The Union County Board of County Commissioners encourages residents and visitors to join us in recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The national observation aims to increase outreach and education about mental health, helping to remove stigma and improving access to care.
“While Mental Health is nationally recognized in the month of May, it is a topic I think should be focused on all year round; that is why my “Stepping Up to Mental Health” initiative has been at the forefront of my 2023 Chairman’s “Building a Stronger Union County” theme,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “Mental Health can affect anyone you know – it is something that is very common and should be brought to light. The effects not only impact the individual but also family, friends and co-workers and that is why breaking down the barriers to care is so important. Taking the first step is key and I encourage all of our residents to call our Department of Human Services to find out about the many programs and resources Union County has available.”
Almost half of all Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some time in their life, according to the latest research. The research also shows that with early and effective treatment, individuals with mental health conditions can recover.
During May and beyond, the Office of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse in the Union County Department of Human Services will provide a series of programs and services for Union County residents seeking mental health information and resources, including:
- Observing Mental Health Action Day on May 18. On this day, all Union County residents and visitors are asked to wear green as a sign of encouragement and empowerment to take action on mental health, whether for themselves, for their loved ones, or for their communities.
- Distributing information ribbon cards to raise mental health awareness and link residents with local mental health services.
- Organizing free educational mental health webinars for the public throughout the year.
- Hosting a public, round-table discussion with mental health providers to explore solutions to emerging and current needs.
- Providing four or more mental health first aid trainings for human services staff.
The Office of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse also advises anyone facing a mental health crisis to call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, for 24/7 support and referral to resources. The 988 number connects to an existing network of mental health service providers, organized through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In New Jersey, the free NJ Mental Health Cares hotline, 1-866-202-HELP (4357), is also available to provide emotional support every day of the week, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Individuals who are concerned or curious about their own mental health can use a free, anonymous online screening tool offered by the organization Mental Health America, at screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools.
Residents who are interested in helping to raise awareness about mental health can also visit Mental Health America for guidance and resources, at mhanational.org/mental-health-month/outreach#individual.
For information on all Department of Human Services activities, visit online at ucnj.org/dhs or call the Action Line, 908-677-5405.
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