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What Are Mental Health Hotlines For?

New Jersey mental health hotlines can be the last line of healthcare defense between a mental health crisis and either an injury or death. A hotline is a phone number that is in a state of constant operational readiness (why it’s called “hot”) to receive emergency calls. The emergency calls are answered by volunteer staffers.

The main purpose of a mental health hotline is to provide timely and effective help right when the help is needed. Here are 10 different hotline options for those who need emergency mental health support in New Jersey:

Provides statewide information and referral services for a wide array of life’s most basic needs, including mental health
Open 24/7

Launched in 2005, by 2022, the destination “NJ211” was fielding over 1.3 million searches and calls per year to find health and human services. It’s accredited by AIRS, which means the organization employs an elite group of information and referral professionals who adhere to strict standards for handling callers with empathy and storing user data.

Behavioral health services targeted specifically towards youth and families
Open 24/7

Not only is the hotline open 24/7, but Perform Care also has a mobile response unit that sends a behavioral specialist to any home in New Jersey within an hour of calling to diffuse a bad situation.

Behavioral health services targeted specifically towards youth and families
Open 24/7

AtlantiCare is the largest healthcare provider in southern New Jersey, serving over 100 locations across 5 counties. It’s an integrated system of health services that seeks to help people achieve optimal health.

Provides support, assessment, and intervention in the most cooperative and least restrictive manner to New Jersey residents experiencing mental or suicidal distress.
Open 24/7

Launched in 2013, NJ Suicide Prevention Hopeline is the backbone of 24/7 support for the entire state of New Jersey. While there are 4 other phone crisis centers in the state, NJ Hopeline provides backup coverage to make sure any gaps in coverage in the other crisis centers are covered by NJ locals familiar with the local culture and resources.

Helps family members and friends cope with a loved one’s substance use disorder.
Open 8 am-10 pm on Mon-Fri and 5-10 pm on weekends

NJ Connect uses peer family specialists who have personal experience with substance use disorder, either in their own lives or in the life of their family. This means the advice you’re getting isn’t disconnected from reality–it comes from the real world.

Connects veterans in crisis with other trained veterans to help them through whatever they are experiencing.
Open 24/7

The most powerful part of this hotline is that the person on the other end is also a veteran. They will be able to speak the language and have probably experienced the same problem as the veteran calling in. It’s completely confidential, and they follow up after every call to make sure they get the answers they need.

Offers free, anonymous online mental health screenings in cooperation with the organization “Mental Health America.”
Open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm

While this isn’t an emergency line, screening is the fastest tool to determine if you’re experiencing a mental health condition or not. After you get screened, you’ll get custom feedback and a zip code search to help get you started finding treatment.

Provides free crisis counseling to people experiencing mental, physical, or emotional distress.
Open 24/7

When someone texts into CTL, a Crisis Counselor is on the other line. They’re volunteers who have applied, had a background check, and went through a rigorous training program. They move callers from “hot moments to cool calm” through active listening and suggesting referrals.

Provides ongoing telephone support to mental health consumers as they work towards their recovery.
Open Mon-Fri 8am-10pm, and 5-10 pm weekends

Called a “warmline” because it’s not as operationally ready as a “hotline,” PRW still serves the needs of all New Jerseyans struggling with mental health disorders. All the volunteers answering the calls have lived experience with mental health disorders. They utilize a story-based model that helps the recovery process.

A national organization made up of local call centers that can respond to anybody having a crisis in New Jersey or the rest of the United States
Open 24/7

Comprised of over 200 local crisis centers, the suicide and crisis lifeline was launched in 2005 as a partnership between SAMHSA and Vibrant Emotional Health. You can call/text via phone or chat via a computer to contact them. Pressing “1” routes calls to the Veterans Crisis Line.

From the twelve-month period spanning July 2022 to July 2023, over 5 million contacts were made. In July 2023 alone, there were over 400,000 contacts made.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a mental hospital and a treatment center?

A mental hospital will have a more utilitarian approach to treating mental health problems.

They will likely offer detox programs and possibly short-term inpatient treatment but are not set up well to handle long-term care. They may offer day therapy, but the therapy options will likely be limited. It might be the less expensive option.

A treatment center likely exists solely to address addiction recovery. They might have detox, residential, intensive outpatient programs, and aftercare. It could have a more luxurious setting and offer more diverse therapies. It could be the more expensive option.

How can I get mental health help in NJ?

You can get mental health help by calling any of the hotline numbers in this guide.

Many of these phone numbers are staffed 24/7 by trained volunteers who know how to get you the help you need. If their organization isn’t the right one, they know the correct organization to refer you to.

How do I report a mentally unstable person in NJ?

Hotlines can be called for personal mental health reasons or for someone you know.

If you suspect someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call any of these numbers. The numbers are completely confidential and anonymous. If you’re worried about how the person might react if they know you’ve called, the volunteers will make sure you have all the resources you need in order to help this person.

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