Commissioners Honor Mental Health Awareness Month

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – Each year during the month of May, the Board of Commissioners honors Mental Health Awareness Month to increase and amplify this critical topic that impacts the health and welfare of our residents. Established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month is a national campaign to educate people on the vital role that mental health plays in their overall well­-being.


Mental and behavioral health conditions can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, or income level. Recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show that the United States is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Nearly one out of every five people experienced anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions in the last year.


“Mental health is incredibly important, yet it is often left out of the conversation when it comes to taking care of ourselves,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge. “You cannot be well if your mental health is unattended to and throughout this month, we really want to highlight the resources that are available for those struggling with their mental health.”


The main event of Mental Health Awareness Month here in Camden County will be the annual Mental Health Walk. This event shows solidarity with those impacted by mental health challenges and will be held at Wiggins Park in Camden on May 18 at 10 a.m.


In 2023, the county expanded its mental health services, thanks to funds from the state’s opioid litigation settlement. These initiatives include:

  • Post crisis follow-up case management services after a patient has been discharged.
  • Provide school aged children who have been suspended/expelled due to mental health/behavioral issues access to a licensed clinical mental health professional at no cost. They will have expedient access to mental health clearance evaluations to return to school.
  • Socialization, recreation and support group services for boarding home residents
  • Introduce mental health navigators in coordination with the Project SAVE Program in the Camden County Municipal Courts. Project SAVE is a program instituted in 2018 to focus on early intervention by a licensed social service professional in the municipal court system to combat the scourge of substance use disorder. These navigators will be an outgrowth of the program with a specific mental health component co-occurring challenges of both mental illness and opioid use disorder. 

Another aim of Mental Health Awareness Month is breaking the stigma about mental health conditions to make it so that reaching out for help is easier and more normalized.


“Unfortunately, talking about mental health is still pretty difficult for a lot of people,” Betteridge continued. “There is an element of shame or embarrassment attached with the topic, when there shouldn’t be. So, this month we also want to open up the conversation about mental health and emphasize that prioritizing your mental health is commendable and nothing to be ashamed of.”


For residents seeking help, contact Camden County’s Office of Mental Health & Addiction at (856) 374-6361 or visit the website at The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also has a treatment locater available at this link. If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call or text 988 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.