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A Quarterly Newsletter from NJ MentalHealthCares

Fall 2013
NJMentalHealthCares Helpline helps individuals, families and communities identify, understand and effectively navigate programs that comprise the behavioral health and human services delivery systems.  Built upon the philosophy of an individual's capacity for self-reliance and self-determination through advocacy, affirmation, education  and research NJMentalHealthCares has exemplified commitment to service, community and integrity.  

Is it Seasonal Affective Disorder? 

season affective do Now that Daylight Saving Time is here, some individuals may start to feel that they are suffering from the "winter blues." Symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, reduced energy and loss of interest in regular activity may be associated with  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, often beginning during October and lasting until spring. We will want to keep this in mind during client visits. 


According to American Family Physician, "About four to six percent of people may have winter depression. Another 10 to 20 percent may have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn't start in people younger than age 20. Your chance of getting SAD goes down as you get older. SAD is also more common the farther north you go. For example, it's seven times more common in Washington state than in Florida." SAD is also more prevalent in women. 


There is not one identified specific cause of SAD, although it may be related to a lack of exposure to sunlight which may upset sleep/wake cycle and other circadian rhythms (the body's clock) and production of the brain chemical called serotonin, which then affects mood. Click here to read more about SAD from PubMed Health. Click here for an article about SAD from Matrix Medical Communications


Research Shared on Talk Therapy for Insomnia for People with Depression
Recent research indicates that "Curing insomnia in people with depression could double their chance of a full recovery," according to an article on


The research is one of four studies financed by the National Institute of Mental Health which evaluated  "a type of talk therapy for insomnia that is cheap, relatively brief and usually effective, but not currently a part of standard treatment." Findings reported by a team at Ryerson University in Toronto included that "87 percent of patients who resolved their insomnia in four biweekly talk therapy sessions also saw their depression symptoms dissolve after eight weeks of treatment, either with an antidepressant drug or a placebo pill - almost twice the rate of those who could not shake their insomnia." According to the article, these results align to a pilot study conducted at Stanford. Click here to read more.

  Youth Mental Health News: New Study Discusses Earliest Yet Autism Marker

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health, recently released in the journal Nature, found that eye contact during early infancy may be a key to early identification of autism. "The study reveals the earliest sign of developing autism ever observed - a steady decline in attention to others' eyes within the first two to six months of life."


This study has significant implications for diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. "Typically developing children begin to focus on human faces within the first few hours of life, and they learn to pick up social cues by paying special attention to other people's eyes. Children with autism, however, do not exhibit this sort of interest in eye-looking. In fact, a lack of eye contact is one of the diagnostic features of the disorder," according to a press release from the National Institute of Mental Health. Click here to read more.

ACA and Mental Health

Benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges and NJ State Medicaid Expansion will go into effect January 1, 2014.  Of note for the behavioral health community are the significant steps the ACA takes towards improving access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment and services. The ACA extends the reach of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act with mental health and substance use services now among the ten categories of the "Essential Health Benefits (EHB)" package that must be offered in the exchanges. Under the ACA, behavioral health services are to be offered at levels equal to those for physical health service. More information and resources are available at:

Mental Health America

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 

Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness

  NJMHC Phone

Call Center Statistics

August 1, 2013

October 31, 2013 

Total Calls:  4362


Most Requested:
Behavioral Health 
Services: 84%   
Mental Health Resources

Specific Suicide Prevention Resources


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)


New Jersey Hope Line


Quarterly Care Connection:

Phone Depression Screening Available from NJ


warmline Phone depression screenings will be available from NJMentalHealthCares (NJMHC) throughout the rest of 2013.


This service is part of a new initiative entitled The Quarterly Care Connection: Your Emotional Fitness Check-In with NJMHC. The program will provide the opportunity for New Jerseyans to speak with one of our behavioral health specialists at the NJMentalHealthCares Helpline. Callers may gain insights into important emotional health issues and discuss strategies for living well. To access screening individuals may call 1-886-202-HELP (4357). The topics will change quarterly.



Receives MHANJ

Program Leadership Award 


The NJMentalHealthCares Helpline was one of three Association programs to receive a leadership award from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey at its Annual Meeting in September. The award was in recognition of the Helpline's role in furthering the success of the MHANJ during the last year through its extraordinary flexibility and readiness to adapt to new initiatives and integrate new information.   

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