NJHA awards Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic for its efforts to promote and improve behavioral health care in N.J.

January 31, 2020

Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic was honored today with the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Health Education and Regional Trust Community Outreach Award for Behavioral Health/Resilience in recognition of Carrier’s ground-breaking efforts to increase awareness of and expand access to mental health and addiction services. Those initiatives include the opening of the nation’s first medically integrated urgent care center with behavioral health and a host of related programs designed to generate improved patient outcomes.

The honor was bestowed at NJHA’s annual meeting at the Hyatt in Princeton.

“Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic has championed a culture of innovation and exploration in the critical battle to defeat mental illness and substance addiction within our families and communities,” said Donald J. Parker, president, Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic, and president, Behavioral Health Care Transformation Services, Hackensack Meridian Health network. “We are honored to be celebrated by our peers at the  New Jersey Hospital Association for all we are doing in this ongoing fight for a healthier New Jersey.”

Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic – the largest nonprofit behavioral health system in New Jersey – was cited for the creation of a care delivery system that is comprehensive in scope, forward-thinking in design, and fully responsive to growing needs in behavioral health.

Among its accomplishments, Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic was recognized for:

– The recent addition of two 20-bed units – the first a state-of-the-art wing that focuses on the most acute and chronic patients, and the second an addictions-treatment program that was specially designed to assist New Jersey’s burgeoning population of opioid addicted patients.

–  The development of a unique healing campus, evident not only in an architectural design that plays on the use of recycled old buildings, the use of windows as palates for painters, and the creation of open, therapeutic natural light spaces, but also seen on Carrier’s bucolic grounds, where peacocks, turkeys and guinea hens roam, and horses lead its animal therapy program, all nestled on a more than 100-acre campus situated in the foothills of the Sourland Mountains.

– The first-in-the-country medically integrated urgent care center with behavioral health, which opened in August adjacent to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.

Hackensack Meridian Urgent Care with Behavioral Health is a traditional urgent care treating minor illnesses such as fevers and flu, upper respiratory infections, sprains and strains, but also offers expanded services to treat short-term outpatient mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and behavioral issues.

– Expansion of Carrier’s Mental Health First Aid training program for first responders and the public, providing education in the identification and assistance of individuals at risk for suicide.

– Creation of a monthly public series of educational webinars on behavioral health topics.

– Carrier’s launch of a weekly, one-hour-long public affairs radio program in January 2019, incorporating community partners among its many guests on behavioral health topics as wide-ranging as opioid abuse and prevention; symptoms of depression; access to mental health services, and culturally appropriate health services for gay, lesbian and transgender patients.

“Carrier will continue to work closely with our many community partners such as Montgomery Police Local 355, Healthier Somerset Coalition, Montgomery-Rocky Hill Community Alliance, and numerous other public and private entities in New Jersey to better ensure that the citizens of our region are educated on the topic of behavioral health and are able to access the proper services when needed,” Parker said. “Future success in these areas is dependent upon strong alliances such as these and Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic is eager to lead the way.”