Summary of Programs and Services
Integrated Case Management Services (ICMS):
In 2016, 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):
In 2016, our Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Morris and Sussex programs provided monitoring and case management to consumers to ensure that consumers who are court mandated to treatment adhere to the court order. Consumers in AOT are mandated to treatment because they have met the screening criteria for Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, have multiple hospitalizations and may be imminently dangerous if not for AOT to mitigate the level of dangerousness with services and treatment in place. AOT staff work to ensure that individuals live safely within their communities, avoid repeated hospitalizations and/or incarcerations, and advocate and secure 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 individuals. The staff of the Homeless Outreach Program (HOMI) seeks out homeless individuals struggling with mental illnesses wherever they are; whether it be on the streets, in a hotel, soup kitchens, drop-in centers or shelter. This program helps people with mental illness to obtain, and keep, permanent sustainable housing.
Staff also work to link homeless mentally ill individuals to all needed 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/RIST (Residential Intensive Support Team
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. Consumers are seen regularly by staff in their homes or within the community. Consumers can be seen daily and the program lasts as long as the consumer needs the support.
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, skills development training, helping clients stay medication compliant, assistance with transportation, and linkage to social support resources.
In 2017, we will be changing the name of the program to Community Support Services (CSS).
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.
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.
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 2016 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 2016, 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 324 people during 3,099 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 and 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). In 2016, we trained 135 people in Mental Health First Aid. 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 2016, the Mental Health Players participated in 21 theatrical performances. A total of 1,583 audience members took part in a Mental Health Players performance.
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 2016, this fund allowed us to help 28 clients to fund educational pursuits such as driver’s education, art classes, nutritional counseling to lose weight, pottery class, computer classes, educational classes, licensing for massage therapy, ESL classes, CPR classes, Thai Chi classes, HVAC Certification, and CEU’s towards a Nursing License.
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 Program: 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. In 2016, a total of 106 CAP consumers were active and vocal in helping to create a mental health system that is more responsive to their needs.
Members represented consumers on boards and committees and attended state and national conferences focusing on consumer empowerment. These include the State Consumer Advisory Committee, the Coalition of Mental Health Consumers Organization, the Morris County Youth Services Advisory Committee, and the Morris County Acute Care Systems Review Committee. Consumers also attended the Coalition of Mental Health Consumers Organization conference. Finally, consumers attended and participated at the Annual Morris County Public Forum for Consumers and Families.
Community Companions Program: 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 2016, we matched 10 consumers with volunteers 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. In 2016, 83% 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.
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. In 2016, approximately 155 pounds of produce was donated to the Interfaith Food Pantry. Fifty-six hours collectively were spent at the garden. Fifty consumers are utilizing Horticultural Therapy while giving back to their community. The program will continue in 2017.
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 2016, we provided 1,820 trips to 60 consumers. In 2016, 84% 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. 84% of consumers reported in 2016 that Community Rides has cultivated an increased sense of independence 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 366 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 year we have developed a new initiative to reach out to faith organizations in Morris County. Four churches volunteered and hosted quarterly dinners for our clients. We also provided Mental Health First Aid to faith leaders and congregants. Most impressively, we now have 20 churches participating in the Mental Health Faith Resource Network, where on 19 separate occasions in 2016, churches and synagogues came together and gave needed resources to clients enrolled in our programs. Some examples for 2016 include therapeutic books, VCR, microwave, coats for homeless clients, paint for an apartment, bookcases, pots and pans, clothing, cleaning supplies, vacuums, bedding and furniture.
Mental Health Faith Liaison Program:
Many mental health consumers credit their faith as a significant factor in overall wellness, as well as maintaining recovery from severe and debilitating mental illness. As such, there is a need for clergy to gain competency and mastery in addressing mental health issues in their congregations.
The Mental Health Faith Liaison Program responded to these realities by creating a new, privately funded collaborative care partnership between the mental health community and the faith community. This innovative program provided a variety of services that built on one another to increase mental health, to combat mental illness in the community, to support clergy on the front lines, and reduce stigma so people would access the care they needed. The program also assisted houses of worship to better help people with mental illness to feel included and assisted them by providing resources and tools to stay independent.
The Mental Health Association of Morris County launched the pilot phase of the Mental Health Faith Liaison Program in January of 2016. We hired a part-time Faith Liaison to introduce faith communities to the program and engage clergy and congregations. The Mental Health Faith Liaison has been a great success in its first year of operation. The program provides to congregations: 3-5 sessions with a clinician, geriatric consultant or professional coach per client; an interfaith clergy peer group; Speakers to address concerns of the congregation, Mental Health First Aid, and performances by the Mental Health Players.
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.