Madison Area YMCA In the News


Matthew Kovacs Appointed Community Mental Health Coordinator at the Madison Area YMCA

Feb 20, 2015
Matt Kovacs


For more information contact:
Madison Area YMCA Marketing & Communications
973.822.9622 ext. 2241
For immediate release to run through March 20

Matthew Kovacs Appointed Community Mental Health Coordinator at the Madison Area YMCA

(Madison, NJ) February 20, 2015-The Madison Area YMCA is pleased to announce that Matthew Kovacs, the After School Program Coordinator at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA and a Living Our Cause Champion in the organization, has expanded his responsibilities to include Community Mental Health Initiative Coordinator for the Y’s new Community Mental Health Initiative (CMHI).

Most recently, Mr. Kovacs was certified as a Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor, which equips him with the tools to teach others to help young people who experience a mental health challenge, mental disorder or a mental health crisis. Mr. Kovacs will also deliver mental health training to staff throughout the Madison Area YMCA, neighboring Ys and the community.

More than 61.5 million Americans experience the effects of mental illness each year with approximately 20 percent of 13-year-olds to 18-year-olds receiving a severe mental health disorder diagnosis. The YMCA’s CMHI will shed light on mental health, take charge of the battle against mental illness stigma and dispel any misconceptions.

“Our Y strives to support all community members in maintaining all aspects of their health, including mentally and emotionally,” said Madison Area YMCA President & CEO Diane Mann. “The Y’s Community Mental Health Initiative fills an essential new role in raising awareness and equipping lay mental health supporters with the right knowledge and skills to appropriately offer help.” 

Mr. Kovacs’s background and work in the realm of youth development at the Kirby Center and other schools provide him with a unique perspective on the emotional needs of children and teens.

“I’m excited to work on the Y’s Community Mental Health Initiative,” said Mr. Kovacs. “Educating our staff and the community through Mental Health First Aid Training and informative seminars and coordinating with CMHI Coalition members and community organizations to raise awareness for emotional health will benefit children, teens and adults in our community.”

After graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, Summa Cum Laude, Mr. Kovacs was a research assistant at Rutgers University and Washington State University, specifically studying Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, depression and childhood resiliency. Subsequently, he received his K-5 New Jersey teaching certification with Advanced Standing from Seton Hall University and taught basic skills and third grade prior to joining the Kirby staff.

Mr. Kovacs volunteers at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison. He also helps organize community walks for the Association for Suicide Prevention, Northern New Jersey Chapter.

The Y’s CMHI complements Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA, a youth counseling community-based program. An important extension of youth development services for children, teens and their families throughout the Madison Area YMCA’s service area, the program was made possible through the collaboration of community leaders and the municipalities and school districts of the Chathams, Florham Park and Madison. Services are provided in the schools and at the program’s offices by clinical social workers who respond to the needs of the community at a time when mental health is rapidly becoming a leading issue across our nation.

For more information about the Y’s Community Mental Health Initiative, please contact Matthew Kovacs at 973.822.9622 x2308 or email The director of Project Community Pride of the Madison Area YMCA, Brigitte Kelly, may be reached at 973.593.3034 or email