Compassionate & Professional Mental Health Services at CBHCare

CBHCare, helping the people of our community meet life’s challenges

A recent report revealed that every year more than 42 million American adults, or approximately 18 percent of the total adult population in the United States, suffer from some form of mental illness. This includes diagnoses of depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, with varying degrees of severity.

The startling data noticeably does not include mental afflictions suffered by children and teens, which according to research, also is on the rise.

Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare (CBHCare) provides compassionate and professional services to nearly 4,000 children, adults and seniors every year, making it the premier mental health provider in Northern new Jersey.

“Our mission is to provide the optimum in behavioral health care that is responsive to consumer and community needs,” said Pete Scerbo, CBHCare’s Executive Director.

Early intervention

When a crisis occurs, early intervention can often be a key component of the recovery process, not only for the individual but also for the families who look for help and advice. The CBHCare Wellness and Support Center in Westwood, one of the agency’s area locations, provides Bergen County residents with a wide range of early intervention support services. Those services include assessment by licensed clinicians, rapid implementation teams, supportive on-site and in-community counseling services and crisis prevention planning to maintain a stable environment.

“The Center offers access to short term and recovery oriented crisis intervention and also provides stabilization services for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis,” Scerbo said.

Certain eligibility criteria apply, Scerbo said, adding that phone referrals are accepted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in addition to walk-in referral hours.

“We also provide information on a wide range of community resources that are beneficial to individuals and families at a time when they need the most support,” Scerbo said.

Recognizing a need

CBHCare, originally known as South Bergen Mental Health Center, had its simple beginnings in a home in Lyndhurst, N.J., where the Lyndhurst Junior Women’s Club met to discuss the need for mental health services to assist members of the community in the area.

“There was a growing movement at the time to offer community care and to ‘deinstitutionalize’ persons who suffered with mental illness,” said Scerbo. At the same time, however, there was a concern that not all of the mentally ill could be cared for in their homes or by family members.

“There was a decline in the length of hospital stays but despite the advent of new medications and treatment options, families and the community weren’t always prepared,” Scerbo said.

That’s where CBHCare came in. Since 1969, the organization continues to offer a wide array of services for individuals and families, and is committed to ensuring excellence through ongoing monitoring of quality indicators, treatment outcomes, accessibility, cost efficiency and staff development.

Continued growth

Understanding the need for specialized care and treatment of mental illnesses, CBHCare has outpatient and partial care service locations in Hackensack, Lyndhurst and Westwood. There also are residential facilities in Morris Plains, Emerson, Hackensack, Kearny, Lyndhurst, and Rutherford providing homes for nearly 200 people every night, as well as 78 supportive housing units throughout Bergen County.

Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare treats individuals, families, and the community with respect and dignity regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, illness or age.

Most important, Scerbo said, “We are committed to accessible care that is delivered in a cost-effective manner. We provide this care with creative and responsive treatment strategies.”

These services are supported by the recruitment and the continuing development of the highest quality care providers, including an experienced team of medical personnel, counselors, social workers and numerous support staff.

Affordable care

CBHCare’s goal is to continuously identify, meet and exceed customer and community expectations by striving to achieve optimal service results.

CBHCare is a participating Medicaid and Medicare provider, as well as a participating provider for Magellen, Aetna, Cigna and most major insurance and managed care companies for outpatient therapy and psychiatric consultations. Additionally, a state grant also allows CBHCare to subsidize a portion of the cost of counseling for many local residents who lack insurance or other resources.

Scerbo said that during an initial consultation at CBHCare, fee counselors will meet with each new client to maximize their insurance coverage benefits. When necessary, the fee counselor will assist them in “navigating the insurance maze” to best use their insurance benefits for counseling services.

“Our fee counselors also specialize in assisting clients without coverage and other financial resources to use the state subsidies from our grants to find an affordable fee for all services,” he said. “We believe that everyone should feel comfortable requesting and receiving the best possible behavioral health services without regard to the cost. In forty years, no one has ever been denied CBHCare services because they could not afford them.”

Counseling services

The Counseling Services Division offers a wide range of treatments to a diverse consumer population. Individuals, including children, adolescents and adults, as well as families, benefit from the psychotherapeutic services provided by Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare. Services include:

Short term therapy

After an initial assessment, consumers begin working on treatment goals with their therapist during regularly scheduled appointments. CBHCare’s focus on specialized short term treatment allows consumers to gain maximum benefits from therapeutic intervention in a short period of time. “All therapists in each of our locations are licensed in the fields of social work or psychology,” Brush said.

Specialized services

Because many consumers benefit from sharing experiences with their peers, CBHCare offers a variety of specialized group therapies. A sampling of groups include: Medication Education groups, Women’s Issues groups, Parenting Groups and Eating Disorder Groups.

CBHCare’s credentialed professionals are also available for marital and family counseling. “In times of marital or family stress, it is reassuring for consumers to know that a caring therapist is available to see them through a difficult time,” Brush said.

CBHCare’s Substance Abuse Treatment Center offers consumers effective, cost efficient solutions for addiction treatment.  Our wellness-oriented model examines the many underlying causes of addiction so real change can occur.  Individuals with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can be successfully treated within our substance abuse programs.

Services include

  • Relapse Prevention
  • Emotional Healing
  • Family and Relationship Development
  • Physical Health

Levels of care provided include: Early Intervention, where consumers are typically seen for 1 hour each week; Intermediate Care, where consumers receive 1 to 8 hours of counseling per week depending on their needs; and Intensive Outpatient Services, where consumers receive 9 hours of counseling per week.

“This level of care treats those with a dominant substance abuse problem as well as those with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues,” Brush said.

Focused services

CBHCare is involved in treating very specialized disorders and has established programs to help individuals cope with them. For instance, statistics show that between 11,000 and 16,000 women experience postpartum depression every year.  CBHCare is the State designated treatment center in Bergen County for postpartum mood disorders.  Help is available for:

  • Assessment & Screening
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Marital Therapy
  • Psychiatric Assessment
  • Medication Management
  • Coordination of Care with Primary Care Provider

The Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) is an innovative program offered through CBHCare’s Counseling Services Division. It is an intensive case management service which provides mobile outreach services to the disabled homeless with psychiatric impairments living in the community. This program is designed to reach out to consumers who have not accepted traditional center-based mental health services. This service includes:

  • Supportive services
  • Advocacy
  • Housing assistance
  • Mental health services
  • Substance abuse services
  • Transportation

Each counselor functions as part of a team, and all consumers interact with all members of the team, Scerbo explained.

In addition to the programs offered on-site at its various locations, CBHCare further engages the community through workshops and educational programs throughout the area.

Community involvement

In its continuing efforts to provide affordable care for those in need, CBHCare schedules fundraising initiatives to benefit its many behavioral healthcare services and programs. Several events are planned for 2015:

  • CBHCare will hold its Culinary Adventure Food and Wine Tasting on May 18 at the Venetian in Garfield.
  • The Gabriel M. Ambrosio Memorial Golf & Tennis Outing will be held on September 21 at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne. The event, now in its 16th year, was named after Gabe Ambrosio, a founder of the agency and longtime member of the Board of Trustees and CBHCare Foundation Board. Additional information can be found at

“These events are important, not only to raise funds, but to bring to the forefront the work we’re doing at Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare,” Scerbo said.

CBHCare also has established a strong social media presence where staff regularly posts important and useful local information, as well as mental health related articles from various media. You can find information about and other resources at:

Angela Daidone is a freelance writer, editor and public relations specialist. She can be reached at

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