CarePlus InsideLIne
October 2016 - "Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
We need staff involvement in our advocacy efforts so that we can inform clients, organize families, and take effective action. 
If you have not already, click here to read & sign our petition.

Contact Caitlyn for additional information.


Thank you to everyone who supported

the 5th Annual CarePlus Foundation
"Golfers Give Back" Charity Golf Outing!

It was our most successful one yet,
thanks to our generous sponsors, participants, and volunteers!

During the week of June 20th-24th, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trained 31 Law Enforcement and Mental Health Professionals at the Care Plus NJ, Inc. (CarePlus) headquarters during the Inaugural CIT training in Bergen County.

The CIT program is designed to unite community law enforcement, mental health and emergency response professionals when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis. This is achieved through the use of de-escalation skills and scenario-based training. Benefits of the training include enhanced communication between resources, officer and citizen safety, and more efficient use of professional time as well as public funds.

"This training has been something that many partners in Bergen County have hoped to bring to fruition," Kristine Pendy, Senior Vice President at CarePlus, remarked. "We are grateful that it is finally here and that we are training law enforcement, security officers, NAMI and mental health providers throughout the county to work together in meeting the needs of our community."

The Bergen County CIT Law Enforcement Coordinator is Lieutenant Michael Devine, Bergen County Sheriff's Office. Amie Del Sordo is the Bergen County CIT Mental Health Coordinator, as well as the Director of the CarePlus Psychiatric Emergency Screening Program (PESP, 262-HELP) housed at Bergen Regional Medical Center. Del Sordo and Pendy were both CIT certified in November of 2015.

"I believe in the CIT program. I am excited to bring this opportunity to Bergen County," Del Sordo began. "CIT trained professionals will help make a difference in the lives of those who may be experiencing a mental health crisis."

Del Sordo attended the National Council for Behavioral Health several years ago and attended a presentation showcasing the CIT model. It was at that moment she decided CIT needed to be brought to Bergen County and started talking about this with Pendy.

"I had the support of my agency. I called Ed and the rest is history. He helped me understand who and what was needed to make this happen and I immediately started making phone calls and scheduling meetings," Del Sordo explained. "Since I already had a great collaborative relationship with everyone who was needed, it was effortless to bring everyone together."

Del Sordo began actively pursuing bringing the CIT training to Bergen County in August of 2015. With the assistance of Ed Dobleman, NJ State CIT Director, Del Sordo was able to bring the training to Bergen County in June 2016. A Bergen County CIT Steering Committee, comprised of Bergen County Law Enforcement & Mental Health Providers, has met monthly to coordinate this effort.

"It has been a pleasure working with Amie on this project. She was committed to making this happen and saw it through until the end. Bergen County is fortunate to have her as their Mental Health Coordinator," Dobleman stated.

Read the Full Story Here


Social Media, Self Esteem &
Eating Disordered Youth
2 CEHs for Social Workers 
Oct. 20, 2016 - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Wellness Technology Available for Clinical and Personal Use 

The myStrength team will be here to train staff on how to use this technology clinically so that clients can benefit from the tools.

myStrengthâ„¢ is an innovative online and mobile portal, offering evidence-based
resources to strengthen the whole person-mind, body and spirit. Its simple tools, trusted resources, daily motivational tips, and personalized eLearning programs will help your clients build and sustain mental wellness. Rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the myStrength program is a private resource where your clients and their families and caretakers can learn and practice new ways of managing stress, depression or anxiety.

myStrength is best used in combination with traditional care; it will reinforce core skills for building mental health and provide support when you can't be there.

We all struggle with our moods at times. Anxious or depressive thoughts can weigh us down. Some of us may struggle with drugs or alcohol. Seeking help and focusing on your mental health is important.

Now you can use web and mobile tools
to help you get better and stay mentally strong.

myStrength is safe and secure-just for you. It offers personalized resources to improve your mood. Learning to use myStrength's tools can help overcome the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse.

Contact Shelby if you want to be trained!

SIGN UP TODAY (Personal Account)
1. Visit, and click Sign Up
2. When asked for an Access Code, please enter: CareplusWellness
3. Complete the sign-up process, and begin exploring the site!
Employee Assistance Program

Did you know that you have access to resources pertaining to everyday life right at your fingertips?  Get educated on what is available to you through the CarePlus EAP. With this Employee Assistance Program, you will have access to information and resources for family, health, money and much more.   
Be sure to explore the website: 
Login: CPNJ Password: 123  
Webinar of the Month 
"Better Health Through Screening"
Available On Demand
Starting 12pm Eastern Time 

Find out which health screenings are most important for you and what those numbers mean.

