PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:

Cathleen D. Bennett

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Integrates Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Patient-Centered System of Care Treats “Whole Person”

The transition of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) into the New Jersey Department Department of Health from the Department of Human Services began today with a new integrated DMHAS webpage, payroll transfer and the physical move of staff beginning this week.

“The Department of Health welcomes the expertise and leadership of the DMHAS as we work together to integrate physical health, mental health and substance use prevention and treatment and ensure that they are addressed like the chronic diseases they are,” Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett said. “Since Governor Christie proposed the reorganization in July, the two departments have been working together to ensure a seamless transition for stakeholders, vendors, consumers, patients and staff.”

The new Integrated Health website is now live at nj.gov/health/integratedhealth, which includes Frequently Asked Questions to ensure stakeholders, employees and vendors are aware of the details surrounding the integration. The Department has also begun using #NJIntegratedHealth on social media to communicate about the transfer. 

“Integrated physical and behavioral health is a national best practice,” DHS Acting Commissioner Elizabeth Connolly said. “DHS made great strides in advancing this goal in philosophy, policy and practice. The Division’s transfer to the Department of Health will take it to another level in inclusion.”

In preparation for the reorganization, the Department and DMHAS leadership co-hosted 16 of 21 county forums around the state where they shared an overview of the integration and outlined how it impacts those served by DMHAS, grantees and staff. At these forums, we heard from several hundred stakeholders and members of the public. The last meeting is scheduled on Oct. 10 in Middlesex County. In addition, 500 stakeholders participated in three teleconferences hosted by Commissioner Bennett, DMHAS Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke and US Department of Health and Human Services Acting Region II Director and Executive Officer Dennis González. The federal Regional II official supported the reorganization and spoke of the need for integration.

The Department will also host separate meetings at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, Greystone Psychiatric Hospitals and Ann Klein Forensic Center to address questions from staff, patients and patients’ families. The dates of these meetings will be posted on the Department’s website.

“The transfer of the Division to the Department of Health reflects the evolution of the behavioral health care continuum in New Jersey and across the country,” said Assistant Commissioner and Division Director Valerie Mielke. “Services related to addiction and mental health were long separated, but then merged under DHS in 2011, as we began to recognize the prevalence of dual diagnoses and the value of treating consumers in a holistic way. We welcome a progression that enhances prevention, wellness, treatment and sustained recovery for the state’s residents.’’ 

“We believe the integration is in the best interests of patients as we create a new system of care that treats the whole person,” Health Commissioner Bennett said. “As the state’s public health agency, the Department of Health is in the best position to identify risk factors and evidence-based best practices, increase awareness about prevention and the effectiveness of treatment, reduce health disparities, and ultimately remove the stigma that prevents people from seeking and receiving the care they need." 

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Last Reviewed: 10/2/2017