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CBH Care’s New Directions Program Offers Critical Services for Adolescents Throughout Northern New Jersey

CBH Care, the North Jersey-based community mental and behavioral health service that provides assistance to some 200 outpatient consumers every day, has increased its enrollment in its therapeutic after-school-program for adolescents that addresses emotional and behavioral issues. The program, New Directions, is for 12-17 year-olds in the greater Bergen County area, and is currently working with dozens of adolescents regularly, including during the summer.

“Our New Directions program is the only one of its kind in Bergen County, and currently serves over 40 children and teens per month from all backgrounds. This is an intensive therapy program to address issues that may be holding them back academically or socially,” said CBH Care Executive Director Sue Devlin. “Our on staff psychiatrists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers and Licensed Professional Counselors have worked with some of these kids for years, and gotten to know them and their families very well.”

The program meets Mondays through Thursdays from 4:00-7:15pm, including during the summer, and offers family therapy sessions. Some participants come in all four days, while others attend less often. Many participants are referred by Bergen County’s Care Manager Organization and hospitals. Transportation is provided for all participants, who are picked up from their schools or homes, by CBH Care drivers, and the participants are fed dinner during the programs.

New Directions program accepts Medicaid and CBH Care works with all consumers to make programs like New Directions feasible for their families. This has enabled CBH Care to be on the cutting edge of mental health programming.

Another arm of the New Directions program is the Checkers program works with developmentally disabled adolescents during the same time, and has a psychiatrist. They are open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Like New Directions, Checkers is the only one of its kind in Bergen County, and typically has up to 10 participants. The psychiatrists, LCSWs and LPCs who run the program focus heavily on emotional regulation and social skills.

“Checkers is focused primarily focusing on improving social and communication skills such as maintaining friendships, appropriate boundaries and conversation skills. We also have Planned Parenthood come twice a month for New Directions and Checkers for health and sex education, which is important for all adolescents but perhaps especially important for our program participants,” said Kelly O’Sullivan, New Directions Program Administrator.” Both New Directions and Checkers go on monthly therapeutic outings such as the escape room, rage room and salt breeze to practice coping skills as well as outings such as getting manicures as a form of self-care. Both therapeutic and dinner outings gives adolescents the opportunity to practice their skills they are learning in the community as well as enhancing social skills and self esteem.”

New Directions program, which includes Checkers, organize talent shows every two months, enhancing participants’ self-esteem and sharing their unique talents with peers. Their staff works closely with adolescents are looking to apply for new jobs and colleges and have already produced many success stories. One former participant is volunteering in nursing home, leading to a scholarship for nursing school and another consumer was accepted into school of dentistry at the University of Miami, among many other success stories.

Checkers is a brand new program. New Directions has been around for over twenty years. Individuals interested in learning more about the New Directions programs are encouraged to call CBH Care at 201-646-0195 or visit Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis is encouraged to call CBH Care’s Urgent Care Wellness Center at 201-957-1800.