the NJ 2-1-1 system for those in need of resources related to mental health and other issues.

"If there are New Jerseyans that don't know about it, hopefully we'll find them, and get them help," Codey said.

The PSA is expected to start running in the spring.

Codey and his wife Mary Jo established the fund in 2012. Codey gained national attention in the past for working undercover to expose corruption and abuse in mental health facilities. Mary Jo Codey experienced postpartum depression after the birth of their first son.

NJ 2-1-1, which can be reached by dialing those three numbers, provided resource assistance for more than 1 million people in pandemic-heavy 2020.

"We have seen that people are more isolated, people are more fearful, and the need for mental health resources is greater than ever," said NJ 2-1-1 Executive Director Melissa Acree. "Our team is ready to support the needs with live assistance."

Acree said NJ 2-1-1 has a connection with 207 mental health care providers throughout the Garden State, representing 790 services. Within them, there are specific options for youth and senior citizens.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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