money gift

HMH Foundation Receives $10M Grant for Adolescent Behavioral Health Services

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation has announced that the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, led by philanthropist Alex Cohen, has given a $10 million grant to Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) to address the adolescent behavioral health crisis by ensuring the community’s most at-risk youth will receive the comprehensive care they need. The gift will help support HMH’s Adolescent Behavioral Health Expansion Project, a $29 million multi-year investment aimed at increasing critical capacity through facility enhancements, expansion of innovative programs and services and prioritizing important additions in terms of providers and professionals specialized in behavioral health.

“HMH is New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive healthcare network, and we cannot continue delivering high-quality care for our patients without writing a new narrative for behavioral healthcare, especially for children and young adults,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, HMH. “This extraordinary gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation will help us transform our response to this adolescent mental health crisis. We are in the midst of an ambitious, state-of-the-art behavioral health expansion project at Hackensack Meridian Carrier Clinic, our flagship behavioral health hospital, which will increase access to much-needed behavioral health services and care for our youth. We thank our friends at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for their confidence and transformational support.”

Carrier Clinic, located on 100 acres in Belle Mead, is the largest private not-for-profit behavioral health facility in the state, specializing in inpatient psychiatric services for adolescents, adults and older adults, as well as inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder treatment services. For children and teenagers, Carrier Clinic offers comprehensive behavioral health programs and support services. Transforming adolescent and pediatric mental health and providing patient and family-centered care is part of Carrier Clinic’s core strategic mission. It is a leader in the treatment of adolescents ages 12 and older with psychiatric and co-occurring disorders through an inpatient acute hospital unit, the East Mountain Youth Lodge, an intensive residential treatment program and East Mountain School, a school for grades seven through 12.

“Every child should have access to safe, approachable care for their mental and physical wellbeing,” said Alex Cohen, president of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Hackensack Meridian Health as they enhance adolescent behavioral health services and help create a brighter, healthier future for our youth.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), one in six children between the ages of six to 17 experience a mental health disorder each year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents between ages 10 to 14. Children and teenagers are experiencing increased rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. Exacerbated by more than two years of isolation by COVID-19, the self-reported mental health of the nation is at its lowest point in 20 years. The alarming statistics prove that the pediatric behavioral health system is overburdened and does not have the appropriate resources available to meet the needs of children and adolescents.

With countless young lives impacted amidst increasing challenges compounded by unprecedented circumstances worldwide, visionary philanthropy becomes paramount.

“We are so incredibly thankful for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s transformational $10 million dollar gift,” said Joyce P. Hendricks, president and chief development officer, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation. “The significance of such a generous contribution and its urgency cannot be overstated as it lays the foundation for much-needed systematic changes within our state’s pediatric mental healthcare landscape.”

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s support, coupled with Hackensack Meridian Health’s capacity to engage in an initiative of this scale, has the power to make a significant impact on the mental health needs of future generations.

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