Through the years, the Care Management Organizations (CMO) in NJ have recognized the power of advocating either on behalf of our organizations and the families we serve. This has led to the development of an Advocacy Committee within our agency. Much of what happens in Trenton at the State House impacts our work, from receiving funding as part of the governor’s annual budget allocation, to individual pieces of legislation that impact our service delivery. Our local legislators write and pass legislation on many issues from what mental health services are covered by insurance to how youth are screened for suicidal thoughts and depression in schools and doctor’s offices. Therefore, getting to know our local legislators and having them understand the agency’s priorities are very important. In the past we have reached out to them in support of programs like school-based youth services and continuing to allow non-legal advocates at school meetings.
To further our collaboration, and emphasize the growing concern over teen suicide prevention, Tri County CMO, as part of NJCMO (https://njcmo.org), partnered with three other CMOs to hold a legislator breakfast on March 24th to inform the legislators in attendance about the increasing number of youth with mental health challenges and suicidal ideation and attempts. At this event, Maureen Brogan, Statewide Program Manager, Traumatic Loss Coalition, spoke about her work in New Jersey related to suicide prevention and postvention. Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-D25) then spoke about legislation she is sponsoring requiring annual suicide prevention training for mental health practitioners (see photo). There was also a parent of one of the CMO youth who spoke about her journey through the NJ Children’s System of Care. Tri County CMO will strive to develop and maintain the relationship with our legislators and continue to update the community on our efforts.
Our state legislators are public servants and are in their positions to serve their constituents’ interests. In order for legislators to be the voice of the residents and businesses in their communities, they must hear from you about interests or concerns you may have as well as feedback on proposed legislation that impacts your community or the state at large. There are several ways to contact your legislators. Via the link below you can access individual contact information for any of the state legislators. They are listed by both name and district. In addition, many of the legislators have social media sites that you can connect to in order to get regular updates.