By James M. Cooney, LCSW Chief Executive Officer
For Community Mental Health Centers across New Jersey FY ’18 was a challenging year. With the transition to a new State Fee-for-Service (FFS) funding model, a new Governor, a move to the State Department of Health & Senior Services last September, and then again a move back to the Department of Human Services in June, we have had our hands full. Despite all the moves and changes, and the challenges of FFS, Ocean Mental Health Services, Inc. (OceanMHS) has had a very good year. As the largest mental health provider in Ocean County, NJ, we remain committed to delivering comprehensive mental health and substance use treatment options as the foundation of our pledge to the community!
And as testimony to the quality services OceanMHS has been providing throughout Ocean County, this past September we were honored to be selected by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to become one of only 52 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) in the country. This certification comes along with a special SAMHSA grant for new and expanded program development which will allow the agency to: increase access to and improve the quality of community behavioral health services, deliver access to services to those with serious mental illness (SMI) or substance use disorders (SUD), including opioid disorders, expand services to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and individuals with co-occurring disorders (COD), and provide primary care services to all OceanMHS clients. This is truly an exciting opportunity for OceanMHS and Ocean County!
In addition to being named a CCBHC, additional highlights include:
• Developing the new Keeping Families Together (KFT) program. The KFT program model includes services to help families achieving housing stability, greater family functioning, child well-being, community integration, work readiness and employment, peer support, physical/mental health, recovery, socialization, access to concrete supports and public benefits, and skills and opportunities that foster increased self-sufficiency and personal responsibility for one’s life.
• Ocean Academy, OceanMHS School, has expanded its Art Infused Curriculum and become a leader in the state using artistic expression as a part of its pedagogy for education.
• Through new funding from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, we were able to add five new beds to our residential services program for clients who suffer from a combination of mental health and physical health problems
• The OceanCares Foundation hosted its most successful event to date. The Clambake for a Cause held at the Crystal Point Yacht Club proved the dedication and commitment of the community and our donors by raising $30,000 for program enhancements.
Together, with the creation of new programs and the expansion of existing programs, 2019 will be an exciting opportunity to position ourselves in delivering the highest quality of behavioral health services to Ocean County, NJ and the surrounding areas.