July 2023 I Volume 7

The New Jersey Self-Help Clearinghouse is a program of the Mental Health Association in NJ
This quarterly newsletter will feature quarterly spotlights (of NJ support groups, programs, and organizations), information on the NJ Self -Help Clearinghouse, Upcoming trainings and workshops to support the support group facilitators throughout the state, resources for support groups throughout NJ, announcements of new support groups that have been formed, and much, much more!

Greetings from the New Jersey Self-Help Clearinghouse! 

Here we are at a great transition time of the year. As we transition into Summer, the school year ends and Summer begins, regular work hours go to summer hours for some (thank you MHANJ management) and in general we go to a slightly more relaxed time of year. It’s also time for a lot of celebrating for our program. 

As we wrap up June’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Men’s Health Month, Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and PTSD Awareness Month and a celebration of Juneteenth, we move into July’s BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month (formerly called Minority Mental Health Awareness Month) and Disability Pride Month. 

June was an incredibly busy month of celebrations for the NJ SHCH Team

As members of the MHANJ PRIDE Team, Eve Ellsworth and Kelly Uhland staffed the booth, marched and rode in 2023 Jersey Pride Parade and Festival

MHANJ’s PRIDE Team theme is:

Take Pride in Your Mental Health….We do!!!

Here Eve is with Bob Kley, MHANJ’s VP and COO-

Here are a few more pics of MHANJ Staff at Pride. Visit out Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NJSelfHelpGroupClearinghouse for more pictures!

Welcome Kayla!

The Clearinghouse is so happy to announce our newest team member Kayla! Kayla is joining the team as our Administrative Assistant and will be our self-help support group guru going forward (with the help of Eve). She is currently a clinical mental health graduate student, studying at Monmouth University. Just in the nick of time as the number of requests for support groups, coming in from our website, increased exponentially the past couple weeks. Folx must have known that Kayla had just started and wanted to make sure she got busy right away! We are so excited to have her on the team!

The next big June Celebration was Juneteenth MHANJ's Community Education Department, including Clarissa Wheat, Director of the PEWS Program and Lynette Sheard, Director of the New Jersey Mental Health Players recently provided an informative virtual session on Facebook Live in celebration and commemoration of Juneteenth. We here at the Clearinghouse find this to be an exceptional video to learn about Juneteenth! Click below to access the video.


Retirement Celebration!

Although not an “official month” yet, late in June, we were privileged join the celebration for Deacon Laverne Williams, fondly known to us as Ms. Laverne, on her retirement after 38 years at MHANJ as the Director of PEWs program where she Promoted Emotional Wellness through Spirituality. We love you, Ms. Laverne, and there is “nothin’ you can do about it”. 

Here is the SHCH Team with Ms. Laverne-

Here is your Clearinghouse Team with Clarissa Wheat (Co-worker) and Kathy Skelton (friend of the Clearinghouse)

The NJ Self-Help Clearinghouse Team unofficially declares June 2023 as Deacon Laverne Williams Month – Keepin’ it Real – One Decade at a Time!

WRAP for Veterans

In April, for the first time ever, we held our first WRAP® for Veterans Seminar 1 Workshop, hosted by the VFW in Little Egg Harbor. A total of nine veterans from various branches of service, one spouse of a veteran and one very patient service animal completed this training. Several of these veterans that work as peers on the Veterans Suicide Response Team for the Wilmington VA Medical Center serving southern NJ will go on later this year to become Certified WRAP® Facilitators. Along with my Co-Facilitator, Randy Elfenbein of MHA Union County, it was truly an honor and a privilege to share this life enhancing and lifesaving workshop with this group.

Best Certificate of Completion ever! For Alpha the Service Dog:

And……let’s make sure to spread the word about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Awareness Month! Use the QR Code below to access the Mental Health America BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month Toolkit and to learn more!

Enjoy your summer, support each other and do not hesitate to reach out for assistance in starting new groups, for technical assistance with your existing groups, to find a support group of any kind, to update us with new group information, changes or just to say HELLO!

