Middlesex County held its 4th CIT Training (Crisis Intervention Team) the week of October 29 – November 2, 2018, at the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Training Center in Edison, bringing together 28 Middlesex County law enforcement and behavioral health providers. Officers from the following municipalities were represented: Carteret, South Amboy, Jamesburg, Woodbridge, Edison, South Brunswick, Highland Park, Perth Amboy, Metuchen, & Old Bridge, along with representatives from Legacy Treatment Services, Morris County Prosecutors Office, Middlesex County College Police Department and Middlesex County Department of Corrections.
CIT is a 40 hour, 5 day, nationally acclaimed, best practice jail diversion training, comprised of both classroom instruction and practical exercises. The training included topics on mental health, addiction, and other behavioral health concerns; signs and symptoms; myths and stereotypes; stigma; identifying a crisis; de-escalation strategies; peer and family perspectives; safety concerns; understanding the impact of trauma; Tourette’s & related disorders; concerns for older adults; veteran’s services & diversion program; and an overview of local community resources.
Also included in the program was a day dedicated to agency site visits, during which participants had the opportunity to tour the following : Rutgers Acute Psychiatric Services (Screening Center); Moving Forward Community Wellness Center; the Middlesex County Jail, and the Wellness Respite House. However, due to a scheduling conflict, the jail tour was cancelled.
The CIT program is dedicated to improving the law enforcement and behavioral health response to persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis who come into contact with law enforcement first responders. This training was extremely successful, with excellent feedback from participants. The goals of the Middlesex County Behavioral Health Justice Involved Task Force are to:
• Promote collaboration and effective interaction between criminal justice professionals and the behavioral health community
• Help individuals impacted by behavioral health challenges get linked to appropriate, community based supports and services, rather than involved in the criminal justice system
• Explore strategies for building trust and positive outcomes
• Reduce injury/use of deadly force, and promote public safety for all Middlesex County citizens, including law enforcement officers and individuals impacted by behavioral health challenges
Plans are already underway for the next CIT Middlesex training, which will take place the week of March 24, 2019.
Mental health conditions are among the most prevalent health concerns in the United States, affecting many adults at some time during their lifetime. Evidence based research has demonstrated that with appropriate supports and services, mental health challenges are treatable and achieving a state of wellness and recovery is possible. A service delivery system that is consumer focused and fully embraces a wellness and recovery approach throughout the continuum of care is an essential part of that process.
Working closely with citizen and professional advisory boards, the Division advocates to improve the mental health system and to insure that consumers have access to appropriate, accessible, consumer focused mental health supports, services and best practices.
The Division monitors all mental health services in Middlesex County and operates as a clearinghouse for information regarding mental health services.
• Plans, monitors, and promotes mental health services and community education, with a focus on consumer empowerment, recovery awareness, prevention, cultural competence, and de-stigmatization.
• Monitors State and County funded agencies.
• Provides information and referral regarding the mental health services continuum of care.
• Under the Mental Health Administration, acts as the local coordinator of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management’s mental health response in the event of a declared disaster or community incident and local crisis counselor training and credentialing
• In partnership with the County Mental Health Board and Professional Advisory Committees, identifies needs and barriers within the mental health continuum of care, makes recommendations for improvement and highlights important available resources.
The Middlesex County Mental Health Board
Who Are They? Mental Health Board members are volunteers who live or work in Middlesex County and have a knowledgeable interest in mental health and wellness.
What Do They Do? The Mental Health Board meets monthly to provide oversight for the mental health services continuum of care; to recommend funding; to monitor County funded programs; to provide a forum to discuss priority concerns; and to establish a mechanism for advocacy on behalf of consumers, programs and community actions. The Board also reviews consumer grievances.
Click here to download the Mental Health Board Fact Sheet
The Middlesex County Mental Health Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) & Professional Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (PACADA)
Who Are They? The Executive Directors (or designees) of mental health and addiction service providers who serve Middlesex County residents; representatives from consumer and family organizations; and State liaisons constitute the PAC / PACADA. The PAC/PACADA may also include representation from other related community or social service agencies.
What Do They Do? As the Professional Advisory Committees to the Mental Health Board and LACADA, the PAC/PACADA meets bi-monthly as a forum to share information on best practices and issues that influence the service delivery system.
For further information on Mental Health Services, or to be considered for Mental Health Board membership, please contact: Penny Grande
at 732-745-4313 or Lori Dillon
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