ASSEMBLY, No. 1847
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION
Assemblywoman BRITNEE N. TIMBERLAKE
District 34 (Essex and Passaic)
Assemblywoman SHANIQUE SPEIGHT
District 29 (Essex)
Assemblyman ANTHONY S. VERRELLI
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Requires Commissioner of Human Services to establish 24-hour, toll-free Mental Illness Resource Hotline and develop hotline connection system to ensure that callers are connected to other appropriate hotlines when needed.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Human Services Committee on February 3, 2020, with amendments.
An Act concerning the establishment of a Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource Hotline1[,]1 and the connection of callers to other appropriate State-run hotlines, and supplementing Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Commissioners of Health, Community Affairs, and Children and Families, shall establish and maintain, on a 24 hour a day basis, a toll-free Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource telephone hotline service. The hotline service shall receive and respond to calls from persons who are 1[undergoing, or who are seeking help for a person who is undergoing, a] experiencing, or are seeking help for another individual who is experiencing, a non-emergency mental health issue or non-emergency mental health1 crisis 1[or emergency situation resulting from mental illness]1.
1[Hotline] (1) Upon the receipt of a non-emergency call pursuant to this section, hotline1 staff shall 1[provide emergency counseling to callers, in an effort to stabilize the crisis or emergency situation, and shall]1 promptly 1identify, and either refer or directly1 connect 1[callers] the caller1 to 1[other],1 appropriate State and local 1programs, services, health care and mental health care professionals, and other1 resources that can be 1accessed by the caller and1 used to 1[immediately]1 address 1, mitigate,1 and 1potentially1 eliminate the 1non-emergency mental health issue or1 crisis 1[or emergency situation] , as the case may be1. To the extent practicable, 1[callers] the caller1 shall be 1referred to or1 connected with 1programs, services, professionals, and other appropriate1 resources that are available in the same county or region of the State in which the 1person experiencing the mental health issue or1 crisis 1[or emergency situation is occurring] is a resident. Service referrals and connections made pursuant to this paragraph may be facilitated through the use of telephone or digital communications, such as text message, electronic mail, or Internet chat.
(2) If a caller to the Mental Illness Resource Hotline provides any information indicating that suicide may result from the mental health issue or crisis that is the subject of the call, hotline staff shall deem the call to be of an urgent and emergency nature, and shall not provide the caller with referrals to resources, as provided in this subsection. Instead, hotline staff shall effectuate a warm hand-off of the caller to staff at the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hopeline in order to ensure that the caller is provided with direct mental health assistance on an emergency basis. A warm hand-off performed under this paragraph shall involve the use of phone conferencing technology. The staff member transferring the call shall: (a) remain on the line and accessible to the caller during the transfer of the call; (b) formally introduce the caller to the staff member at the Suicide Prevention Hopeline who receives the transferred call; and (c) summarize, for the receiving staff member, the information that necessitated the transfer of the caller to the Suicide Prevention Hopeline. At no time during a warm hand-off conducted pursuant to this paragraph shall a caller be placed on hold1.
b. The Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource Hotline, established pursuant to this section, shall be staffed by licensed professional counselors, psychologists, psychoanalysts, and social workers 1[who have particular experience in mental health crisis intervention, including experience in communicating with persons in mental health crisis, and their families, and]1 who have particular training and knowledge in the institutional and community-based 1programs, services, and1 resources that are available throughout the State to assist persons who are 1[undergoing] experiencing1 a 1non-emergency1 mental health 1issue or1 crisis, and their families. The commissioner shall ensure that the hotline is staffed by persons with diverse ethnic backgrounds 1[,]1 and includes persons who speak both English and Spanish. The commissioner shall further ensure that the hotline either employs or contracts with translators and bi- or multi-lingual 1mental1 health care professionals who can be made available to assist callers, upon request, or when needed.
c. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1991, c.524 (C.30:1-1.1), and any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, the 1[crisis] resource1 hotline established pursuant to this section shall be operated separately and apart from the social services information hotline established pursuant to subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1991, c.524 (C.30:1-1.1), the mental health and developmental disabilities services hotline established pursuant to subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.1991, c.524 (C.30:1-1.1), and any community-based suicide hotlines established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1985, c.195 (C.30:9A-13).
d. (1) The commissioner shall engage in a public awareness campaign, using all available media, including television, radio, print, the Internet, and social media, to inform the public about the availability and purpose of the Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource Hotline.
