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Improving Mental Health

SRB Philanthropy Corp is Raising Awareness—and Funds—to Help Bolster the Mental Health Workforce

Today, awareness of mental health is at an all-time high. Stigma has faded as celebrities like Lady Gaga and Kristin Bell have opened up about mental health struggles, prompting people to take action when they need help. 

However, a shortage of professionals in the field is at an all-time high, their forces reduced by retirement, attrition and fewer people entering schools to study mental health. 

To help bolster the workforce, Dr. Steven Budoff of Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Solutions in Raritan founded the nonprofit SRB Philanthropy Corp to provide educational programs on current mental health and mental wellness issues and award scholarships for those in or entering the mental health field.

The scholarships are divided into two categories: open to anyone going into a mental health field, such as psychiatry, psychology or social work, and people who themselves have had mental health challenges in their lives and are also pursuing a career in the field of mental health.

“Insurance has gotten extremely expensive and working with insurance companies has gotten more complicated. Many professionals are leaving the field due to the complexities. Meanwhile, the need for mental health services has grown exponentially and the graduating rate of people going into the field is not keeping up,” says Deborah Schader, the director of business development for Psychiatric and Behavioral Health Solutions and director of the nonprofit. “If somebody needs to see a psychiatrist, they don’t have the luxury of waiting three months when it’s a serious issue.” 

In addition to raising money for the scholarships, the nonprofit holds educational events and collaborates with elected officials who emphasize mental health care to improve the certification process. They also are talking to community groups like Rotary Clubs and collaborating with other nonprofits. 

Events at local establishments, like Dulce Bakery & Cafe in Somerville, are planned, including networking meetings for mental health professionals, panel and speaker sessions, and meet-and-greets with political candidates and elected officials who include mental health in their platforms. 

The response has been tremendous. A recent psychiatric symposium designed to raise awareness attracted about 100 people.

“The need for mental health services is so high,” Schader says. “This nonprofit, driven by our principals who are psychiatrists, can really make a difference.”

Learn about upcoming events and donate to the scholarship fund at SRBPhilantropyCorp.org

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