MHANJ Celebrates May is Mental Health Month — Theme: When Are Behaviors Risky Business?

Importance of Knowing When Behaviors and Habits Can Be Unhealthy

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

That is why the Mental Health Association in New Jersey is joining with Mental Health America to focus on the theme — Risky Business for May is Mental Health Month 2017. This topic serves as a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

This May is Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to educate themselves about behaviors and activities that could be harmful to recovery – and to speak up without shame using the hashtag #riskybusiness – so that others can learn if their behaviors are something to examine. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to educate without judgment, and to share your point of view or story with people who may be suffering—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

“It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more,” said Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. “We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness—and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way.”

Resources that Can Help

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey provides several support services to assist people who are coping with “risky” behavior, who would like to take a behavioral health screening, and/or who have questions about specific mental health or substance abuse issues. For more information, please call:

New Jersey MentalHealthCares 866-202-HELP(4356) (TTY 877-294-4356), 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. weekdays  –  This line offers behavioral counseling, information and referral service providing ongoing emotional support, case management, intervention and mental health screenings.  (Messages received during off-hours are returned the next business day.)

For people who are having trouble getting a mental health appointment, there is a new Access to Mental Health Care component. Through this service, staff can: walk callers through the maze of insurance coverage, provide advocacy and support and assist in filing complaints about access to care issues.

Peer Recovery WarmLine 877-202-5588 (TTY 877-294-4356) 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. weekdays, 5 – 10 p.m. weekends  – This line is a peer counseling service, providing ongoing telephone support to behavioral health consumers as they work toward their recovery. (Messages received during off-hours are returned the next business day.)

NJ Connect for Recovery 855-652-3737 (TTY 877-294-4356), 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. weekdays, 5 – 10 p.m. weekends – This line is dedicated to providing counseling specifically to individuals and families coping with addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers, collaborating with ReachNJ and the State of New Jersey’s Interim Managing Entity to help assure that people attain treatment and support.  (Messages received during off-hours are returned the next business day.)

New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse, 800-367-6274, (TTY 877-294-4356), weekdays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.: This line provides information about all types of support groups dealing with addictions, mental or physical health, family issues, bereavement, parenting, disabilities and other topics. (Messages received during off-hours are returned the next business day.)

These services are provided by the Mental Health Association in New Jersey with funding from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Additional Resources

A series of fact sheets (available at provide information on specific behaviors and habits that may be a warning sign of something more, risk factors and signs of mental illness, and how and where to get help when needed. Mental Health America has also created an interactive quiz at to learn from Americans when they think specific behaviors or habits go from being acceptable to unhealthy.

“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Ms. Beauchamp. “When we engage in prevention and  early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early—and provide effective treatment before they become more serious.“

For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at

About the Mental Health Association in New Jersey

The Mental Health Association in New Jersey is a statewide non-profit organization that strives for children and adults to achieve victory over mental illness and substance use disorders through advocacy, education, training, and services. Since 1948, the Mental Health Association in New Jersey has worked to fulfill its mission by responding to issues and concerns raised by consumers of mental health services, and then working for changes and promoting policies that protect their rights and fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness and makes recovery difficult. The Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s state headquarters is located in Springfield, New Jersey; additional locations include Atlantic, Hudson, Ocean and Union Counties and affiliates in Essex, Monmouth, Morris and Passaic Counties and Southwestern New Jersey. For more information visit

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