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Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services
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National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
New Jersey Housing Resource Center
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Peer Recovery Warm Line

The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) within the New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS), houses a highly specialized mental health Disaster and Terrorism Branch (DTB)The Branch is responsible for administering as well as directly providing emergency response behavioral health programs to assist the citizens of New Jersey.  During a Presidential disaster declaration, the Director of the DMHAS' Disaster and Terrorism Branch is responsible for coordinating the mental health response by activating the state's mental health disaster plan. After a declared disaster, DMHAS's Disaster and Terrorism Branch works with its Federal Partners to offer FEMA funded Crisis Counseling Programs (CCP) in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in disaster declared NJ communities.  The CCP model provides psychoeducation, individual and group crisis counseling and assessment, referral and resources linkage.  There are two phases to the Crisis Counseling program: the Immediate Services Program (ISP) is funded for the immediate 60 days following a disaster declaration. If needed, the Regular Services Program (RSP) funds services for an additional 9 months.

The effects of disasters go beyond bricks and mortar and touch the lives of those impacted by the event.  A disaster is a natural or human-caused occurrence (e.g., hurricane, tornado, flood, tsunami, earthquake, explosion, hazardous materials accident, mass criminal victimization incident, war, transportation accident, fire, terrorist attack, famine, epidemic) that causes human suffering.i    Typical reactions to disasters can be physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral. 

Disaster recovery occurs over time in phases and is not a linear process, with movement in and out of phases.  This graphic provides a typical disaster recovery trajectory.  Some disasters, due to their scope and magnitude, take more time for individuals and communities to recover. 

Reference for graphic: SAMHSA CCP Training Program

The unprecedented damage to New Jersey and its residents from Super Storm Sandy is an example of this type of disaster recovery process. In the Pre-Disaster phase, the NJ DMHAS has provided an array of services, starting pre-storm.  DTB deployed its staff and Disaster Response Crisis Counselors to shelters that were housing evacuees.  DMHAS was awarded funding for a FEMA Crisis Counseling Program which was named NJ Hope and Healing. The four service providers for the program were Family Service Association of Atlantic County, Barnabas Institute for Prevention, Family Service Bureau of Newark and the Mental Health Association in NJ.  Over 200 crisis counselors were hired, vetted, trained and deployed to impacted communities to provide crisis counseling.   This project lasted 15 months and reached close to 500,000 through brief contacts, individual and family contacts of a longer duration and support groups.  Specialized groups were developed to address the particular needs of at-risk populations, such as children and older adults.  The services provided by trained crisis counselors assisted so many affected New Jerseyans in understanding their emotional reactions.  Disaster research shows that early interventions after such events, that recognize people's strengths, connect them to natural supports help to mitigate the development of mental health disorders, such as depression, alcohol abuse and PTSD.  The nature and intentional design of the FEMA CCP model incorporates all of these essential components.

While NJ Hope and Healing was winding down, NJ DMHAS staff was planning for the next phase of Sandy recovery services, based upon the experience of NJ Hope and Healing and disaster research on the post disaster behavioral health needs of affected communities.  Funded through an act of Congress, the Sandy Disaster Appropriations Act, ( Public Law 113-2 January 29, 2013, made federal funds available to states with Presidential Disaster Declarations.  The NJ Department of Human Services took the lead in applying for these funds through the Administration for Children and Families, the cognizant agency for the Supplemental Social Service Block Grant.  NJDHS along with the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families received $226M in SSBG funds

SuperStorm Sandy Recovery Services

Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funding was awarded to the Department of Human Services in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.  The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services is using its designated  portion of the award for services to individuals with mental health and substance use disorders who resided in Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties during the storm.  Descriptions of available SSBG Sandy Recovery Services, which are available through September 2015, are described below.

Mental Health and Substance Use Services Awareness Campaign and Access
The New Jersey MentalHealthCares Helpline directs callers to appropriate service entry points. With a toll-free, confidential phone call, individuals may also obtain information, referral resources, advocacy and supportive counseling from trained professionals by calling (866) 202-HELP (4357), (TTY 877-294-4356), from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight.  All messages left between midnight and 8:00 a.m. will be returned the next day.  Multilingual services are available.
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Outpatient Counseling Services
Mental health and addictions outpatient counseling is available to Sandy survivors, who are seen by one of a network of credentialed private practitioners with offices in the impacted counties.  A tele-health option is also available. Services can be accessed by calling the NJ MentalHealthCares Helpline at (866) 202-HELP (4357) (TTY 877-294-4356).
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Early Intervention Support Services (EISS) in Monmouth and Ocean Counties
The EISS program provides short term mental health services and outreach to adults with a serious mental illness who are experiencing significant emotional or psychiatric distress and are in need of immediate intervention. EISS offers crisis intervention and crisis stabilization services in a setting that is an alternative to hospital based emergency room treatment. Services can be accessed by calling the NJ MentalHealthCares Helpline at (866) 202-HELP (4357) (TTY 877-294-4356).

The following services have been extended beyond September 2015:

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Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative (RRI) Substance Use Disorder Treatment
RRI is designed to increase access and capacity for substance use disorder treatment services for consumers living in one of the ten significantly storm-impacted New Jersey counties. Services include detoxification and short-term residential treatment.  To access substance abuse treatment services, please call the N.J. Addiction Services Hotline 1 (844) 276-2777.
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Supportive Housing Vouchers and Wrap-Around Services
DMHAS, through a competitive RFP process, is providing time-limited supportive housing and supportive housing services for 295 individuals with a substance use disorder and/or mental illness who resided in one of the 10 impacted counties between October 28th, 2012 and October 30th, 2012.  140 vouchers are available to individuals with a substance use disorder and 155 to individuals with a mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder.  Additionally, case management, career services, including supportive education and employment services are offered.
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Legal Services
The Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is providing legal services to persons with legal issues directly related to SuperStorm Sandy.  Services can be accessed by contacting the CHLP at (732) 380-1012.
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iFederal Emergency Management Agency CCP Model Toolkit
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