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Next Wave of Pandemic is Mental Health Crisis; Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Awards Jewish Family Service Grant for Outpatient Counseling Program

Mental health treatment is imperative for many. Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties is working to keep up with counseling requests.

Pictured from left: Jewish Family Service Chief Executive Officer Andrea Steinberg, Atlantic City Business Administrator Anthony Swan, Second Baptist Church Representative Ambrose Gray, JFS Senior Director Outpatient Services Naomi Jones, AC Police Department Captain Rudy Lushina, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director Sean Pattwell, and Hard Rock Director of Public Relations & Community Affairs Sharon Pearce participate in the ribbon cutting of the enhanced JFS Atlantic City offices. The agency provides an array of programs and services – Counseling, Family Therapy, Food Pantry and more at this office for Atlantic City residents. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

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The past two years have been challenging for everyone in their own way. In today’s environment, the demand for therapy has surged as healthcare workers have been traumatized from caring for COVID-19 patients, political disagreements have people on edge, and families and marriages are in greater distress.

Children out of school or learning virtually for extended periods of time have created obvious deficits in education with an unanticipated fallout in development and stressors to their mental health.

Mental health treatment is imperative for many and Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties is working in overdrive to keep up with the requests for counseling. There is a high demand for qualified therapists.


Despite providing 9,003 therapy sessions last year, JFS, along with providers nationwide, has lengthy wait lists. Needs are greater and the stakes are higher.

To address this, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) awarded JFS a $685,000 multi-year grant to support Outpatient Counseling services for Atlantic City residents.

The generous funds, which will be utilized over three years, will support mental health care programs for those in need.

“CRDA proudly supports the efforts of Jewish Family Service in addressing mental health in Atlantic City and surrounding areas,” said CRDA Executive Director Sean Pattwell. “The multi-year grant will fund much-needed health services, particularly in light of many unmet needs during the pandemic.”

In the initial year, JFS will partner with the distinguished Leaders in Training (LIT) program and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to serve youth as well as property employees who reside in Atlantic City and are seeking mental health assistance.

In the subsequent years, JFS will explore additional partnerships that will promote the health, well-being, and productivity of Atlantic City residents.

Additionally, CRDA funding will provide 163 Atlantic City children, teenagers, adults, families, and seniors with outpatient counseling.

“Mental health treatment is imperative for many individuals. Last year alone, JFS provided 98 Atlantic City residents with its Outpatient Counseling services.

The programs included youth interventions, functional family therapy, and case management services,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS Chief Executive Officer. “With the CRDA funding, coupled with the Hard Rock partnership, JFS will be able to continue to help residents experiencing mental health challenges.”

JFS has dozens of highly-qualified therapists and is expanding counseling hours and continuing tele-health sessions to keep pace with the demand. Currently, JFS provides in-person therapy in the Atlantic City, Margate and Cape May Court House office locations.

The pandemic has been a magnifying glass for vulnerabilities. According to a mental health index report, US Worker Edition, from Total Brain, during the final months of 2021, depression increased 87%, post-traumatic stress disorder increased 54%, and the risk of addiction in men increased 80% among employed Americans.

With the proper help, each day there’s hope that it will be better than the day before.

For more information on JFS programs and services, visit www.jfsatlantic.org or call 609.822.1108.

About Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) encourages strong families, thriving children, healthy adults, energized seniors, and vital communities.

With dozens of program areas, JFS specializes in counseling, mental health services, homeless programs, vocational services, adult and older adult services and also hosts an on-site food pantry.

JFS’ mission is to motivate and empower people to realize their potential and enhance their quality of life. In keeping with Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world), JFS provides services with integrity, compassion, respect, and professionalism regardless of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or background.

For more information or to keep up-to-date with events and programs, visit JFS at jfsatlantic.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

The only agency of its kind nationwide, the CRDA has used Atlantic City casino reinvestments as a catalyst for meaningful, positive improvement in the lives of New Jersey residents since 1984.

CRDA’s expanded responsibilities now include land use regulation, tourism marketing, and clean and safe initiatives.

In total, CRDA has invested nearly $2 billion in more than 400 projects statewide, of which $1.8 billion has been invested in Atlantic City, spurring business investments and expansions, and creating permanent jobs in the process.

For more information about CRDA and our projects, visit www.njcrda.com, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

For complete Atlantic City tourism information, visit www.atlanticcitynj.com, and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.