Summary of Programs and Services
Integrated Case Management Services (ICMS):
In 2015, our ICMS program continued to help Morris County residents transition from the sheltered environment of the state psychiatric hospital to independent living in the community. When people are discharged from state psychiatric hospitals into Morris County, ICMS staff is assigned to make sure consumers are given support and connected to resources that will create a successful transition into the community.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program (AOT):
AOT/Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) refers to mental health laws that allow for mandated, community-based, mental health treatment for individuals with mental illness who, as a result of their mental illness, meet a legal standard for commitment.
AOT is an alternative to involuntary inpatient hospitalization for eligible consumers in Morris and Sussex County. Individuals are assessed by a mental health screener and psychiatrist and if commitment to involuntary treatment is necessary, the screening staff and psychiatrist shall determine what type of treatment is the least restrictive to meet the needs of the individual pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.2(m). If an individual meets the criteria for AOT, the individual will be mandated to participate in mental health treatment in the community.
The goal of AOT is to enable individuals to live safely within their communities, to avoid repeated hospitalizations and/or incarcerations, and to ensure that they have access to outpatient mental health services.
Homeless Outreach Services (HOMI)
Although Morris County is one of the most affluent counties in the country, it still has a significant number of homeless people. The staff of the Homeless Outreach Program (HOMI) seeks out homeless people with mental illnesses wherever they are; whether it be on the streets, in a hotel, soup kitchen or shelter. This program helps people with mental illness to get, and then keep, permanent housing.
Staff also works to make sure that homeless mentally ill individuals are linked to services and resources that will foster their wellness.
Forensic Case Management
People with mental illness who become involved in the criminal justice system are much less likely to re-offend if they receive appropriate mental health services in the jail and upon discharge. Our three forensic case managers make sure people with mental illness are redirected from jail to treatment when appropriate, that they receive appropriate care in the jail and upon discharge, and that they make a successful transition into the community by linking them to other necessary resources and services.
Supportive Housing Programs
At MHAMC, we provide a model Supportive Housing/RIST program for people being discharged from state psychiatric hospitals and those who are at high risk for long term hospital care. This program is similar to ICMS but is distinguished by providing a higher level of care. In other words, consumers are often seen daily in their homes. Also, the program is not time limited as is ICMS.
These programs use a “Housing First” approach in which staff members help clients find apartments in neighborhoods of their choice within Morris County. Once an individual has moved into his or her apartment, staff provides support, at times daily, to assist them in achieving personal goals and independence. Services include linking to community resources, helping clients stay medication compliant, assistance with transportation, and linkage to social support resources.
Edna’s Haven Resource Center:
Edna’s Haven Resource Center is dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless and impoverished in Morris County, New Jersey. In partnership with the Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover, Edna’s Haven offers relief from the pressures of homelessness and poverty and provides companionship and encouragement. This program was funded through a generous grant from the Zion Church in Oldwick, New Jersey and has attracted other funders such as the Mental Health Coalition, Provident Bank, First Presbyterian Church of New Vernon, Investors Bank Foundation, Kistler Tiffany, and F.M. Kirby Foundation.
Our facility is open from 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. A public restroom, refreshment center, computer center, television, and case management services are available during those times. Edna’s Haven also provides assistance to those seeking employment by serving as a mailing address and telephone contact for individuals. The activities at Edna’s Haven are tailored to meet the needs of the homeless population who are currently within the Dover area. These needs include, but are not limited to: skills groups, presentations by third party service providers, support groups, health screenings, job trainings, and other enrichment activities. This year we reached out to homeless veterans every Thursday to assist in expediting applications, benefits or transportation as well as the usual resource center activities.
Representative Payee Program
Many people who have been living in psychiatric institutions for a long time need assistance with money management when they enter back into the community. This program helps them stay out of state hospitals by keeping their housing long term and by managing clients spending in the community.
Eligible MHAMC clients come to the Representative Payee program through many of our other programs. An eligible client receives a housing voucher from the state that is managed by MHAMC Accounting Department staff. We put together a yearly budget that takes into account utilities, rent, medications, fines and other debt. An account is set up and the agency pays their bills for them. The clients receive an allowance in weekly amounts which gives them the ability to build a credit history if they don’t have one. A savings plan is also established.
