Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Shares Its Comprehensive ‘Stop Teen Suicide’ Video

Acknowledging that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris has released a comprehensive, straight-forward video on how to recognize signs of a troubled mind in a loved one and steps to take to guide the individual to solace and treatment.

The video is viewable at this link:  https://stopteensuicide.mhaessexmorris.org.

The video was created for the Mental Health Association by Melissa Recarte, whose beloved brother, Ricky Godoy, died by suicide on September 21, 2017. Ms. Recarte and friends created a non-profit called Ricky’s Compass to #ShattertheStigma associated with suicide and curb the numbers through positive outreach.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, with Melissa Recarte on right, at a Break the Stigma event in Morristown in 2019.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, with Melissa Recarte on right, at a Break the Stigma event in Morristown in 2019.

The video advises viewers on how to compassionately engage with an individual who has stated or indicated that he or she is contemplating suicide; phrases and words to avoid; and how to help the individual on a path to a healthy recovery.

The video shares stories by relatives and friends of individuals who died by suicide and encourages people to reach out when they need help or when someone they know is struggling.

The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris is one of the partners in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile substance abuse and mental health disorder program, which has made more than 10,400 contacts since its launch on April 3, 2017.

HERE IS THE MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION’S STATED GOAL:

For nearly 70 years, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris County is steadfastly committed to the core tenets that mental illness is real and, more importantly, that recovery is possible. Our mission is to promote mental health, including the integration of physical healthcare, to improve the care and treatment of individuals with mental illness, and to remove the stigma associated with emotional and mental disorders. We as a community organization, accomplish our mission through advocacy, education, prevention, early intervention, treatment and service.

 

 

Shelter-At-Home Mandates Present Opportunity to Clear Medicine Cabinets of Expired and Unused Medications

Sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a perfect opportunity to rid medicine cabinets of expired and unused prescription drugs.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon urges residents to discard outdated and unneeded medications – and keep them from being sampled by people they weren’t intended for – by disposing of them in secure prescription drug drop boxes maintained at most Police Departments in Morris County.

Morris County Sheriff's Officer Joe McGee points to the Prescription Drug Drop Box in the lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building in Morristown.
Morris County Sheriff’s Officer Joe McGee points to the Prescription Drug Drop Box in the lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building in Morristown.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Prescription Drug Drop Box Program was started in 2013 in collaboration with the Rockaway-based Prevention Is Key and the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris.  The Sheriff’s Office maintains a Prescription Drug Drop Box in the lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown. (Please refer to the list below for Police Department locations and types of items accepted for disposal)

In the first 15 weeks of 2020, fatal drug overdoses in Morris County – 27 as of April 21 – are up by 41 percent from the 16 overdoses that occurred over the same time period in 2019. As the escalation also occurs around the state, Sheriff Gannon recommends that individuals in Morris County who are struggling with opioid addiction reach out to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One program’s supportive network of resources.

“People with substance use disorders are vulnerable, and even more so if they are ill with the novel Coronavirus as it can attack the lungs and ability to breathe just as an opioid overdose depresses respiration,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Hope One is a partnership with the Rockaway-based Prevention Is Key (PIK) and its sister agency, the Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES); Daytop-NJ, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, and the Morris County Department of Human Services.

If you or someone you care about needs help, contact the following services:

  • CENTER FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY, EDUCATION & SUCCESS (CARES): 24-hour support line at 973-625-1143. CARES also will deliver Narcan, upon request, in a safe, non-contact way.
  • HOPE ONE: 973-590-0300. For Narcan training via Zoom, please contact Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano at [email protected] or at 973-590-0300.
  • MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF ESSEX AND MORRIS:
    Peer support line from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.: 877-760-4987; 866-445-3902; 800-381-2059. The Mental Health Association has added a daytime number for peer support, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call: 877-760-4987.

Prescription Drug Drop Boxes accept prescription drugs, prescription patches, prescription ointments, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, samples and medications for pets.

The Drop Boxes DO NOT accept thermometers, needles, medication from businesses or clinics, aerosol cans, inhalers or hydrogen peroxide.

