Our History

Inspired by the Bayonne-Jersey City Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, a broad cross-section of Bayonne residents, professionals, civic groups and institutions, along with the City of Bayonne, and the New Jersey Department of Institutions, all working together with a common spirit and goal, launched the Bayonne Community Mental Health Center in 1972. The women’s group sparked the Center’s creation by recognizing the need to provide local resources for the treatment of mental health problems. 

With a staff of three professionals, two volunteers, and a budget of $41,000, the Bayonne Community Mental Health Center rendered 300 mental health visits in its first year, then located in a small office on the fifth floor of Bayonne Hospital.

Within a few short years, the Center became a contracted provider with the Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Hospitals, to deliver psychiatric and mental health services to individuals and families affected by mental illness. The Center received funding to provide Outpatient services to children, adolescents and adults, a Partial Care program for the chronically mentally-ill, as well as Consultation and Education, Liaison and Case Management Services. In addition, the Center introduced two SSBG-funded programs, administered by the Division of Youth and Family Services:  child abuse and domestic violence, and alcohol and drug abuse services. The Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Program continues to this day.

In 1998, the Bayonne CMHC became an affiliate of the newly formed Bayonne Health Care System. As a result, the Bayonne CMHC assumed overall responsibility for the management and direction of Bayonne Behavioral Health - an integrated continuum of inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance abuse services provided by Bayonne Hospital and the CMHC.  With an operating budget of close to 4 million, Bayonne Behavioral Health provided a seamless continuum of services to the community that, in addition to those offered by the CMHC, included: a 15-bed adult psychiatric unit, an Acute Partial Hospitalization Program, Adult and Adolescent Outpatient Addictions Programs, and 24-hour Psychiatric Emergency and Crisis Intervention Services.  In October 1999, Bayonne Behavioral Health under the direction of the Bayonne Community Mental Health Center was accredited by JCAHO.

In 2002, the Center and Bayonne Hospital dissolved its affiliation and once again the Center became a free-standing CMHC.  In April of that same year, responding to the needs of the community, the Center sought and secured full licensure by the Department of Health, Division of Addictions Services to provide intensive outpatient substance abuse services to adults, adolescents and their families.

The Center’s primary mission is today, as it has always been: to address the mental health care needs of individuals, families, and institutions in the City of Bayonne and surrounding communities. The Center’s specific aims are: to reduce the severity of the psychological symptoms which diminish individuals’ ability to live freely and productively in their home and community; to help individuals develop their psychological and social strengths in order to improve personal and social functioning; and to help individuals experience a greater sense of self-determination, satisfaction, and connection with others.

For 40 years, the Center has provided essential mental health programs to the residents of Bayonne and neighboring communities, including: Child, Adolescent and Adult Outpatient Psychiatric Services, Child and Family Therapy Programs, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Programs, Crime Victims’ Services, Partial Care Programs for Adults with Serious Mental Illness, Adult and Outpatient Addictions Services, and a variety of successful community awareness and outreach programs.

In 2007 and 2008, the Center entered into collaboration with Women Rising to provide substance abuse services at Project Home in Jersey City, and one with the United Way of Hudson County to provide mental health case management and consultation services to a population of homeless individuals seeking housing at scattered sites throughout Hudson County. 

Today, housed in two facilities, with forty-two professional and administrative staff, and a publicly supported budget of 1.5 million dollars, the Bayonne Community Mental Health Center is fully accredited by JCAHO, holds four State licenses, receives over 2,000 requests for service each year, and renders nearly 34,000 mental health and substance abuse units-of-service per year to Bayonne adults, adolescents, and children.

In addition, for 40 years, the Bayonne CMHC has been an active member in State and County service planning efforts, and has maintained a consistent presence on all related advisory boards and committees.