Gun Violence Reduction Initiatives
The Governor, through Executive Order Number 130 has created of a Mental Health and Community Safety Working Group to serve as an inter-agency, multidisciplinary
working group focused on decreasing violence, promoting safer and healthier communities, and highlighting the importance of de-stigmatizing mental illness, while encouraging early intervention. The Governor had created the New Jersey SAFE Task Force on Gun Protection, Addiction, Mental Health and Families, and Education Safety (“NJ SAFE Task Force”) in January to conduct a comprehensive, balanced, and well-informed review of the root causes of mass violence. In its April 10, 2013 report, the NJ SAFE Task Force recommended the creation of a standing interagency working group to consider the many long-term issues raised by their study. The Working Group will consist of the following cabinet members: the Commissioners of the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services; the Attorney General; and the following non-cabinet members: the Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission and the Chairman of the State Parole Board. Among other things, the working group will 1) develop strategies with respect to prevention and intervention, including, but not limited to, educating youth, parents, and teachers about the warning signs of violence and the negative consequences felt by teens and young people who are ostracized, isolated, and experience despair; 2) develop a public information campaign utilizing all forms of media, communications, and technology to better inform New Jersey residents about the broad range of programs and services available in the community as well as encourage individuals to seek help and no longer suffer under the shadow of the stigma of mental health illness; and 3) focus on strategies to facilitate workforce expansion in, among other professions, licensed clinical social workers, nursing, and psychiatry, while also encouraging such professionals in those and similar disciplines to work in the public or community health systems.