TO PROVIDE A comprehensive compendium of services for families dealing with mental health challenges, this fall the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and GMW ABLE published “A Mental Health Resource Guide.”
Developed in partnership with Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ (JFS) and underwritten by the Eric Eliezer Levenson Foundation for Hope, the guide aims to help families navigate the often confusing mental health system and increase access to appropriate services.
The guide was initiated by Eta Krasna Levenson, a member and past chair of the GMW ABLE committee — which supports individuals and families with disabilities — and a JFS board member. She is also cofounder of the foundation named in memory of her son, who took his life in 2016 at the age of 28, after suffering from mental health challenges for many years.
Referring to the difficulties in seeking services for her son, Levenson said, “The stigma of mental illness prevented us from being able to ask for help. If there had been a guide like this … it would have made the experience a lot less stressful.”
JFS CEO Dr. Diane Squadron said mental health issues often lead those affected to feel “misunderstood and unaccepted and to suffer in silence.” Compiling the guide is part of her agency’s efforts to ensure that “people suffering from mental illness do not feel alone, receive the treatment they need without stigma, and that we as a community are educated on how to respond with kindness, understanding, and support.”
Rebecca Wanatick, manager of community inclusion and program services at GMW ABLE, said the federation has “expanded its efforts to include mental health awareness initiatives, in response to the direct needs expressed by clergy, educators, and parents in the community.”
The guide can be downloaded from greatermetrowestable.org or mailed to anyone who requests it; contact Wanatick at email@example.com.