Jacob Farbman will be honored at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s 22nd Evening of Excellence.
Jacob (Jake) Farbman, Ed.D., APR, is being recognized for creating and directing initiatives focused on the mental health and wellness of all students, faculty and staff of New Jersey’s community colleges. Additionally, he is being recognized for spearheading The Every Mind Project: Addressing the Mental Health of Community College Students, in his role as Executive Director of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ (NJCCC’s) Center for Student Success.
Dr. Farbman, in his prior role as Director of Communications for the NJCCC, worked to help establish the NJCCC’s Center for Student Success in 2012; one of the first states in the country to have such a center. The Center’s goal is to leverage external partnerships, state government and private foundations to support all community colleges at the same time. Dr. Farbman became its Executive Director in 2018.
The Every Mind Project, launched in the Fall of 2021, is creating a statewide, holistic approach to supporting Community Colleges in meeting the mental health needs of students. Major components of the project include evidence-based Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Question Persuade Refer (QPR, suicide prevention) training for faculty, staff and students; instructor training for mental health champions in MHFA and QPR to create long-term, sustainable awareness and education programs on campus. Additionally, other initiatives being implemented are: mental health safety trainings and professional development for Community College counselors; the creation of mental health and basic needs resource folders with talking points, and resources for faculty and staff to have at their fingertips; campus-based events to reduce stigma and increase awareness of services available to students; regular statewide convenings of Community College counselors, social workers and student support specialist; creating and strengthening partnerships among community colleges and community mental health providers to ensure students have access to services when they are in need.
Dr. Farbman stated, “It is no secret that the pandemic affected students of all ages and income brackets. Community college students were among the most highly affected. Compounding the situation is the fact that community college students represent some of the most underserved and disadvantaged populations.” Within the last two years in meetings and conversations he kept hearing community college presidents repeat the same concern, ‘the mental health of the student population.’ He heard the concerns and embarked on a solution.
Dr. Farbman initiated partnerships with the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ). Funding was secured from the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund and the New Jersey Department of Health’s U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant to bring The Every Mind Project to New Jersey community colleges.
Through The Every Mind Project, the MHANJ provided both QPR and MHFA training to cohorts from community colleges across the state, issuing more than 900 certifications since the program began in January 2022. It also identified two faculty members or staff from each participating school to become instructors, thereby imbedding these two trainings into the schools. Dr. Farbman explained, “Now, with technical assistance, mentoring and support, we can provide this valuable mental health training to additional faculty as well as students. This program will be self-sustaining.”
“The tenacity of Dr. Farbman has resulted in great strides toward safeguarding the mental health of county college students across our state. The mental health initiatives he has spearheaded reach students at a critical time in their lives,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, President, and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.
Recently, the NJCCC released VISION 2028: A Framework for the Future of New Jersey’s Community Colleges, which highlights mental health and basic needs for students including housing, food, childcare, transportation and other essentials. To do this, Dr. Farbman works with MHANJ and a host of other partners. He excitedly relates that, “It’s been a synergistic collaborative of all these partners to meet these basic needs because they all impact mental health. It’s critically important that we look at this holistically as a system because these needs are all interconnected.”
Dr. Farbman’s heartfelt commitment to community college students is borne from his own experience as a community college student. He began his education at Salem Community College, going on to earn his bachelor’s master’s and Doctorate degrees from Rowan University.
NJCCC President Dr. Aaron Fichtner’s admiration is evident as he shares, “Jacob Farbman, a proud community college graduate, has dedicated his career to helping the state’s community colleges to expand economic and educational opportunities for our state’s residents. Through the building of an innovative partnership with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Dr. Farbman has strengthened the capacity of community college leaders, faculty, staff, and student leaders to address and respond to the critical mental health needs of students in a time of uncertainty and great need. This work has helped countless community college students to stay enrolled in college and to pursue and achieve their career and life goals.”
About the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s Evening of Excellence
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is grateful to its corporate sponsors of the 22nd Evening of Excellence, including: Trinitas Regional Medical Center and RWJBarnabas Health at the Platinum Level; Investors Bank, a Division of Citizens Bank, N.A., and MinuteClinic, located in select CVS Pharmacy stores, at the Gold Level; Hackensack Meridian Carrier Clinic, Janssen Neuroscience Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, United Healthcare, Janine and Dan Kane and Gia and Patrick O’Keefe at the Silver Level; and Delta Dental, Lexpath, Mike WorldWide and Steven E. Geltzeiler at the Bronze Level.
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to strive for children and adults to achieve victory over mental illness and substance use disorders through advocacy, education, training and services. Its state headquarters is in Union County; it has additional locations in Atlantic, Hudson and Ocean Counties, and affiliates in Essex, Monmouth, Morris, and Passaic Counties. For more information visit https://www.mhanj.org/.
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s state headquarters is in Union County; it has additional locations in Atlantic, Hudson and Ocean Counties, and affiliates in Essex, Monmouth, Morris, and Passaic Counties.
Please click here to purchase a ticket to the MHANJ’s 22nd Evening of Excellence, explore sponsorship or place a congratulatory ad in the electronic ad journal.
Click here to visit our website for more information about the MHANJ. If you have any questions, please call us at 973-571-4100, ext. 123.