After changing its name in the spring, Inspira Health Network in South Jersey has consolidated much of it mental and behavioral health care at the Bridgeton site as it expands its facility for adult patients.

 

"We used to have out outpatient programs at other sites and we've integrated them into one building so we can have the whole continuum of care in one building," said Sarah Seabrook-de Jong, administrative director of behavioral health services
 at Inspira Health Center Bridgeton.

"It has a lot of advantages, yes, there are some disadvantages to that — we are not as much in Vineland, but now a client can flow from inpatient to outpatient and make that a seamless flow," Seabrook-de Jong said.

The health network used to be known as South Jersey Healthcare.

Therapist Christine Hopkins says Bridgeton patients get help for mental health and substance problems in one place.

"Very much the trend in mental health right now, and it's a very strong trend in New Jersey," Hopkins said. "We have both kinds of patients and many of our patients have both kinds of disorders. And the recovery skills are the same -- coping skills, communications skills, learning how to settle your body down when your body gets all ramped up with the stress."

Transitioning toward a dual treatment method

About 40 to 50 percent of all psychiatric patients have both problems, Hopkins said.

"Right now, it's a lot times, two separate streams of treatment, and that's not getting us very good results," Hopkins said.

"New Jersey and the federal government are strongly guiding our mental-health treatment systems into the co-occurring approach. We're just at the very, very beginning of that in New Jersey. We're in the transition process now," she said. "Certain facilities will be selected to really move into it starting in 2014."

Hopkins, a creative arts therapist, leads patients in dance and movement, which is a specialty of counseling. She watches for posture changes and places of tension.

Dance and art are proving effective

"Just very gently trying to open some of the holding patterns, some of the very subtle limits in body language," she said. "You know when we talk with someone who's very stiff and rigid in their spine, it's feels very different than when we talk to somebody who's more relaxed and has a more flexible posture."

Hopkins said movement is one tool patients use in cognitive behavior therapy.

"A kind of steering wheel of your mind, where you begin to redirect your attention to thoughts and feelings that are more beneficial to your mental health, and if you don't already have those thoughts and feelings you can learn creatively how to build your own," she said.

Bridgeton patients also use art therapy in the same way.