The NEW JERSEY SELF-HELP CLEARINGHOUSE was started in 1981 as the first statewide operation of its kind in the country. The mission of the Clearinghouse is to help people find and form all types of self-help support groups in order to provide hope, strength and experience to those in need in order to not feel alone.

  • Information on Self-Help Support Groups
  • Assistance with Starting New Support Groups
  • Trainings and Workshops
  • Support Provided via the MHANJ Call Center to those in need of immediate support

Looking to start a support group?

Step 1: Attend a Quarterly "How to Start a Support Group" Webinar.
Step 2: Schedule a meeting with one of the NJ Self Help Group Clearinghouse staff to discuss what was learned in the webinar and how to put what was learned into action.
Step 3: Keep in touch with the Clearinghouse for any troubleshooting once the group is up and running and update on any group detail changes to be reflected in the Clearinghouse Database.
Step 4: Attend regular webinars offered by the NJ Self Help Group Clearinghouse to enhance your support group!

Click Here to Add or Update your Support Group Information in our Database

While visiting booths at the Jersey Pride Festival in Asbury Park, Eve stopped by the MOCEANS Center for Independent Living table. There she was met by Sherone Rogers, Monmouth PASP County Coordinator. While learning about this Center, Eve's thoughts went to the Atlantic Center for Independent Living and the idea was sparked to spotlight these centers in this SHCH Newsletter. She learned, literally last week, that July is Disability Pride Month, so……

In honor of Disability Pride Month, this Newsletter will be spotlighting the New Jersey Centers for Independent Living. So what is a Center for Independent Living here in New Jersey? To best understand what a Center for Independent Living is and what services are provided by these organizations provide, we reached out to Sherone Rogers who agreed to be interviewed. Here is what Sherone had to say.

Sherone Rogers, Monmouth PASP County Coordinator,

Moceans Center for Independent Living

Tell me about your involvement with this organization/program?

I am the Monmouth County Coordinator of a state-funded program that awards eligible individuals living with permanent physical disabilities to hire personal assistants to help them with their activities of daily living, or ADLs.

What can you tell us about the types of self-help groups the organization offers? 

Moceans CIL supports people with disabilities to solve problems, open minds, and create opportunity. We do this by providing Peer Support, Independent Living Skills Training, Information & Referral, Individual & Systems Advocacy, Transition to Community Life, and Support Coordination services to the DDD population.

What self-help support groups are offered? Are the groups online / in-person or both? Are there any costs? Are they open to the public? Is there a registration process?

  • A weekly Peer-to-Peer group; a virtual platform offering participating individuals a safe space to discuss shared experiences and topics of interest while reducing isolation. A licensed practitioner participates in the discussion each week.
  • Happy Hour is a fun, virtual bi-monthly Friday evening experience offered from October to April. The focus is on entertainment and each session has a guest performer. Past Happy Hours have featured professional comedians, singers, magicians, dancers, chefs, and more. Participants have reported feeling an increased sense of belonging, feeling of camaraderie, and reduction of stress and isolation.
  • Stroll & Roll is an in-person, bi-monthly wellness walk. Participants reduce stress, improve their overall moods, and socialize while working to improve their physical health.
  • For a full list of our events, please visit www.moceanscil.org to join our newsletter mailing list.

Both in-person and virtual self-help support groups are offered at no cost to the community. We usually don’t require registration for our groups, but often ask individuals to RSVP with their names, email addresses and phone numbers so that we can contact them in case of a change of event time, venue, etc.

What is your target “audience”?

We serve individuals with any and all disabilities, living in Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as their families and caregivers. Of course, people from other communities are welcome to participate in our activities, both virtual and in-person. Family members and caregivers from other communities are welcome to our activities in both counties.

How do people find or get referred to your groups?

The best way would be to go to our website and join our mailing list. Individuals are also often referred by other agencies or hear about us through word of mouth.

What is the message that you want to get out to potential group members/attendees:

If you are living with ANY disability, please reach out to us; there is SOME way that we can help you live your BEST LIFE.


