Public Info

Union County Recognizes National Mental Health Awareness Month With Free Mental Health Webinar & More

In recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month, the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Department of Human Services will provide services throughout the month of May, including a free mental health webinar on Thursday, May 23, at 6:00 p.m. The month-long observation is part of a national campaign that aims to reduce stigma, foster acceptance, and create an informed and supportive community that embraces mental health care.

“Mental health struggles can have a profound impact on people, including our loved ones. Whether it affects them directly or indirectly, we cannot afford to ignore this sensitive, yet important topic,” said Union County Commissioner Chairwoman and Liaison to the Mental Health Advisory Board, Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Your mental and emotional well-being is important to us, and that’s the reason we are passionately dedicated to educating our residents on mental health and wellness. We want to help anyone who is going through a challenging time to know that hope still exists, and that there are resources available to them.”

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 services, including:

Distributing Mental Health Awareness ribbon cards throughout the month of May. The cards have a removable green ribbon pin for residents to wear in solidarity and a link they can use to connect with mental health services.

May 16th: Observing Mental Health Day of Action. On this day, all Union County residents and visitors are asked to wear green as a sign of encouragement and empowerment to act on mental health, whether for themselves, their loved ones, or in general support of our community.

May 23rd: Zoom Virtual Webinar: “Raising Awareness about Mental Health by Breaking the Stigma and Demystifying Paths to Wellness.” This free and informative webinar will be hosted by the Office of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse, in collaboration with Atlantic Health System. Presenters Nilda Rodrigues, MA, LCADC, and Christopher Fowler, CPRS ABH Peer Recovery Specialist, will lead the discussion on what it’s like living with mental health struggles and include examples of what a supportive and empathetic dialogue can look like. Pre-registration is required. To register for the webinar, visit

“The foundation for a healthier and happier Union County lies in creating community connections and ensuring access to vital resources,” said Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados, who also serves as Liaison to the Human Services Advisory Board. “This free webinar is another way Union County demonstrates its strong support for residents. I encourage anyone experiencing mental health challenges, or who knows someone who is, to take advantage of this opportunity and register. And always remember, our Department of Human Services is available year-round to provide assistance to those in need.”

According to Mental Health America (MHA), mental illness affects more than 50 million Americans, and approximately 1 in 5 adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.

“Although Mental Health is nationally recognized in the month of May, it is an essential component of overall health and should be focused on year-round,” said Debbie-Ann Anderson, Director of Human Services. “Many individuals, families, and communities are experiencing increased levels of stress, depression, and anxiety and access to local support systems are key components to achieving wellness. The Union County Department of Human Services is committed to connecting residents to the resources needed to support their wellbeing because mental health is health.” The Office of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse advises anyone needing support, information, or resources to reach out to NJ Mental Health Cares, New Jersey’s behavioral health information and referral service system. Calls are answered by trained staff who provide emotional support, assessment of presenting problems, and information and referral. This is a free, confidential service with multilingual translation available. If you or a loved one is facing mental health related distress, thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, please reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988, for 24/7 support. The Lifeline provides free confidential emotional support to individuals in crisis or emotional distress.

To learn more about events and programs offered through the Department of Human Services, visit