Next Wave of Pandemic is Mental Health Crisis: Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Awards JFS Grant for Outpatient Counseling Program

Posted on June 06, 2022

The past two years have been challenging for everyone in their own way. In today’s environment, the demand for therapy has surged as healthcare workers have been traumatized from caring for COVID-19 patients, political disagreements have people on edge, and families and marriages are in greater distress. Children out of school or learning virtually for extended periods of time has created obvious deficits in education with an unanticipated fallout in development and stressors to their mental health. More people of color are seeking support – especially as racial injustice remains at the forefront. Burnout and compassion fatigue is ever present.

Mental health treatment is imperative for many and Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties is working in overdrive to keep up with the requests for counseling. There is a high demand for qualified therapists. Despite providing 9,003 therapy sessions last year, JFS, along with providers nationwide, have lengthy wait lists. Needs are greater and the stakes are higher.

To address this, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) awarded JFS a $685,000 multi-year grant to support Outpatient Counseling services for Atlantic City residents. The generous funds, which will be utilized over three years, will support mental health care programs for those in need.

“CRDA proudly supports the efforts of Jewish Family Service in addressing mental health in Atlantic City and surrounding areas,” said CRDA Executive Director Sean Pattwell. “The multi-year grant will fund much-needed health services, particularly in light of many unmet needs during the pandemic.”

In the initial year, JFS will partner with the distinguished Leaders in Training (LIT) program and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to serve youth as well as property employees who reside in Atlantic City and are seeking mental health assistance. In the subsequent years, JFS will explore additional partnerships that will promote the health, well-being and productivity of Atlantic City residents. Additionally, CRDA funding will provide 163 Atlantic City children, teenagers, adults, families and seniors with outpatient counseling.

“Mental health treatment is imperative for many individuals. Last year alone, JFS provided 98 Atlantic City residents with its Outpatient Counseling services. The programs included youth interventions, functional family therapy and case management services,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS Chief Executive Officer. “With the CRDA funding, coupled with the Hard Rock partnership, JFS will be able to continue to help residents experiencing mental health challenges.”

JFS has dozens of highly-qualified therapists and is expanding counseling hours and continuing tele-health sessions to keep pace with the demand. Currently, JFS provides in-person therapy in the Atlantic City, Margate and Cape May Court House office locations.


Next Wave of Pandemic is Mental Health Crisis

CRDA Awards JFS Grant for Outpatient Counseling Program – Page 2

The pandemic has been a magnifying glass for vulnerabilities. According to a mental health index report, US Worker Edition, from Total Brain, during the final months of 2021, depression increased 87%, post-traumatic stress disorder increased 54%, and the risk of addiction in men increased 80% among employed Americans. These are staggering statistics and further emphasize the need for counseling for many individuals and families.

With the proper help, each day there’s hope that it will be better than the day before. For more information on JFS programs and services, visit or call 609.822.1108.

Photograph Attached

(Left to right): Jewish Family Service Chief Executive Officer Andrea Steinberg, Atlantic City Business Administrator Anthony Swan, Second Baptist Church Representative Ambrose Gray, JFS Senior Director Outpatient Services Naomi Jones, AC Police Department Captain Rudy Lushina, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director Sean Pattwell, and Hard Rock Director of Public Relations & Community Affairs Sharon Pearce participate in the ribbon cutting of the enhanced JFS Atlantic City offices. The agency provides an array of programs and services – Counseling, Family Therapy, Food Pantry and more at this office for Atlantic City residents. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)