If you are someone who is living with a mental illness and looking to get more actively involved in your own wellness and recovery, the Mental Health Association of Morris County offers a number of opportunities for you to do so!
Pictured above: Linda Foster, Terri Belske, Marlena Rillo, Steve Paicer, Scott Schafran, Stephanie Little, Lori Neubauer
Other group activities teach skills that consumers can apply to their daily, independent lifestyles. These activities include but are not limited to:
- Crafty Minds - Diabetes Workshops
- Chair Yoga - Art Expression
- Athletics Group - Exercise Group
- Cooking Techniques - Book Club
- Creative Writing - Mental Aerobics
- Green Thumbs
Call 973-334-3496 Ext. 112 to become connected to the Self-Help Programs today!
MEASURING OUR IMPACT 2014
In 2014 our Self-Help, Advocacy, and Education programs continued to help people to live satisfying lives in the community through wellness, self-help, advocacy, socialization, and education services. We continued to provide opportunities for mental health consumers discharged from psychiatric hospitals to have companionship, socialization, personal wellness, and mobility as a way to help them stabilize in the community. We also provided community education programs to alleviate the stigma of mental illness and we continued to provide Information and Referral to county residents in need of immediate assistance for themselves or their loved ones.
Peer-to-Peer Support Line: In 2014, our peer phone line workers, staffed by people with mental illness, for people with mental illness, continued to provide telephone peer support to mental health consumers in lieu of costly and intrusive emergency psychiatric services. We provided hope, encouragement and resources to 234 people during 5,125 calls to our Peer-to-Peer Support Line. The Peer Line is staffed by people in recovery from mental illness who receive specialized training by our professional staff.
In 2014, we achieved the following outcomes:
• 100% of Peer Line callers who were in need of emotional support or programs and services in the community rated the Peer Line as a helpful service.
• 100% of callers who called the Peer Line indicated that they will call the line again in the future.
• 100% of callers who identified as experiencing a psychiatric crisis, found their needs met by the Peer Line.
• 75% of all workers who have graduated off of the Peer Line moved into full or part-time employment.
In addition, in 2014 the Peer Line gave opportunities to 16 individuals with mental illness to be trained in a mental health professional role as a Peer Line Worker. Of these 16 individuals, 4 people graduated the line. Of these individuals, one individual has moved into employment as a mental health professional. Two others went into part-time or full-time employment in other fields.
As a further note, the Peer-to-Peer Line was founded in 2000. Since that time we have graduated 36 individuals, and of these individuals we placed 26 people in mental health professional positions. Of these individuals, 16 were hired directly by MHAMC.
Peer Support to Greystone: No one understands what it's like to be hospitalized at a state psychiatric hospital more than someone who has already been there. The Peer Support to Greystone program provides mental health consumers who have successfully transitioned from the hospital into the community the opportunity to speak to those currently hospitalized to share experiences and provide hope. In 2014, MHAMC peer representatives visited with 95 patients at Greystone Park Psychiatric hospital.
Community Companions: The Community Companions Program provides one-to-one companionship and assistance in daily living for people with mental illness. The goal of the program is to increase socialization and general wellness. Volunteers visit the client at least two hours a week, participating in mutually agreeable activities. Together they find new socialization opportunities and share in a supportive friendship. In 2014, 67% of consumers linked to volunteers reported satisfaction in the time spent together.
Social Clubs: Our agency social clubs continued to provide residents of Dover, Morristown, Boonton and surrounding areas to participate in recreational group activities, including dinners and outings, to help them develop social connections in the community and to reduce isolation.
In 2014, we served 121 clients. Of these 121 clients, 100% of Social Club members reported that the social club has introduced them to low or no cost activities in and around Morris County. Also, additional pick ups were provided for all sessions of the social clubs, and all social clubs sessions offered transportation for at least three consumers who have difficulties that prevented them from getting to the meeting spots.
Self-Help and Wellness Clubs: People with mental illness often have poor health as a result of long term medication use, poverty, and inactivity. We believe that healthy eating is a key to improving physical health, and that physical health directly impacts mental health. The Healthy Cooking Club was established to help promote healthy eating, weight reduction, and weight management for people with mental illness. The main components include Cooking Techniques, and Diet & Nutrition, Exercise, Yoga, and a Diabetes Workshop. In 2014, 80% of consumers surveyed, who participated in our Self-Help and Wellness Activities, felt that their overall health and well-being had improved.
We also facilitated several other self-help groups and clubs. This was in order for people with mental illness to develop skills necessary for independence and also to have normal, healthy lives which include socialization and recreation.
In 2014, our groups included:
• Athletic Group, which focuses on basic sports skills and team activities
• Community Garden, which focuses on creating and maintaining a garden to feed the hungry
• Resource Day, which focuses on helping MHAMC with its mailings
• Chair Yoga, focusing on meditation to explore mental and physical wellness
• Cooking Techniques, focusing on cooking healthily on a budget
• Exercise Group, focusing on physical wellness through exercise
• Art Expression, focusing on positive self expression through art
Community Garden: This new initiative involves mental health consumers developing and manning a community garden to help them stay active in the community and contribute to community sustainability. What started with an idea in March progressed to weeding and preparing the soil in late April and the first plantings went in the ground just after Mother’s Day. In 2014, approximately 209 pounds of produce was donated to the Interfaith Food Pantry and the Community Soup Kitchen. Every Monday, the consumers spend two hours tending to the garden. Consumers are utilizing Horticultural Therapy while giving back to their community.
Community Rides: This program facilitates independent living for people who have been discharged from psychiatric hospitals by helping them to meet their basic needs in the community. In 2014, 66 consumers benefitted from Community Rides. In 2014, 100% of consumers who used Community Rides reported that the program was helpful in enabling them to run errands and go shopping, and visit family and friends. 100% of consumers reported in 2014 that Community Rides has cultivated an increased sense of independence in the community.
Educational Assistance Fund: The MHAMC recognizes that a large percentage of people living with mental illness develop their illness during their young adulthood, a time when many are seeking to further their education or begin their careers. The onset of mental illness can be such a detriment to those afflicted that many are never again in a position to fulfill educational and vocational goals and dreams. The MHAMC Educational Fund allows consumers of mental health services, who are eligible, to receive an Educational Certificate valued up to $1,000 each. This Fund was established in 2012 by a grant from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. In 2014, this fund allowed us to help 23 clients in 29 requests to fund educational pursuits such as college tuition, textbooks, course materials, license and testing fees, adult school classes, driving school classes, and art/music classes.