Mental Health Outreach and Engagement at Fiestas and Cultural Events

Objective: Engaging with families where they naturally gather to commemorate special events to raise awareness of mental health.

Description: As the community naturally comes together to mark special events and celebrate holidays, they present an opportunity that is organic. Outreach can be conducted in public places and at community events such as parades, parks, museums, and other public venues. For example, Puerto Rican Day parades in several cities provided the opportunity for innovative outreach and engagement of families in mental health services and in enrolling their children in statewide children’s health insurance. Families were engaged through the distribution of materials at tables and by having the opportunity to informally discuss signs and symptoms of mental illness experienced by their family members in a non-threatening environment. As always, the ultimate objective was to reduce and eliminate stigma and to engage children and adults in treatment.

Population of Focus: Hispanic or Latino, Adults, Children, Adolescents, Transition aged, Elderly

Setting: Community center, Parks & recreation

Level of Intervention: Community, Family, Individual

Resources/Qualifications Needed: Staff training

Partners: National Mental Health Alliance and Mental Health America, both statewide and locally

Background: The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addictions Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA) is comprised of the leading mental healthcare and addiction treatment providers who treat New Jersey residents with mental illness, addictions or co-occurring disorders, as well as the families of these individuals. Our membership represents organizations in every county and almost every community statewide – nearly 98 percent of the behavioral healthcare market in New Jersey. NJAMHAA’s mission is to champion opportunities that advance its members’ ability to deliver accessible, quality, efficient and effective integrated behavioral healthcare services to consumers who have mental illnesses and/or addictions, and their families. NJAMHAA is committed to recovery and wellness for all consumers.


Debra L. Wentz, Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Association of Mental Heatlh & Addictions Agency
609-838-5488, ext. 292
3575 Quakerbridge Road, Suite 102, Mercerville, New Jersey 08619