If you have any questions, please contact Susan Bell in the Human Resources Department at or call 201-843-5218, extension 5211.

A Message from  
Executive Management

We want to send a sincere thank you to all of the efforts everyone made toward making the JCAHO survey such a huge success!

With over 1200 standards we have completed the survey with only 2 direct citations and 10 indirect.

The surveyors praised all of the staff and communicated their observation that it is clear that all of the staff they interacted with were passionate, dedicated, knowledgeable, and our greatest resource.

All in all, we could not be more pleased with the efforts and teamwork we witnessed this week and we just wanted to make sure that was clearly communicated. 

Humans of CarePlus

As a way of humanizing the work that we do for our legislators, part of our advocacy campaign is to collect letters written by clients, family, and staff. We need your help: if you are a staff member that would be willing to participate, or if you have a client that has a story to tell please contact Caitlyn.

We will be able to work with people who would like to remain anonymous, and think that this will be a very cool way to increase our culture of community and compassion. This letter writing campaign is expected to grow into a larger storytelling campaign that will launch through a "Humans of CarePlus" Instagram account.
Thank You & Congratulations 
Housing Works Initiative!

"Bergen County became the first county in New Jersey to end chronic veteran homelessness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That means that if a veteran becomes homeless, he'll get temporary housing within 30 days and permanent housing within three months."

It's so exciting to see this news in The Huffington Post! CarePlus is proud to be a part of this important accomplishment in Bergen County: Read More Here

We want to give acknowledge the team that contributed to this amazing achievement:

James Nono
Program Director
Christina Baluja
Program Manager
Jorge Cepeda
Case Manager
Tara Smith
Case Manager

Staff Recognition Day - 12/23

Please be advised that, in recognition to everyone's stellar efforts during our recent licensing reviews, the triennial survey by The Joint Commission,  the everyday acts of compassion you perform on behalf of our clients, and  the professional contributions to the excellence of our organization, the agency will be closed (except for Emergency and 24/hr. programs) on December 23rd.
Bergen County CIT Improves Community Connections  

"There appears to be more individuals with mental health disorders who are not receiving treatment, which is creating a heavier burden on law enforcement," explained Lieutenant Mike Devine, Bergen County Sheriff's Office and Bergen County CIT Law Enforcement Coordinator. "This training is designed to help to reduce the number of unnecessary incarcerations by assisting individuals with various mental health challenges who would benefit by getting the help that they truly need."

Read the Full Story Here

We cannot praise our communities' law enforcement officers enough for their compassion and understanding of the importance of the mental health of our citizens.

Check out these amazing news stories that demonstrate the power of CIT NJ:

North Jersey - Authorities: Officers use new training to rescue suicidal man from GWB

Daily Voice - Second Straight Day: Port Authority Police Stop GWB Jumper 
PESP & Port Authority Collaborate for Suicide Prevention on GWB 

CarePlus recently worked with the Port Authority Police of NY/NJ on a suicide prevention initiative because of the high number of calls PAPD responds to on and around the George Washington Bridge.  With the help of the CarePlus ACE team and the Port Authority of NY/NJ, we developed safe messaging for the walkways on the GWB to encourage those to call for help if they are contemplating suicide.   

Below you can see a few of the messages that include 262-HELP as the number to call!  There are 40 signs in total lining the walkways across the span of the bridge, all of which include 262-HELP as the number to call.  The PAPD have special foot patrols with officers trained to identify, approach, and assist someone contemplating suicide, cameras with special motion detectors, and 24/7 mobile patrols.  They recently announced a restoration project to be completed by 2020, of the cables and walkways that will also include raising the safety railing to 9 feet and installing thermal cameras to assist with surveillance of the bridge at night.


When 262-HELP receives a call from someone located on the bridge, we coordinate efforts with the PAPD and follow PESP procedures to assist PAPD in locating the individual in need.  A few weeks ago, DCP&P brought a 15 year old transgender youth who came to America by herself from Bahrain in the Middle East because she was being repeatedly assaulted in her home country.  Her mother obtained  a Visa for her and put her on a plane (by herself).  She was all alone in a hotel in Union City and walked to the GWB to end her life.  She saw our signs on the bridge and called!  DCP&P took custody, enrolled her in school and into ten ALLIES groups at CarePlus.

