Behavioral Health

Most NJ FamilyCare members can get mental health and substance abuse services from any Medicaid-approved provider by using their NJ FamilyCare cards.  Members who are clients of the Division of Developmental Disabilities will get mental health and substance abuse services from Aetna Better Health of New Jersey.

We cover some services related to mental health or substance abuse disorder. You can ask us to help you coordinate these services between the Medicaid-approved provider and our program. This includes certain drugs that require your doctor to get a prior authorization before the prescription is filled. Your doctor must call us for approval before you can get any drugs that need a prior authorization.

If you need this kind of help please call Member Services at 1-855-232-3596, TTY 711.

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that can disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood and daily functioning.  One in four adults experiences a mental health disorder in a year and about one in 10 children lives with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

Mental illnesses include:

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Borderline personality disorder

Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is not a normal part of aging. 

Different people have different symptoms. Some symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or "empty"
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable, anxious, or guilty
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feeling very tired
  • Not being able to concentrate or remember details
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Overeating, or not wanting to eat at all
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.

Some of NAMI's programs include:
Peer-to-Peer is a free, 10-week education course on the topic of recovery for any person living with a serious mental illness. Led by mentors who themselves have achieved recovery, the course provides participants comprehensive information and teaches strategies for personal and interpersonal awareness, coping skills and self-care.

Family-to-Family is a free, 12-week course for family caregivers of adults living with mental illness. An evidence based practice taught by trained NAMI family members who have relatives living with mental illness, the course provides caregivers with communication and problem-solving techniques, coping mechanisms and the self-care skills needed to deal with their loved ones and the impact on the family. Also available in Spanish. is an online social community for teens and young adults living with mental illness, is a place where they can connect while learning about services, supports and handling the unique challenges and opportunities of transition age years.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are two types of problem drinking.

Alcoholism is when your drinking causes serious problems in your life, yet you keep drinking. You also may have a physical dependence on alcohol. This means that you need more and more alcohol to feel drunk. Stopping suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms.

Alcohol abuse is when your drinking leads to problems, but you are not physically dependent on alcohol. These problems may occur:

  • At work, school, or home
  • In your personal relationships
  • With the law
  • From using alcohol in dangerous situations, such as drinking and driving

Alcohol use disorder
Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. Approximately 7.2 percent or 17 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had an AUD in 2012. Adolescents can be diagnosed with an AUD as well, and in 2012, an estimated 855,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had an AUD.

To assess whether you or loved one may have an AUD, here are some questions to ask.  In the past year, have you:

- Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?
- More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
- Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
- Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
- Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
- Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
- Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
- More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or    having unsafe sex)?
- Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
- Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
- Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of your symptoms to see if an alcohol use disorder is present.

Are you wondering if you have an addiction to alcohol?
Are you concerned about the role alcohol plays in your life?  With 26 questions, this simple self-test is intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism. 

Need help with a drinking problem?
Alcoholic Anonymous is a good place to start