Health & Wellness

Newton Medical Center Takes ‘First Step’ to Improve Treatment for Mental Health, Substance Abuse

October 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

NEWTON, NJ - Newton Medical Center has launched First Step, a new program to improve the health and well-being of those in Sussex County with both mental health and substance abuse disorders by closely combining treatment for the conditions.

The new program follows community-based research that not only highlights mental health and substance abuse as top priorities for the region, but also as conditions that are better treated jointly.

The program will offer intensive outpatient services to 200 to 225 adults each year. The program aims to help patients improve their quality of life, reduce mental health symptoms, improve work and interpersonal relationships, improve their financial situation and increase community involvement while working to eliminate substance abuse behavior. By providing adults with access to these intensive outpatient services, the program also seeks to reduce the number of visits to the emergency department as well as hospital admissions due to these co-occurring conditions.

Sign Up for E-News

“Behavioral health is vital to a person’s overall health,” said Roger Cherney, Psy.D., manager of behavioral health services for Newton Medical Center. “By focusing on the connection and interdependency of mental health conditions and substance abuse, we believe we can take a more effective approach to improving the health of individuals and our communities, and reduce health care costs as well as collateral costs in other areas such as the justice and social service systems.”

Recent local health and human service studies show a primary need for expanded substance abuse and mental health services--about half of people statewide and nationally who are receiving services for substance abuse also have a mental health condition. In fact, the rate of substance abuse among those with a mental health condition is much higher than in the general population.

Although mental health conditions and substance abuse are recognized as related or co-occurring disorders, these conditions are often treated separately. However, research has shown that treating both conditions jointly produces better outcomes. The First Step Program at Newton Medical Center will take this approach through robust, evidence-based practices.

The program will involve adults with co-occurring disorders and their family members in an integrated treatment approach. This will include collaborative discharge and aftercare planning with patients and their families.

The First Step Program will be supported by a grant from the Newton Medical Center Foundation. This program is part of Atlantic Behavioral Health, which provides full service behavioral health and substance abuse programs throughout Atlantic Health System, including Newton Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center.

Local physicians and other health care providers will have an opportunity to learn more about the First Step Program at an open house event on Thursday, Nov. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Center for Mental Health at Newton Medical Center, 175 High Street, Newton.

For more information or referral to the First Step Program, call the Atlantic Behavioral Health Access Center at 1-888-247-1400.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Newton Police Officer Sworn in At Town Council Meeting

January 16, 2017

NEWTON, NJ—In front of his family, friends, the town council, and his fellow officers, Steven Van Nieuwland was sworn in as a member of the Newton Police Department during the council meeting on Monday.

His wife and two daughters held the Bible. Deputy Mayor Wayne Levante read the oath to Van Nieuwland, as he repeated the words loud for everyone in attendance to hear.

Once ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, January 21, 8:45 AM

Skylands Ice World, Stockholm

Learn to Play


Thu, January 26, 7:00 PM

Franklin Firehouse, Franklin

Stop the Chop on Sparta Mountain Town Hall Meeting

Education Health & Wellness


Sat, January 28, 8:45 AM

Skylands Ice World, Stockholm

Learn to Play


Sparta Police: House Fire on Maple Parkway

January 10, 2017

SPARTA, NJ - Two dogs appear to have been lost in a house fire on Maple Parkway on Tuesday.  Police report the homeowner of 64  Maple Parkway was initially unaware that the left side  of his home was on fire when Cpl. Frank Schomp  arrived around 3:25 p.m.

Schomp, responding to several  911 calls about the fire,  was able to convince the homeowner to leave, police ...

Farewell, Mr. President

January 10, 2017

Very soon, Barack Obama will finally leave office. I respect the office of the Presidency, but the question I often ask is, does he? President Obama ran on hope and change, but all we got was more of the same. I think I speak for millions of hard working and liberty loving Americans when I say that we were all let down and kicked to the side by this president.

During the 2008 campaign, ...

Local Businesses Donate Car to Family in Need

January 14, 2017

RoNetco Supermarkets and Hinkley Auto Sales recently joined together to provide a newly-refurbished car to Project Self-Sufficiency participant Dyshell Bullock.  The vehicle was previously owned by RoNetco Supermarkets and had been used by the firm for company business.  After being taken out of service, the car was thoroughly detailed by Hinkley Auto Sales and then donated to Project ...

Hillsborough Army Vet Takes Care of His Brothers-in-Arms

January 8, 2017


SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ  - James Ball, a young Army vet who lives with his wife and 1 ½-year-old-son Mason in Hillsborough, helped to organize and coordinate a packing event Saturday with the volunteers of Operation Shoebox New Jersey Saturday at Lincoln Tech.

A group of 40 students, staff and volunteers worked to assemble 300 personal care packages for US troops deployed ...