I hope this reconfirms for all of you that the work we are doing makes a difference, and that although some outcomes are not what we hoped for, it is in no way reflective of the treatment for our clients, day in and day out!  Please trust in the process, in the work, and each other...because it does matter! 
You should be very proud of the important job you do everyday.
Follow Up From Our Recent Joint Commission Survey

I'm sure by now you have heard that our survey went well, so thanks to all the staff for a job well done!  With regards to clinical documentation, there were just a few issues noted where we can improve.  In order to comply with the Standards, please do the following:
1. Regarding the standard around Physical Exams, the surveyors stated we must document the "date" of the last physical exam.  Since we don't have a date field, use the "HPN Remarks" field to document the date of the last physical exam.  If the client does not recall, make note of that in the remarks field.   
2. Regarding the standard around "complete and accurate assessment," the surveyors noted a few instances where staff skipped questions on the Comp Assessment & HPN.  Staff cannot leave blank fields; be sure to answer every question.  If there are remarks fields which you do not need, document "n/a" in the field. 
3. Regarding the standard "entries are authenticated," the surveyors noted some instances where staff failed to electronically sign the documentation.  Signing with the Topaz signature is not e-signing.  To e-sign you must click on the E-Sign icon at the top of your form/event.  The E-sign icon is enabled once you have clicked save. 
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Michelle Alkhalaileh.
Voluntary vs. Involuntary Transport (Bergen County)
A Message from Amie Del Sordo at PESP

It has been brought to my attention that there appears to have been some confusion recently by a few Bergen County Law Enforcement Officers regarding Voluntary vs. Involuntarytransport of our consumers for inpatient mental health services. 
The cliff note version is:
  • If the consumer is voluntary for inpatient treatment - the consumer may go to any hospital of their choice (within Bergen County)
    • If Law Enforcement is unable to transport the consumer to the facility of their choice:
      • Law Enforcement can facilitate calling an ambulance for transport or;
      • when clinically appropriate, Care Plus staff can transport the consumer or;
      • when clinically appropriate, the consumer can drive him/herself or;
      • when clinically appropriate, family/friend can drive the consumer.
  • If the consumer is involuntary for inpatient treatment (PESP screened the consumer or Law Enforcement is enacting Police Observation under the NJ Screening Law) - the consumer can only be transported to Bergen Regional Medical Center (within Bergen County).
If you should have any questions or encounter any difficulties with this process along the way, please let me know so I can work with the respective municipality regarding this process. 

Thank you.


Connect with CarePlus on Social Media!

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Program Marketing 
It is important for staff to familiarize themselves with the variety of program and services offered through CarePlus so that we can make appropriate referrals for those in need. For that reason, we are working on streamlining information and materials so that they are more easily accessible.

This involves appropriately updated Program Fact Sheets, comprehensive marketing folders, social media spotlights, and up to date information on the CarePlus website.

A new folder has been added to the S Drive so that staff can quickly access Program Information Sheets. These Fact Sheets can be found in the first folder in 999 General titled _FactSheets.  

If you need any materials created, revised, or printed for your program or presentations you will need to utilize the electronic request form. This new system is being used to ensure timely and effective completion of projects.   


You may have noticed recent Facebook posts highlighting some of our services. This is the part of our effort to market each of our programs to the community.


If you would like to put your team, group or program in the spotlight, contact the ACE team to make arrangements.


 You can also send positive reviews and feedback for coworkers and clients that go above and beyond. If you have anything you would like to submit for the InsideLine, email your story and  information to Caitlyn Yerves.

Do YOU have a story to share? If you have a story, update, announcement, photos to share here, on Facebook, or on the website send it to the ACE team and we will work to get it out to staff and friends of CarePlus.

Obligatory disclaimer ("the gray area"): This newsletter is compiled by humans, and you know how humans are: we make occasional mistakes - not too many, but they do happen. Please do not consider a rush in judgment. We - "the humans" - apologize in advance for any omissions, inaccuracies, misspellings, and flagrant discombobulations. Should you desire to suggest a correction or addition, please email Caitlyn.

You can even just email if you'd like to say you do (or do not) like the Inside Line, however no cursing or inflammatory remarks, please, as we are humans.