The MOCEANS Center for Independent Living is only one of the CILs here in NJ – Here is the up-to-date link for all NJ county CILS https://njacil.org/ 

Zoom Meeting Link

While researching more about the NJ Centers for Independent Living Eve spoke with Carolyn Quinn of MHA Atlantic County who collaborates with Donald Campbell and additional staffers at the Atlantic Center for Independent Living to bring online support groups for people with disabilities of all kinds. Carolyn, always ready with a wealth of knowledge and resources, was able to provide us with this listing of online groups that are sponsored by the Atlantic CIL and hosted by MHANJ’s UBW – United By Wellness Virtual Wellness Center. 


These groups are open to anyone in any NJ County. To sign-up to attend these Whole Health Community/United By Wellness virtual support groups and all groups offered by UBW, go to: http://www.mhaac.info/ubw-how-to-join.html - Each day you will receive an email listing that day’s group offering. One particular group will be highlighted each day and if you scroll down towards the bottom of the email you will see the particulars for each group and a zoom link to join. See below for a list of their support group offerings.

An IMPORTANT FACT about the NJ CILs is that as long as an individual is aware that there is a local CIL in their county or a nearby county, they are able to receive services from any CIL. There is “No Wrong Door” for services and different CILs provide different services.


Many of us in the mental health recovery community are aware of a saying that rings true for self-help support groups - NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US! Did you know that this slogan comes from the Independent Living Movement? 

To learn more about the History of the Independent Living Movement visit this link: https://www.nilp.org/history-of-independent-living-movement/


Thank you to those that contributed, Sherone and Carolyn, and all that provide services at the NJ CILs!

To wrap-up our highlight on the CILs here in NJ, the Clearinghouse wishes you and your loved one's a Happy Disability Pride Month!

Here are some additional resources for Disability Pride Month:

  • Disability Rights New Jersey- New Jersey’s designated Protection and Advocacy agency under federal law. They advance the human, civil, and legal rights of people with disabilities and promote their self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration into all facets of community life.

Second Monday of Every Month from 5:00 to 6:00 PM

Click Here to Register

Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 PM

ACI, 629 Amboy Ave, Edison, NJ

This weekly support group is for anyone looking to recover from substance addiction (alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, etc) as well as people looking for information on how to help loved ones who are struggling. You do not have to consider yourself an alcoholic or drug addict to attend!

Click Here to Register

Fourth Tuesday of Every Month from 5:30 to 7:30 PM

ACI, 629 Amboy Ave, Edison, NJ

When like-minded people come together to share their thoughts, concerns and experiences, there is a sense of community. ACI is inviting parents and loved ones of adults with disabilities (ages 18+) to join us on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Feel free to bring something to share!

Registration is required. Limited to 18 participants. Masks are optional.

If you have any questions, please contact Victoria Romanienko at vromanienko@adacil.org

Click Here to Register
Click Here to Join the Meeting

Additional Flyers Shared by our

Community Partners

Click Here for More Information
Click Here to Email for More Information
Click Here to Email for More Information
Click Here to Email For More Information and to Register

Upcoming Clearinghouse Happenings

Support Group Dynamics

Support Groups typically include people with different personalities, strengths, and challenges. This creates the group’s dynamic. Support group leaders are tasked with managing these dynamics in ways that creates trust, safety, and connection. This webinar will explore different dynamics and provide tools for the group leader to implement in order to create a positive group dynamic among the group members.

Wednesday July 26th @ 10am

Click Here to Register

Understanding the New Jersey

Psychiatric Advance Directive (PAD)

This presentation will provide participants with a basic overview of what Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) look like in New Jersey and how they can be utilized as a self-advocacy tool for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

Attention will also be given to the following topics:

  • Understanding the NJ PAD law
  • How completing a PAD can help an individual in their recovery and how it can benefit healthcare professionals and providers
  • What can be included in a PAD and how it is implemented and used

Click Here to Register

MHANJ Call Lines

The NJ Self Help Group Clearinghouse I Mental Health Association in NJ