The CarePlus Foundation will hold its 19th Annual Courage Awards Gala on May 10, 2017 at the Venetian in Garfield, benefiting the clients and programs of CarePlus. This year’s list of honorees includes Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi for her voice and support of the advocacy efforts regarding the funding transition for the community mental health system.
The Gala celebrates those who tirelessly work on behalf of the mental health community. Proceeds fund educational scholarships, housing and medication assistance, substance abuse services, outpatient treatment and therapy for children and adults who are enrolled in CarePlus services, as well as advocacy and community education.
Assemblywoman Schepisi clearly demonstrated her support of the statewide advocacy efforts around the time of the Legislative Breakfast “Addressing OUR Community Mental Health Crisis” in October 2016, where providers warned that the proposed funding transition was going to be disastrous. During the event, various voices throughout the community were amplified by the collective concern for family members, friends, and neighbors living with mental illness and addiction.
“We have such a significant issue with mental health services and drug addiction. They’re tied together,” Schepisi said in a statement released by Assembly Republicans. “It’s something whereby we need to assure we have the adequate providers and services available for our constituents.”
Despite bipartisan support and emphasis on the importance of the community mental health system, authorities confirm that providers are being met with resistance from the state. With the firm decision to dissolve deficit-funding contracts, providers throughout New Jersey are being put in a situation where they will have to limit access and discontinue services for individuals with chronic mental health conditions.
“Bergen County has been leading this united effort to preserve our state’s safety net, and that is why we are highlighting this advocacy work at the Gala this year,” explained Caitlyn Yerves, Advocacy Specialist at CarePlus. “Not only has the community mental health system has been saving the state money, but more importantly – it has been saving lives, helping individuals and families reclaim their wellness so that they can by contributing members of society.”
The CarePlus Foundation asserts the importance of community fundraising to support family, friends, and neighbors that will be penalized by this funding transition. Those who will feel the greatest impact will be low- to middle-class working individuals and families on insurance plans that do not provide coverage for behavioral health conditions.
Registration for the Courage Awards includes a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, and a 50/50 raffle. Individual tickets are available at $175 each, with full tables of 10 offered for $1,500.