Getting to brighter days

For many, the challenges of life are what make the day exciting; for others, those same challenges can seem dreadfully insurmountable. While the quest for that ever-elusive answer to why things are the way they are can be debilitating at times, maybe comfort comes in knowing that you are not alone. The Princeton community is filled with resources to support you and those you care about when facing struggles of mental illness, grief, loss, and other hardships.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Mercer County, “nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year. Regardless of race, age, religion or economic status, mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children across the United States.” NAMI offers professional counseling, family support services, social groups, courses on mental health for caregivers and individuals, and a dedicated helpline of trained volunteers and mental health professionals available to chat and offer guidance.; Helpline: 609-799-8994.

Capital Health Emergency Mental Health Services Center is available 24/7 to those who are experiencing an immediate emotional or mental health crisis. Serving adults and children, the Center offers trained professionals, nursing assessments, psychiatric evaluation, referral services, and access to inpatient care. It also offers outpatient services such as individual counseling, family therapy, and crisis prevention.; 24/7 Helpline: 609-396-HELP (4357).

At Princeton House Behavioral Health, a unit of Princeton Healthcare Systems, board certified medical professionals offer “compassionate treatment and care for people who need psychiatric support, have chemical dependencies or who struggle with a combination of emotional and addiction problems.” Inpatient and outpatient services are available for children, teens, and adults, with outpatient facilities at several locations in central NJ.; Inpatient Admissions: 800-242-2550; Outpatient Admissions: 888-437-1610.

Just next door to Princeton in the Skillman/Belle Meade area is the Carrier Clinic, which also offers compassionate care to people all ages who need help overcoming addiction, emotional problems, and mental illness. With specialty units available for children and older adults, the facility offers a variety of ways to treat, including “an inpatient hospital and on-site residences, two gymnasiums, a modern cafeteria, amphitheater, multi-sensory room, library and chapel, with special areas for our art, music, dog therapy and other programs.”; 24/7 Hotline: 800-933-3579.

The New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse “maintains a database of over 6,500 local, national and online self-help groups dealing with addiction, disability, loss of a loved one, health, mental health, relationship issues, family and parenting issues, and other stressful situations.” The Clearinghouse can connect you with others who understand what you are going through as well as help you to start a support group of your own and become a friend to those in need.; Phone: 800-367-6274.

Anchor House is a local organization based in Trenton that is dedicated to supporting runaways, homeless, and abused teens. It is “a safe place to rest; wait through the storm while in crisis and a way to move on when the crisis is calmed.” Anchor House offers emergency shelter for kids and teens ages 10 to 17, crisis intervention, aftercare, and parent counseling. It also provides training and support for those ages 18 to 21 who are transitioning to become independent adults in the community, including living accommodations, job skills, food, clothing, and therapy.; 24/7 Helpline: 609-396-8329.

Based in downtown Princeton, Corner House is a counseling center that helps kids and teens who are experiencing substance abuse and other emotional problems. Focusing on prevention and outreach programs that build confidence and positive self-image while promoting life skills in young people, Corner House offers students leadership opportunities, chat groups, peer modeling, substance abuse prevention workshops, and more.; Phone: 609-924-8018.

Let the library be a resource for you, as well. Through a pilot internship program, Princeton Human Services will offer part-time referral assistance at the library. Stop by on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10 am and 4 pm to meet with Jackie, who is currently working towards a Master of Social Work at Rutgers University.  Jackie is equipped with the knowledge and tools to help connect you with community resources to support your needs. And as always, we have a collection of books and films that can educate and open paths to discussion among you and your family about mental illness, substance abuse, and coping difficulties.

(Photo credit)

Originally posted August 12, 2014, this blog has been updated with current information.  

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