Case workers interface with clients to help them make purchases that are within their budget. We work to educate the client about the system being used for paying their bills. Eventually a gradual transition to the client takes place until they can handle their finances on their own whenever possible.
Self-Help, Advocacy, and Education
In 2015 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 2015, 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 342 people during 4,994 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.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA): In 2013, we launched this evidence-based public-education curriculum that teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to people with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care. Anyone can take the 8-hour Mental Health First Aid course; first responders, students, teachers, leaders of faith communities, human resources professionals, and caring citizens. MHFA originated in 2001 in Australia and was brought to the US in 2008 by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. In 2013, we received a grant from Atlantic Health System Saint Clare’s Health Foundation and as a result we trained 25 people in the community to be certified Mental Health First Aid trainers. Then in 2014, we leveraged the trainers and they trained 362 people in Mental Health First Aid. In 2015, our staff trained 74 people who participated in the Adult module (28 people) and Senior module (46 people). Click here for MHFA Overview. Click here for MHFA History.
Mental Health Players: In their pursuit of reducing the stigma of mental illness and raising awareness of the needs of people with mental illness, the Mental Health Players volunteer program uses improvisational theatre to educate the community on mental health issues and mental illness. In 2015, the Mental Health Players participated in 16 theatrical performances. A total of 1,063 audience members took part in a Mental Health Players performance. 88% of these audience members surveyed learned something new about mental illness or know where to go for help as a result of the program.
Elizabeth T. Dorl 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. In 2015, this fund allowed us to help 18 clients to fund educational pursuits such as licensing for drug counseling, driver’s education, art classes, nutritional counseling to lose weight, US Masters (USMS) Swim Coach Certification and online classes.
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.
Consumer Advocacy: This group, more commonly known as CAP, is a self-help and consumer advocacy group that works in the Resource Center at the Mental Health Association of Morris County office. When people with mental illness speak in one voice, the community is able to respond with support and assistance.
Community Companions: Our agency volunteers assist individuals living with mental illness by meeting them in their homes and providing social support, so they can maintain a connection in the community.
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.
Self-Help and Wellness Clubs:
Healthy Cooking and Other 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, Diet & Nutrition, Exercise, Yoga, and a Diabetes Workshop.
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.
Community Garden: This new initiative involved 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 2013 grew into an annual endeavor.
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.
Family Newsletters: We believe in empowering family members of people with mental illness to be active in the recovery of their loved ones. Our newsletters, Concerned Families for the Mentally Ill (CFMI) and Parents Involved Network (PIN), were sent to 874 individuals. Each newsletter provided at least 18 local support groups including at least 1 educational lecture series. Also, at least one scholarly article focusing on understanding mental illness was detailed in each newsletter.
Information and Referral Services: MHAMC operates an Information and Referral Service which utilizes a database of private practitioners in the Morris County area. This includes an inventory of their areas of expertise, locations, fees of services, and contact information.
Mental Health Faith Resource Network: In the past few years, we have developed a new initiative to reach out to faith organizations in Morris County. Two churches stepped up to the plate and hosted quarterly dinners for our clients. We also provided Mental Health First Aid to faith leaders and congregants.
Mental Health Faith Liaison Program:
When people are in crisis, they often turn to their clergy for assistance first, whether the crisis is financial, family, or emotional. As Kae Eaton of the Mental Health Chaplaincy in Seattle said, clergy “walk with people in their darkest hour.” Symptoms of mental illness often are on display when congregants participate in services and other activities with the congregation. Many of our clients credit their faith and spirituality with helping them in their recovery from serious mental illness, yet, ironically, many clergy tell us they are not fully trained or equipped to handle some of the mental health issues that come their way.
The Mental Health Faith Liaison Program has three main components:
MHAMC staff is a critical player in the county emergency response plan. For example, when Hurricane Sandy hit our region in the fall of 2012, the staff at the Mental Health Association of Morris County continued service to the community, despite being closed for one week due to loss of electricity. We also work with the Morris County Mental Health Administrator to maintain the County’s Disaster Practitioner call-up roster.