Hackensack Meridian Health Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month

May 23, 2017

Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals partnering with community to combat opioid epidemic, conducting outreach and education in community, focusing on research and training next generation of mental health providers

Throughout the month of May, Hackensack Meridian Health is recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month.  Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals are focused on providing high-quality mental health services to address mental health issues in the community, ranging from combating the opioid epidemic to outreach and education.

“At Hackensack Meridian Health, we recognize how important providing high-quality mental health services is to the communities we serve,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Mental Health Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to reflect upon the role mental health plays in our society, and Hackensack Meridian Health team members are dedicated to improving patient care through unique partnerships with the community that address the opioid epidemic, substance abuse issues and behavioral health.  We are also helping our communities who are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic by expanding the number of beds we provide for those suffering from addiction or mental health issues.”

Hackensack Meridian Health has a nationally recognized behavioral health program that uses an integrated care model to treat depression and anxiety.  Hackensack Meridian Health team members work with individuals of all ages to create an individual action plan that includes a comprehensive assessment, counseling, and medication management when necessary to promote mental wellness.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is not only making mental health awareness a priority throughout the month of May but each and every day,” said John K. Lloyd, FACHE, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health.  “As we continue to focus on population health management, it is critical that we integrate mental health services into the care we provide to promote the health and well-being of our patients.  We are also hoping to have a positive impact on future health care leaders by underscoring the importance of mental health in our new curriculum at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.”

Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals are partnering with local communities to combat the opioid epidemic.  The health system is committed to expanding the number of beds available to treat patients with drug addiction or mental health issues.  Hospitals in Monmouth and Ocean counties are also partnering with first responders to provide Narcan, a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.

Hackensack Meridian Health is partnering with Seton Hall University to open the only private school of medicine in the State of New Jersey.  The new School of Medicine will focus on how health care will be delivered in the future and its curriculum is designed to improve patient care by teaching new medical students how to handle mental health, alcohol and substance abuse issues.  The School of Medicine will also feature an affiliated graduate education program in psychiatry which will train the next generation of mental health providers through teaching residencies at three of Hackensack Meridian Health’s hospitals, including:Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Ocean Medical Center.  The first class is scheduled to start in 2018.

“Mental health and substance abuse issues affect so many families in our society today, which is why Hackensack Meridian Health is taking this opportunity to recognize the importance of Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Ramon Solhkhah, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center.  “Hackensack Meridian Health is constantly striving prioritize mental health, whether that be by educating tomorrow’s mental health providers at the new School of Medicine or by driving research and innovation in the field of psychiatry.”

In addition, Hackensack Meridian Health established a groundbreaking research program that is focused on developing cutting-edge medications, technologies and treatment interventions to address mental health.  Pilot programs are underway to understand the role telehealth, tele-psychiatry, wearable technology and computer-based care programs will have in the future of behavioral health.

“Mental Health Awareness Month is a great opportunity to not only address the stigma that exists in our society around mental health, but highlight the wonderful mental health services that exist in our communities,” said Joseph A. Miller, Ph.D., FACHE, vice-president, Behavioral Health Care Transformation Services at Hackensack Meridian Health.  “Hackensack Meridian Health‘s behavioral health program is an outstanding example of what we can achieve when we partner with our community to provide comprehensive education and outreach programs, combat the opioid epidemic and provide more mental health services for more young people.”

Hackensack Meridian Health is the first health care organization in the region to offer a behavior management and therapeutic play program for young children.  The health network partners with the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) to offer the Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative Pilot Program (PPC), an innovative state-funded grant program that helps children with behavioral health issues.  The program gives primary care physicians in 11 New Jersey counties access to Hackensack Meridian Health‘s psychiatric pediatric consultations and mental health services in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“Hackensack Meridian Health has made improving behavioral health care a priority across our entire health network,” said Diego Coira, M.D., FAPA, chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, medical director, Integrative Medicine at Hackensack Meridian Health.  “Addressing mental health issues will not only improve the health and well-being of our patients, but it will have a profound impact on the communities we serve.  We look forward to partnering with our communities to provide excellent health care solutions.”

With 70 psychiatrists and nurse practitioners and 700 team members, Hackensack Meridian Health‘s behavioral health program is striving to become a national model for providing excellent mental health services.  In addition to providing extensive outpatient programs throughout the network, Hackensack Meridian Health offers a comprehensive outreach and education program to help address behavioral health needs in the community.  Mental health programs are designed to meeting the needs of patients whether that be through prevention efforts, treating co-occurring disorders, taking an integrative psychiatry approach that incorporates health and wellness or taking a more specialized approach.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.