(2) The public awareness campaign developed under this subsection shall include a component that is specifically designed to inform children and young adults in elementary school, high school, and institutions of higher education about the availability of the hotline. Posters, signs, and other promotional materials used in this component of the public awareness campaign shall employ the use of language that is understandable by, and appropriate to, children and young adults.
(3) Any promotional materials that are used in the public awareness campaign shall be made available in both English and Spanish.
e. The Departments of Human Services, Health, Children and Families, Community Affairs, Education, and Law and Public Safety shall each prominently display the phone number for the Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource Hotline on the departments’ respective Internet websites.
f. 1Staff at the Mental Illness Resource Hotline shall comply with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations related to the protection of individual and patient privacy and confidentiality and shall engage in practices that ensure the security of all collected information, consistent with those laws, rules, and regulations. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection to the contrary, the administrator of the hotline shall collect and analyze appropriate and depersonalized data on the nature and resolution of the calls received by the hotline in order to track the success of the hotline’s operations and identify trends in mental health service needs and outcomes.
g.1 As used in this section:
“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Human Services.
“Health care professional” means a physician, nurse, or other individual who is licensed by the State to provide health care in the ordinary course of business or the practice of a profession.
1“Mental health care professional” means a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, professional counselor, social worker, or any other person who is licensed pursuant to Title 45 of the Revised Statutes and authorized to provide mental health services in the State.1
“Professional counselor” means an individual who is licensed as a professional counselor, pursuant to P.L.1993, c.340 (C.45:8B-34 et seq.), and whose license remains in good standing.
“Psychologist” means an individual who is licensed as a practicing psychologist, pursuant to P.L.1966, c.282 (C.45:14B-1 et seq.), and whose license remains in good standing.
“Psychoanalyst” means an individual who is certified as a psychoanalyst, pursuant to P.L.2000, c.57 (C.45:14BB-1 et seq.), and whose certification remains in good standing.
“Social worker” means an individual who is certified as a social worker or licensed as a clinical social worker, pursuant to P.L.1991, c.134 (C.45:15BB-1 et seq.), and whose license or certification remains in good standing.
“Mental illness” means the same as that term is defined by section 2 of P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.2).
2. a. The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation and coordination with the Commissioner of Health, shall develop a system that requires and enables the staff of any health or human services-related hotline in the State, including, but not limited to, the social services information hotline established pursuant to subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1991, c.524 (C.30:1-1.1), the mental health and developmental disabilities services hotline established pursuant to subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.1991, c.524 (C.30:1-1.1), the Mental Illness 1[Crisis]1 Resource Hotline established pursuant to section 1 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the community-based suicide hotlines established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1985, c.195 (C.30:9A-13), 1the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hopeline,1 and the NJ 2-1-1 hotline, to immediately connect callers to other appropriate State or federal hotlines, as needed to address the callers’ stated needs and issues. The hotline connection system designed pursuant to this section shall ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that 1: (1)1 whenever a person calls a health or human services-related hotline in the State that is inappropriate to their needs, the hotline staff will immediately and directly transfer the caller to another appropriate hotline, without ending the call 1; and (2) whenever a caller to any hotline provides information indicating the intention or potential for suicide, the hotline staff member receiving the call will immediately facilitate the warm hand-off of the caller to the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hopeline, in accordance with the warm hand-off procedure outlined in paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 1 of this act.1
b. The Commissioner of Human Services, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), as may be necessary to implement the hotline connection system required by this section.
3. This act shall take effect immediately.