Collaboration Established to Help Improve Access to Opiate Addiction Treatment and Family Support in NJ
March 9, 2017              
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line is a key member of a new collaboration of call line services formed to help those affected by the heroin and prescription painkiller addiction crisis in New Jersey. The recent creation of ReachNJ by Governor Chris Christie presented the opportunity to coordinate key statewide gatekeepers to maximize access, information and services for those directly impacted by this crisis. This new alliance fosters a collaborative approach to ensure that the person coping with an addiction issue as well as his/her family members gets the specific type of help needed.


Under the leadership of the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, NJ Connect for Recovery has forged a strong alliance with ReachNJ, Rutgers’ Interim Management Entity addiction treatment initiative and the Children’s System of Care to create a broad based seamless system providing emotional support, education, guidance, access to treatment, and ongoing family and peer support — all so critical to addressing our heroin and prescription painkiller addiction epidemic.


Here is a brief overview of what each of these call line services do; please click the links for more information:
— ReachNJ — provides people coping with opiate addiction with information and referral to needed services


— Interim Managing Entity — provides screening for addiction and placement into needed services through the New Jersey public system of care

— Children’s System of Care within the Department of Children and Families — provides resources and treatment for children with behavioral health and/or developmental challenges through the New Jersey public system of care and PerformCare, its management entity that assesses and refers to services

— NJ Connect for Recovery — provides individuals coping with opiate addiction and their family members with counseling and referrals.

This formalized collaboration enables increased sharing of resources and expertise affording streamlined access for services needed to cope with opiate addiction.


“The success of the Governor’s ReachNJ and statewide media campaign has significantly increased calls to all of our organizations. This collaboration helps to ensure that addicted populations and their families are connected to the services and support they need,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s President and CEO.
Help and Hope for Families 
Family members can play an invaluable role in a person’s recovery from mental health and substance use issues. As much as they may desire to make a difference, there are many barriers to overcome; however there are resources available to help.

Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS) is a program that encompasses a range of supportive activities designed to improve the overall functioning and quality of life for family members with a mentally ill relative, including psychoeducation groups, individual family consultations, family support groups, system advocacy and linkage and referral. The MHANJ provides IFSS programs in Atlantic and Union Counties. IFSS is made possible with funding from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services; there is no cost to participate. Click here to read more about the MHANJ’s IFSS programs and for contact information. For contact information for IFSS programs in other counties, please call the NJ MentalHealthCares Helpline, toll-free, at 866-202-HELP (4357) (TTY 866-294-4356).

The MHANJ’s NJ Connect for Recovery Call Line was established to help family members as well as the person coping with opiate addiction issues. NJ Connect for Recovery also offers support and education groups for family members, providing a safe place for them to talk and share resources. For more information, please click here for the NJ Connect for Recovery Help Line website or dial the Call Line, toll-free, at 855-652-3737 (TTY 866-294-4356).

Having Trouble Getting an Appointment  with a Mental Health Care Professional?

Call The MHANJ Access to Mental Health Care Initiative for Help and Support! We can:

  • Walk you through the maze of private and public insurance
  • Provide advocacy and support through the process
  • Follow up with the Authorities to address the laws and regulations for access to care


Call the NJ MentalHealthCares line at 866-202-HELP (4357) and the friendly staff will help you identify resources available for you.  If needed, they will refer you to the MHANJ Community Advocate for more support through the Access to Mental Health Care Initiative.

Self-Help Group Clearinghouse Offers Support, Guidance and Referrals

Are you or is someone you know struggling to cope with an ongoing medical or emotional health problem? A self-help support group dedicated to a particular issue may provide the assistance and information that is needed. The New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse database has contact information for over 8,600 support group meetings throughout  the 21 counties of New Jersey. They cover a broad spectrum of physical and behavioral health challenges, providing valuable emotional, social, and community support through peer assistance and education.

“The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is an established, go-to resource for information and referral for behavioral healthcare services in the state. We consider the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse a great complement and extension to our services and a helpful support in the important big-picture effort to integrate physical and behavioral health education,” stated Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.

How it Works
The New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse is a free and confidential service which is accessed through a new website and or by speaking with our call center staff.

For People Seeking Help — The New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse staff provides information and referral to its vast network of support groups.

For Self-Help Groups in New Jersey AND for Those Wishing to Start a Self-Help Group — Our staff provides technical assistance, training and continuing education to established groups and to those who wish to start a new group.

The new website,, features 24/7 access to a searchable database of self-help support groups. It also includes:  links and contact forms to easily submit questions, a process to request to have a group listed, topical psychosocial information, tips and advice about running a support group, and a downloadable brochure.

For the confidential, toll-free call line dial 800-367-6274, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. This line is especially for New Jerseyans who would like to discuss their needs with a trained specialist who can recommend an appropriate group, AND for people who would like to arrange a support group training session or obtain assistance and advice about running a support group.

“With the new website we hope to significantly increase and expand the use of self-help, recovery and support services by people impacted by chronic physical illnesses to promote long term recovery. The project offers free training and technical assistance to support the creation of these groups. We seek to partner with other healthcare organizations to create new groups in communities across New Jersey,”   said Robert Kley, MHANJ’s Vice President and COO.

Through a contract with the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) has recently been appointed to provide the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse.

