County to host open house for mental health awareness

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Essex County will host its first Mental Health Awareness Month Open House at the Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove. The goal of the daylong event is to raise awareness about mental health, to educate the public about behaviors that increase the risk of developing mental illness and to break down barriers about the stigma of mental illness. The event will be Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Essex County Hospital Center, 204 Grove Ave. in Cedar Grove.

“Our first annual Essex County Mental Health Awareness Day is an opportunity to break down the stereotypes and overcome the stigma of mental illness. We look forward to welcoming you to the Essex County Hospital Center to learn about the programs, services and agencies available to help individuals affected by mental illness and their families,” DiVincenzo said in a press release.

Approximately 20 local social service providers will be on hand to promote programs and services that can help individuals affected by mental illness and provide support for their families. In addition, there will be information about different types of mental illness and risky behaviors that can cause mental illness. In addition, mental health assessments and medical screenings will be offered. An attraction of the day will be an exhibit of paintings, drawings and sculptures created by people coping with mental illness.

The open house is being held during the month of May, which traditionally has been designated as National Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme of this year is “Risky Business” to educate the public about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. These factors include risky sex, prescription drug misuse, internet addiction, excessive spending, marijuana use and troublesome exercise patterns.

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