PRINCETON, New Jersey — The Quality Institute’s Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) has awarded a total of $127,500 in grants to 10 New Jersey communities to support local initiatives supporting community mental health. The grants are in partnership with the League of Municipalities and funded by Walmart.
The Quality Institute recognizes the need for mental health support and is grateful to Walmart for funding these local initiatives.
“Walmart is proud to support communities throughout New Jersey by helping address local mental health needs,” said Jennifer Hoehn, Walmart’s director of public affairs. “Working with the Quality Institute and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities on their Mayors Wellness Campaign, we’re honored to back an array of programs focused on stigma reduction, mindfulness, suicide prevention, and Mental Health First Aid training.”
The MWC grants will be awarded to Bernardsville, the Borough of Rutherford, Camden City, the City of Passaic, the City of Paterson, the City of Plainfield, Hillsborough Township, South Brunswick Township, the Township of Stafford, and Woodbridge Township.
The grants will fund activities such as school-based community healing programs; education and stigma-reduction campaigns; meditation, mindfulness and yoga classes targeted to underserved populations; Mental Health First Aid training; and awareness campaigns.
“Each application represents a thoughtful plan to improve the mental well-being of community members. The initiatives are designed to make a tangible difference in the lives of residents,” said Julie DeSimone, LSW, Director of Community Health.
Marginalized populations are at the forefront of these initiatives. By focusing on these often-neglected communities, municipalities aim to reduce disparities in mental health care.
The Quality Institute received 38 applications totaling over $700,000 in requests for the grants, an overwhelming response to the application announcement in June.
“The response was a resounding testament to the pressing need for mental health support in our communities,” DeSimone said. “We wish funding was available for all the great applications we received from mayors. The commitment and creativity demonstrated in these applications underscore the efforts towns are making toward addressing mental health in their communities.”
The applications were reviewed by a committee that included DeSimone; Katie Bisaha, Community and Policy Associate from the Quality Institute; John Pepen, M.D., Overlook Regional Medical Center; and Setu Patel, Pharm D., and Pavy Unvala, RPh., Market Health and Wellness Directors from Walmart.
The awarded grants will focus on the following projects:
- Bernardsville – Education and stigma reduction programming with a focus on the Latino and youth populations.
- Borough of Rutherford – Mental Health First Aid trainings and a mental health awareness campaign.
- Camden City – School-based community healing circles program.
- City of Passaic – Mental Health First Aid trainings, community education and stigma reduction campaign.
- City of Paterson – Community based Mental Health Ambassador program.
- City of Plainfield – Community education and stigma reduction campaign.
- Hillsborough Township – Meditation mindfulness, and yoga classes for underserved populations.
- South Brunswick Township – Expanded library programming to increase mental health education and awareness of resources.
- Township of Stafford – Suicide prevention training and meditation mindfulness, and yoga classes for older adults.
- Woodbridge Township – Mental health education and yoga for low-income older adults.
Mayors throughout New Jersey are eager to use the funds to make an impact in their communities. Timothy McDonough, Mayor of Hope and Past President of the League of Municipalities, has been instrumental in efforts to support community mental health. “This opportunity highlights the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ dedication to supporting municipalities in their efforts to provide mental health supports for our communities. I also would like to thank Walmart for ensuring that mental well-being remains a top priority in our state,” said McDonough. “We are determined to make a lasting impact on the lives of our residents.”