For more information about the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearing House, please call 800-367-6274 or email Barbara White, Outreach Coordinator, at

MHANJ and New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs Partner to Make a Difference in Behavioral Health


Who would have thought that the YMCA and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey could find such synergy in grass roots efforts to improve behavioral health in our state? Here’s what happened when they put their heads and hearts together to address a critical need — helping New Jerseyans who are coping with mental illness and substance use issues.

First, a look at the problem…Mental health and substance use problems affect more than 60 million people in the U.S., yet the vast majority do not seek or get needed care. New Jersey statistics mirror the national norm, with only an estimated 39% of the people who experience these problems receiving treatment and/or counseling. Fears of being subjected to bias or stigma, the public’s lack of understanding and acceptance of these disorders, and the challenge of navigating the behavioral health system are often insurmountable barriers that stand in the way of treatment.

This is where the YMCAs come in…YMCAs have unique roles in their individual communities that enable them to interact with thousands of people of all ages every day, helping them to grow in spirit, mind and body. The opportunity to normalize conversations about mental health and substance use disorders and create positive social change through YMCAs is significant, as they are seen as trusted, welcoming institutions.

The New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs, representing the 35 YMCAs in the state, was one of the first key stakeholders to sign on to the Mental Health First Aid for New Jersey Project, which is run by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) and funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that teaches the risk factors and warning signs of mental illnesses, builds understanding of their impact, and gives participants skills that enable them to offer support and connect people with the resources and help they need. The Mental Health First Aid for New Jersey Project’s mission is to increase access to this important training across the state. In its first year and a half of existence, it has made significant strides by developing partnerships with major organizations like the YMCA.

“The YMCAs historic role in helping members improve their physical health is well known, but we are also aligned with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey in our shared belief that there really is no such thing as health and well-being without good mental health,” said Bill Lovett, Executive Director of the New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs.  “We have a tremendous opportunity to change perspectives about mental illness and reduce stigma through the use of Mental Health First Aid in our YMCAs and the communities they serve. We are proud to work as a strategic partner with the Mental Health Association in New Jersey to accomplish this.”

Here’s a real example of how it works… Darcy Dobens, LSW, is Director of the Bayshore Family Success Center, a program of the Community YMCA funded by the Department of Children and Families, Division of Families and Community Partnerships.  She is also a Mental Health First Aid instructor, and knows firsthand how important it is for staff members to be trained in the curriculum.  “Recently, a woman came in with her  two children and was obviously distraught about her ability to pay her rent, and fearful that she would be evicted.  By using the techniques taught in MHFA, our staff was able to recognize that she was experiencing an emotional crisis that was contributing to her inability to maintain employment and function well in her other day-to-day activities.   As a Family Success Center, we are often the first place people go for help.  We can make a big difference by identifying  a core problem, like depression or addiction, and then connecting people to the behavioral health services that they need.”

An exponential win/win…The YMCAs continued involvement in the Mental Health First Aid for New Jersey Project ensures that more and more YMCA staff members are trained in Mental Health First Aid and certified as instructors of the curriculum. This provides access to an increasing number of trained behavioral health advocates for the thousands of adults and children who use YMCA facilities every day. Here are just a few details about the partnership:

— The New Jersey Alliance of YMCAs and other YMCAs have participated as committed stakeholders to help shape the Mental Health First Aid for New Jersey Project and the entire training landscape in the state.

— Regional YMCA Mental Health First Aid Trainings during the summer of 2016 resulted in the certification of nearly 70 YMCA staff members from throughout the state.

— YMCAs in Madison, Basking Ridge, Montclair, Madison, Summit, Red Bank, Elizabeth, Fanwood-Scotch Plains, Westfield and Hopewell Valley have trained hundreds of people in Mental Health First Aid in the last two years.  There are many stories from these YMCAs about the impact that Mental Health First Aid has had in the lives of instructors, First Aiders, YMCA members and communities.

“Our partnership with the YMCA helps us dramatically expand the reach of Mental Health First Aid throughout New Jersey.  We tremendously value the Y’s commitment  to this initiative and look forward to building on this important collaboration in the future,” said Robert Kley, Vice President and COO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.

For more information about Mental Health First Aid for New Jersey (MHFA4NJ) contact Ruth Kaluski at 973-571-4100, ext. 136, or or click here to visit the MHFA4NJ Facebook page.

Medicaid Transportation for Health Care Consumers Late or Unreliable in NJ, MHANJ Survey Finds (Link to Study Results Included)


An alarming 57% of respondents said transportation has been late or unreliable in last 6 months; 53% missed important doctor’s appointments due to late or failed transportation In a survey conducted by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ), an alarming number of respondents (57%) indicated that their Medicaid transportation to mental health treatment and care has been unreliable or late in the past six months; while 53% indicated that the failed transportation service caused them to miss important doctor’s appointments. MHANJ conducted the survey in response to complaints and concerns about the inconsistency in quality and reliability of LogistiCare, the company contracted in New Jersey to provide transportation to individuals living with mental health conditions who have Medicaid.

Click here or on the image above to read the Cutting Edge newsletter article.

Click here to read the Medicaid Transportation Survey results and report.


Funding for Superstorm Sandy Recovery
Efforts through Generous Grants from:
American Red Cross Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc.

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