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New Jersey residents may lack access to mental health care

When people have a pressing health condition, they're probably inclined to visit a medical professional. Just as individuals rely on physicians for a physical illness, people with a mental illness rely on having access to a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist to maintain -- or regain -- health.

According to a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Jersey residents who have a mental illness may have a tough time receiving care. Based on data gathered by the organization, counties within the state have 826 residents per mental health provider. This figure is significantly higher than the national average of 753 people per provider.

Observers note that overcrowding for care can seriously affect the quality of life for those living with a mental condition. If a person has to wait an extended period of time for a regular office visit, the situation could escalate into a psychiatric emergency. To compound the problem, reports indicate that there's also a shortage of space in psychiatric hospitals for new patients.

In this case, the primary issue facing individuals living with a mental condition is access to resources. Beyond health care, Social Security disability benefits might also serve as an important resource. For those who are unable to maintain regular employment as the result of a medical condition, SSDI can provide financial support in a time of need.

The reality is that gaining access to either of these critical resources can be complex. Ultimately, the hope is that SSD benefits ease some financial pressures associated with a debilitating mental condition in order to allow individuals to focus on becoming healthy.

Source: NewsWorks.org, "Number of N.J. mental health providers below national average," Maiken Scott, May 6, 2014

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