SUMMIT, NJ — Atlantic Behavioral Health at Overlook Medical Center recently earned The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification for Depression, making Overlook one of a small number of hospitals in the nation to achieve this distinction.

According to the National Institutes of Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, with estimates in 2015 of 16.1 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States having had at least one major depressive episode within a year. This number represented 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults.

"Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated a high level of care for patients with depression,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend Overlook for becoming a leader in depression care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for behavioral health patients in its community.”

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Overlook underwent a rigorous on-site review in which Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with national disease-specific care standards as well as depression-specific requirements. Clinical practice guidelines and performance measures also were assessed.  

“Depression has a more severe impact in our communities than many realize and affects more lives than just the person diagnosed,” said Lori Ann Rizzuto, director of behavioral and integrative health services for Atlantic Health System. “This designation helps highlight the exceptional resources available at Overlook to the community.”

The Overlook depression program’s approach to depression utilizes mindfulness, yoga, a patient-designed wellness recovery action plan (WRAP) as well as a Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale (BASIS-24®), which is a consumer-oriented self-report survey.

Behavioral Health at Overlook based its depression program on the American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Nonpharmacological Versus Pharmacological Treatments for Adult Patients with Major Depressive Disorder.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value.

An independent, non-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care, accrediting and certifying more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization,