Dorothea Dix

New Jersey has a long and rich tradition of Mental Health advocacy. In 1837 American social reformer Dorothea Dix began a 30-year campaign to see that the mentally ill were taken out of the prisons, where many had been incarcerated. Her campaigns and successes in replacing jails and poorhouses for the mentally ill with professional care by public institutions included founding or enlarging over 30 mental hospitals in the United States and in Europe. Among those was the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, now known as Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. Ms. Dix referred to the hospital as her child and spent her last years living in an apartment on the hospital’s grounds.



Through grassroots advocacy NAMI New Jersey brings a voice to the concerns of families, friends and persons who are affected by mental illness. The strength of NAMI New Jersey grassroots advocacy comes from the collective work of our members and friends, real people who do what they can do to improve the lives of people with a mental illness. The ultimate success of our advocacy initiatives will depend on the number of people who are mobilized to make a phone call, write a letter or visit a key policy maker. Because advocates vary in the amount of time they are able to devote to these efforts, there are opportunities for people to participate for as much or as little as they are able. To learn more about how you can help, contact Matthew Camarda at [email protected] or (732) 940-0991.

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Current Events:

What You Should Know About Mental Health Parity
Wednesday, May 15, 2024, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Mental health parity means insurance plans cover mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and physical health issues equally. What does parity mean in practice, and what laws and rules are in place to enforce it? This presentation by Advocacy & Public Policy Director Matt Camarda will explore the history of mental health parity and how advocacy is needed to keep pushing for stronger parity laws and enforcement. This event will be followed by listening sessions on May 29th and 30th.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Mental Health Parity Evening Listening Session
Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Register here

Mental Health Parity Afternoon Listening Session
Wednesday, May 29, 2024, 1:00 – 2:30 pm
Register here

While most plans are legally required to follow parity, we know that isn’t always the case. Have you experienced challenges in NJ with insurance covering mental health or substance use care that you did not experience with physical care?

• Excessive or different co-payment or co-insurance
• Withholding of authorization, treatment or payment due to fail-first policies
• Limited quantity or frequency of mental health treatment
• More restrictive prior authorization policies for mental or behavioral health treatment
• Excessive concurrent review policies for mental or behavioral health treatment

Come share your story with NAMI NJ and help us advocate for stronger parity. Participants are welcome to share stories at the event (please keep remarks to three minutes) and/or email them to Matt Camarda ([email protected]).