Source: NJ Herald
Dozens of healthcare professionals, patients and government officials attended the open house for the states Mental Health Association MHA Wellness Hub, a urgent care facility for local residents dealing with various mental health concerns. The space, located on Spring Street in the county Division of Social Services building, provides psychiatric evaluations, therapy and other support for adults experiencing mental illness.
“I think the problem that we’re seeing very frequently is that there is a real lack of resources for mental health in Sussex County and the surrounding areas,” says said facility director Michele Walsh. “Our area in general is spread out. Everyone is needing mental health services even more now after COVID, and they’re just not there.”
The Hub features what Walsh called a “therapeutic living room,” an open space with couches and a television for patients. There are three wellness rooms for therapy sessions and a conference room to hold group meetings, along with a cafeteria and staff offices.
Patients seeking professional help for the first time may have all the resources they need at the Hub. Others in need of more in-depth services can get preliminary treatment, if they are waiting for a hospital appointment, or be sent directly to the hospital.
MHA welcomes walk-ins and offers a variety of treatment options depending on the patient. Nadine Venezia, the association’s chief operating officer, compared the Newton Hub to a medical urgent care facility, which might send someone with a broken bone to the hospital but can treat a cold or other minor ailments onsite.
MHA is still adding staff to the Hub, which is now open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays along with occasional night and weekend sessions. Eventually, Walsh said, the goal is to be open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
MHA employees at the open house expressed optimism that the stigma surrounding mental health treatment is slowly fading, and that opening a new location in Sussex County will encourage a residents to seek help when they are struggling.
“The overarching goal is to make sure everyone feels comfortable accessing mental health services, and that doesn’t matter what you’re struggling with, who you are, what your job is,” Walsh said. “We really want to make this a comfortable place that anyone can go and start the process.”
For more information on the Wellness Hub, call 973-840-1850 or email wellness HUB @ mha inspire . org.