CarePlus NJ and Bergen New Bridge Medical Center Awarded $800,000 SAMHSA Grant For Bergen County Suicide Prevention and Response Program

Grant Advances Efforts to Prevent Suicide and Suicide Attempts for High Risk Populations in Bergen County

July 24, 2020

Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”), a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children, in collaboration with Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, New Jersey’s largest hospital and a leader in mental health and substance use disorder treatment services, announce they have been awarded an $800,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant will fund the Bergen County Suicide Prevention and Response Program which will advance efforts to prevent suicide and suicide attempts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Working together, CarePlus and BNBMC will orchestrate comprehensive, intensive follow-up and support services for individuals aged 25 and older that are at risk of suicide in Bergen County. A focus will be placed on high risk populations including domestic violence victims and essential personnel as defined during the COVID-19 crisis.

CarePlus and Bergen New Bridge will join forces to develop plans for rapid follow-up and the triaging of adults that have attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis and have presented to emergency departments and/or inpatient psychiatric facilities.  The Bergen County Suicide Prevention and Response Program will provide suicide prevention training to community and clinical service providers and systems that serve at-risk adults. 

The Suicide Prevention and Response Program has adopted the Zero Suicide model, which advocates that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. Additional services provided include suicide screening and assessment, transition to appropriate clinical treatment services, and recovery support services to assist individuals who have attempted or who have been identified as at risk of attempting suicide, as well as impacted household members.

“It is expected that the number of individuals seeking mental health services will rise exponentially due to COVID-19,” said Lorelle Holway, Vice President of Hospital and Clinical Services for CarePlus. “Social restrictions aimed to stop the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in severed support systems, increased levels of stress, anxiety, conflict, violence, and a sense of isolation, leaving many in a state of crisis. Through this grant, we’ll be able to identify individuals that are at high risk of harming themselves and rapidly triage them to the appropriate levels of care and support services to ensure their safety.”

Through the grant-funded program, CarePlus and BNBMC will outline care transition protocols to ensure patient safety, including enhanced services for domestic violence victims, many of which have been trapped at home with their abusers due to lockdown mandates to control the virus. Additionally, the program will also target comprehensive care services to essential personnel who are dealing with grueling workloads, unprecedented stress, PPE shortages, and steep death counts amid the pandemic.

“Research shows that domestic violence victims are prone to suicidal behaviors and the pandemic has created an even more volatile environment for this vulnerable population, which increases their risk of self-harm. Additionally, reports of depression and anxiety are on the rise among our essential workers. This type of trauma can lead to chronic mental health challenges including suicidal ideation, if not properly identified and addressed,” said Deborah Visconi, President and CEO of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. “Through a comprehensive approach to care and employing the Zero Suicide Model across both of our care systems we’re strengthening efforts to ensure that high risk suicidal individuals get the immediate care they need while reducing the number of preventable deaths by suicide.” 

About CarePlus NJ

For more than 40 years, Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”) has been a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children in northern New Jersey. Based in Paramus, New Jersey, CarePlus is committed to providing the most comprehensive integrated treatment options through 72 programs designed to meet the full spectrum of health and wellness needs for adults and children in the communities it serves. Specializing in acute care, CarePlus provides immediate, high-quality health services and support programs for individuals in crisis. Nationally ranked for excellence in customer satisfaction by the Mental Health Corporations of America, CarePlus is mission driven ensuring that anyone who needs it has access to specialized care. To learn more about CarePlus and its wide range of programs and services, visit https://www.careplusnj.org/.

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