NAMI Sussex and Saint Clare’s Intensive Family Support Services will co-host a panel presentation to raise awareness about a variety of community resources available to those experiencing a mental health crisis on Oct. 17 from 7-9 p.m.

Not all psychiatric episodes require inpatient hospitalization. This program is intended to make people aware of additional resources that can help meet the various needs individuals 18 and over may have as they find themselves heading toward a mental health crisis.

The program will be held at the Romano Conference Center at Newton Medical Center, 175 High Street, Newton. The conference center is the white building to the right of the hospital.

A representative from Newton Medical Center’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) will explain the criteria that do indicate a need for inpatient hospitalization, and will describe other less acute symptoms for which individuals can be referred to a variety of “outpatient” options. Representatives from five other community mental health agencies will describe the services their programs provide, all of which are available to Sussex County residents. The programs being presented will include the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Assisted Outpatient Treatment, Passaic County Wellness Respite Services - Haledon House, Advance Housing Community Support Services, CarePlus NJ’s Coordinated Specialty Care program to treat early episode psychosis in young adults, and Bridgeway-Sussex Community Support Team’s PATH program for homeless individuals with mental illness.

“These programs are not well known to the general public, and many mental health professionals are not familiar with them, as well,” says Jeri Doherty from NAMI Sussex, the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We thought it would be a good idea to host a program to spotlight the lesser known programs, as well as to clarify what types of symptoms indicate a need for inpatient hospitalization.”

Individuals living with mental illness, their family members and friends, mental health professionals, community leaders, police and first responders, and anyone concerned about mental health issues, are invited to attend, free of charge. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

Pre-registration is requested by calling Saint Clare’s Intensive Family Support Services at 973-702-2863 or emailing carrieparmelee@primehealthcare.com.