Tuesday, May 24, 2022

When someone is looking for a new doctor or specialist, the first thing people tend to do is ask their friends in the area for recommendations, rather than going through what seems like hundreds of names given by their insurance company. If that doesn’t yield fruitful results, people then take to their social media or WhatsApp groups to seek recommendations. RinaLi Mental Health (formerly known as the Bergen County Mental Health Resources Spreadsheet) was created approximately one year ago because many people were having trouble finding reliable providers, and struggled with reaching out to others for recommendations. It was also created so that those who have had success with certain providers can share them with others, albeit in an anonymous fashion.

As someone who has suffered with mental illness for the majority of my life, I feel like so much of my time was wasted seeking help from mental health professionals whom I just could not relate to. Finding the right therapist/psychiatrist/support group for each individual is like finding the right shidduch. However, if you are provided with names of mental health providers that others in the community have used and would recommend to others, it would be a much easier point to start from.

I asked members of our community to anonymously submit the names of providers they have personally used, had a good experience with, are in-network with insurance, and would recommend to others. I conducted a lot of my own research and also had a few selfless volunteers who reached out to help me compile all of the information. The spreadsheet includes separate tabs for pediatric, adult and geriatric resources. There is even a new tab that includes support groups. The spreadsheet is by no means an advertisement; please do not reach out to me to add your private practice to the spreadsheet.

Since its creation I’ve had an innumerable amount of people reach out to me for the anonymous link or to add a resource. I’ve also recently had people reach out requesting that I expand the list beyond Bergen County, and the answer was, of course! But in order to do that I need YOUR help. I would like to expand our spreadsheet starting with the tri-state area. If you have any psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, therapists, support groups, organizations, etc., that you or someone you know has used personally and would recommend to others please reach out with their contact information by emailing me at: [email protected] Providers that are in-network with insurance, offer sliding-scale payments, or nonprofits are preferred. Again, this is not an advertisement.

RinaLi means joy to me. Rina is one of the 10 adjectives of happiness used in the seventh sheva bracha at the wedding ceremony, as well as in the seven days of celebration following the wedding. It is meant to bless the married couple, as well as the home they will build together. It is my hope that this will help many people that are struggling to find the help they deserve, and be able to add some joy to their lives and homes, which everyone deserves.

You can follow RinaLi Mental Health on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates, access to the spreadsheet, and encouraging posts. To add a provider or view the spreadsheet you can also email me: [email protected] All views of the spreadsheet are anonymous.

Wishing anyone who needs it: ‘refuat hanefesh u’refuat haguf.’

Shelli Sussman has been working to destigmatize mental health in the Jewish community. She is the founder of RinaLi Mental Health and can be reached at: [email protected]

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