Healthy New Jersey

Office of the Public Defender

Division of Mental Health Advocacy

Carl J. Herman - Division Director of Mental Health Advocacy; Regional Supervisor of Atlantic, Camden, Gloucester, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union Criminal Trial Regions
Ann Portas - Assistant Division Director
Lorraine Hunter-Hoilien - South Jersey Managing Attorney
Kathleen Carbonetti - North Jersey Managing Attorney
Cynthia Seda-Schreiber - Central Jersey Managing Attorney

Located within the NJOPD, the Division of Mental Health Advocacy (MHA) provides representation at initial commitment hearings, periodic review hearings, voluntary approval hearings and placement hearings at federal, state, county, general and private psychiatric hospitals for adults and children in the counties of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, Somerset and Union, as well as children from Bergen County.  More counties will soon be added. MHA also provides legal representation of Division of Developmental Disabilities' clients at guardianship of the person hearings and provides legal representation for individuals committed involuntarily under the "Sexually Violent Predators" law.  MHA is also available on a limited basis to provide legal representation for adults and children hospitalized for treatment of a mental illness, where the representation best advances the interest of similarly situated individuals.

MHA's toll-free number (1-877-285-2844) will direct your call to the appropriate regional office.  If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health or substance abuse problem, there are many ways to access help.  If there is an emergency, or you believe that you or someone else is in danger, dial 911 immediately.  For questions about mental illness or accessing services or other non-emergency matters, you can contact NJ Mental Health Cares at:  Phone: (866) 202-HELP (4357)

Email:  Trained clinicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

In December 2018 the Division of Mental Health Advocacy filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the residents at the Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital.  Click this link to view the lawsuit in its entirety

On June 10, 2019 the Office of the Public Defender filed an Amended Class Action Complaint against New Jersey state officials in the litigation addressing a litany of serious problems at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital that are endangering patients and compromising their care.  The Amended Complaint adds seven new plaintiffs to the class action complaint filed on December 17, 2018 and details how conditions have continued to erode and remained dangerous in the more than six months since the original complaint was filed.  View the Amended Complaint  On June 13, 2019 a Preliminary Injunction was filed, and on July 3, 2019, the Public Defender filed a Reply Brief in support of their Motion for Injunctive Relief.  See Press Release and Brief.    

An extremely favorable settlement was reached on November 12, 2020 representing a major victory and important improvements in the conditions at Greystone.  See Final Settlement

The Greystone Oversight Committee will issue an annual report regarding the hospital's adherence to the Settlement Agreement. The 2022 Report may be viewed here. 2022 Annual Report

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