Municipal Police Departments in Morris County that participate in the Prescription Drug Drop Box Program include:

Butler Police Department, Chatham Township Police Department, Chester Township Police Department, Denville Police Department, East Hanover Police Department, Florham Park Police Department, Hanover Police Department, Jefferson Township Police Department, Kinnelon Police Department, Lincoln Park Police Department, Long Hill Police Department, Madison Police Department, Mendham Borough Police Department, Montville Township Police Department, Morris Township Police Department, Mount Arlington Police Department, Mount Olive Department, Netcong Police Department, Parsippany Police Department, Pequannock Police Department, Riverdale Police Department, Rockaway Borough Police Department, Rockaway Township Police Department, Wharton Police Department and Washington Township Police Department.

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Reemphasizes Services of Hope One As Fatal Overdoses Rise

Suspected fatal overdoses in Morris County are up by 38 percent over the same 14-week time frame in 2019, prompting the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One team to re-emphasize its network of support services during the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and a Hope One team celebrate making 10,000 connections as of New Year's Eve 2019.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and a Hope One team celebrate making 10,000 connections as of New Year’s Eve 2019.

“Morris County, right now, is following a statewide trend of increased fatal opioid-related overdoses. It’s possible that individuals struggling with addiction feel increased stress during this pandemic or, because of social distancing, lack direct contact with supportive friends and family who normally would check on their welfare,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

“Help from the Hope One team is here, just a phone call away. We don’t accept that anyone agonizing over a heroin addiction or substance use disorder be alone without resources and support, especially at this very difficult time,” Sheriff Gannon said.

So far in 2020, 26 individuals in Morris County have suffered suspected lethal overdoses, including one Thursday night. In the first 14 weeks of 2019, by comparison, there were 16 suspected fatal overdoses.

Following the same upswing, in New Jersey there have been 789 suspected fatal overdoses between January 1 and March 31, 2020.   In the same time frame last year, there were 657 suspected overdose deaths.

A Hope One team of, from left, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey, Mental Health Clinician Madine Despeine-Udoh and Morris County Sheriff's Office Corporal Erica Valvano.
A Hope One team of, from left, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey, Mental Health Clinician Madine Despeine-Udoh and Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano.

Hope One is Sheriff Gannon’s award-winning mobile substance abuse and mental health outreach program launched on April 3, 2017 to stem the crisis of opioid addiction and overdoses.

Hope One, which has made more than 10,400 contacts with individuals since its launch, is a partnership with the Rockaway-based Prevention Is Key (PIK) and its sister agency, the Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES); Daytop-NJ, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, and the Morris County Department of Human Services.

If you or someone you care about needs help, contact the following services:

  • CENTER FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY, EDUCATION & SUCCESS (CARES): 24-hour support line at 973-625-1143. CARES also will deliver Narcan, upon request, in a safe, non-contact way.
  • HOPE ONE: 973-590-0300. For Narcan training via Zoom, please contact Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano at [email protected] or at 973-590-0300.
  • MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF ESSEX AND MORRIS:
    Peer support line from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.: 877-760-4987; 866-445-3902; 800-381-2059. The Mental Health Association has added a daytime number for peer support, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call: 877-760-4987.

The upward trend has led to Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, the Hope One coordinator, urging the 14 municipal police departments in Morris County that are trained in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) to refer known individuals struggling with addiction to Hope One.

“Hope One-PAARI would like to make an aggressive approach to assist people before they overdose,” Corporal Valvano said.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon inside Hope One.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon inside Hope One.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT) examined the overdose data and determined that most of the individuals who recently died had overdosed in the past.

PAARI-participating police departments welcome individuals who voluntarily enter headquarters to request help for a substance use disorder.  Trained Officers screen the individuals and then contact Daytop-NJ, who connects the individual with a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist who assists them in accessing detox, rehab and recovery services.

PAARI-trained law enforcement agencies in Morris County include the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Butler, Chatham Township, Chester, Dover, Jefferson, Mendham Township, Montville, Morris Plains, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mountain Lakes, Mount Olive, Rockaway Borough and Washington Township Police Departments.

Corporal Valvano also is brainstorming with Hope One’s community partners to determine ways of following-up with clients who already have come in contact with service providers.

Despite a temporary halt to the Hope One vehicle making its customary twice-weekly stops in the community due to the coronavirus, its team has aggressively made its telephonic availability and support known.  Upon request, a team member also will deliver free Narcan and advise how it is administered to reverse an opioid-induced overdose.