MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ – Middlesex County partnered with Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) to host an event on Thursday, February 9, for school mental health professionals on the crisis of student mental health in the post-pandemic environment. The event was designed to share how to use multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to build school mental health programming, the importance of building trauma informed schools, and how schools can manage anxiety and high stress.
The event was attended by mental health professionals including Middlesex County school district superintendents, directors of student services, directors of school counseling, and others. Among the speakers at the event were Ronald G. Rios, Director of the Board of County Commissioners; Dr. Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers University; Kyle Anderson, County Superintendent; Dr. Jennifer Foster, Director of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Programs, GSAPP; Dr. Arpana Inman, Dean of GSAPP; Dr. Erum Nadeem, Associate Professor, GSAPP; and Dr. Kelly Moore, Director of the Center for Psychological Services, GSAPP. A panel with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) School & Community Programs professional staff concluded the event.
“We are so fortunate to have a leading university like Rutgers located right here in Middlesex County – and even more so that they are willing to collaborate with us on events like this,” said County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios. “Improving students’ mental health is not a challenge we will overcome in just one day – it is a battle we must fight every day. But the outcome… students who are happier, more resilient, and better prepared to cope with trauma, pressure, and stress is one that will benefit not only those students and their families, but our community as a whole. And I believe that together, we can make that outcome a reality.”
“As a Board, we have made a larger commitment to mental health that includes, but extends beyond, this event. Events like this give us the opportunity to collaborate with a world-class partner to offer support and resources to those within the community helping our students navigate mental health issues.” said County Commissioner Chanelle Scott McCullum.
“The Middlesex County Superintendent’s Office recognizes the importance of supporting the mental health of our students. Having the ability to remediate the current mental health crisis is paramount. However, we cannot do it alone. Developing partnerships with universities like Rutgers will help to create support systems that are effective and sustainable,” said Middlesex County Superintendent Kyle Anderson.
“GSAPP takes great pride in partnering with the local communities with which we engage and serve. We are thrilled to work with Middlesex County on the topic of youth mental health, and we view this event as the beginning of a continuous conversation around this critical issue,” said Dr. Arpana Inman, Dean of GSAPP.
"It is energizing and encouraging to see everyone come together in support of youth mental health. As a community, we are stronger together, and we must use this strength to build comprehensive and sustainable mental health systems in our public schools,” said Dr. Jennifer Foster, Director of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Programs, GSAPP
Middlesex County is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, three universities, 19 park systems, and world-class healthcare and research facilities making it one of the nation’s most dynamic regions and a leader in technology, transportation, the arts, and food innovation. As one of the most diverse populations in the country, Middlesex County is home to over 860,000 residents living throughout 25 municipalities. The County's award-winning Middlesex County Magnet Schools system and two-year Middlesex College uphold its position as #1 in the state for best schools, offering secondary and postsecondary education and workforce development programs that create a unique ecosystem in which opportunities abound. Conveniently located between New York and Philadelphia, Middlesex County is a leading destination for businesses and residents alike to live, work, and play – and has been since the 17th century. For more information, visit middlesexcountynj.gov and find us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766, the university is the eighth-oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 69,000 students and 23,600 faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers University-Newark, Rutgers University-Camden, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. For more about the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, visit https://gsapp.rutgers.edu.