TRENTON - Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health Services Kevin Martone this week received two high-profile awards for his diligence in improving and expanding programs that help people throughout the state recover from mental illnesses.
Martone, who began transforming the state division as soon as he took his position in August 2005, received the Governor Codey Mental Health Champion Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and was honored by the Mental Health Association of Morris County, Inc.
“Under Kevin’s guidance, we’ve continued to humanize mental health treatment in New Jersey,” Senate President Richard J. Codey in honoring Martone earlier this week at a Mental Health Association of Morris County event.
“Kevin Martone has been one of the leading advocates for mental health reform in New Jersey. When I created the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health, Kevin was a key figure in helping to shape many of the reforms that we implemented,” Codey said. “Since becoming Assistant Commissioner, he has helped shepherd the transformation of Greystone Psychiatric Hospital and improved access to services with a focus on community-based care.”
Martone also received an award named after the former Acting Governor during the annual convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of New Jersey at the Holiday Inn in Somerset last week.
“I am honored to be recognized by NAMI, especially in the name of Governor Codey, who has fought tirelessly to bring issues surrounding mental illness to the forefront and demanded respectful services for our clients,” Martone said. “Governor Codey, and now Governor Corzine have shown their commitment to helping our consumers, and I feel privileged to be in the position to do the same.”
The theme of this year’s NAMI convention is Experiencing Recovery, and the focal point of all of Martone’s efforts is to provide services and programs that help consumers both manage their mental illnesses and recover from them to their highest potential.
Martone chaired the Housing Advisory Committee on Governor Codey’s Task Force on Mental Health, which made numerous recommendations on housing, including the creation of 10,000 affordable housing opportunities for people with mental illness and other disabilities over the next ten years, as well as, the newly created $200 million Special Needs Housing Trust Fund.
At the NAMI convention, Martone led a plenary panel entitled “The Role of the Mental Health System in Recovery.”
Since joining DHS, Kevin has focused on improving and increasing overall services, improving safety and developing census reduction plans at the state’s five psychiatric hospitals, worked to increase housing options in the community and working to increase both short- and long-term capacity for patients in hospitals throughout the state.
Responsible for the coordination, administration, management and supervision of the institutional and community mental health system, the Division supervises five state-operated psychiatric hospitals; monitors inpatient services provided by private psychiatric facilities as well as other public hospitals and psychiatric units in local general hospitals; and contracts with more than 120 private non-profit agencies for community mental health services. The Division employs more than 5,000 staff.
Prior to his appointment, Kevin served as the President/CEO for Advance Housing, a non-profit supportive housing provider in northern New Jersey, and guided its transformation into a leading supportive housing provider. His experiences at Advance Housing have afforded him a strong clinical background and an ability to influence complex systems that impact mental health consumers. He has broad experience serving on multiple local, county and statewide committees pertaining to mental health and affordable housing, and has spoken extensively in New Jersey on supportive housing development and operations.
In addition, Kevin recently served as the Vice President of the Supportive Housing Association (SHA) of New Jersey where he played a key role in advancing the policy direction of SHA with both the State and provider community.
Kevin is a Licensed Social Worker and has a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University.
Martone lives in Pennington with his wife and two children.