RWJBarnabas Health Teams Up with National Alliance of Mental Illness of New Jersey to Promote Awareness of Mental Health

Deanna Sperling Named Chair of 2020

Deanna SperlingToms River, NJ, September 17, 2020 – RWJBarnabas Health has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of New Jersey for the NAMIWalks Your Way New Jersey fundraiser walk to promote awareness of mental health and to reduce stigma. Deanna Sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President and Chief Executive Officer, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center will serve as chair for the walk on Saturday, September 26 and RWJBarnabas Health will serve as a Platinum Sponsor.

NAMIWalks is the largest mental health education and fundraising effort in America. This year’s goal is to raise $158,000 in funds to support NAMI’s mission of advocacy, education, support, and public awareness. To ensure that the NAMIWalks NJ 2020 experience is safe, meaningful, and fun while continuing to support, educate and advocate for Mental Health for All, NAMI NJ has shifted to a virtual only walk.

Participants will be able to join the NAMI NJ virtual walk platform, NAMIWalks Your Way, on September 26, 2020 and support mental health with an activity of their choice. Ways to participate include walking 3,500 steps for a 5k Your Way, planning a craft day, holding a virtual bake-off, practicing self-care with a favorite hobby, doing a 5k on the treadmill or stationary bike or hosting a virtual paint and sip party. Participants can join NAMI NJ as they stream a variety of activities and information from 10am to 3pm that day and are encouraged to post pictures, videos and posts of their activity to social media using the hashtags #NAMIWalksNJ2020 #NotAlone and #MentalHealthForAll.

“We are proud to support NAMIWalks Your Way as well as the mission of NAMI NJ, a mission that is now more relevant than ever,” said Deanna Sperling, MAS, RN, NE-BC, President and Chief Executive Officer, Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center. “In May, experts estimated approximately 75,000 deaths of despair directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to double in the coming months due to the slow economy and lack of investment in mental healthcare. With unemployment rates rising along with feelings of isolation and depression because of the pandemic, access to mental health resources and education around recognizing mental illness as well as tips for coping with mental illness are of utmost importance.”

NAMI NJ is a statewide mental health organization that raises awareness and provides education, advocacy and support for peoples and families living with mental illness. NAMI NJ is a nonprofit, grassroots organization addressing mental health needs and replacing stigma with understanding. NAMI NJ provides free support groups for persons with lived experience with mental illness and for family members across New Jersey as well as four multicultural groups and numerous other educational programs.

To register and learn more about NAMIWalks Your Way New Jersey fundraiser please visit

To speak to a clinician or learn more about the mental health resources offered through the RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center and Network call (800) 300 - 0628.

About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the largest, most comprehensive academic healthcare system in New Jersey, with a service area covering nine counties with 5 million people. The system includes 11 acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH in New Brunswick, RWJUH Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH Hamilton, RWJUH Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital with a network of outpatient centers, a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, two trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable care organization.

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 34,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety. RWJBarnabas Health recently announced a partnership with Rutgers University to create New Jersey’s largest academic healthcare system. The collaboration will align RWJBarnabas Health with Rutgers’ education, research and clinical activities, including those at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – the state's only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center – and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care.

CONTACT: Shari Beirne
(732) 914-3805