About Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare

Fostering Strong Families & Healthy Children

Since 1981, Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare (GTBHC) has helped tens of thousands of Mercer County residents find innovative, life-enhancing solutions to their mental health and substance abuse problems. During this period, we have earned the trust of those whom we serve, and the confidence of our funding sources, who have increased their investment in our services by more than tenfold. In the midst of the state fiscal crisis, however, we must broaden our base of support to ensure continued services to the most vulnerable.

Our clients are in real trouble. They have been “lost in the shuffle.” They are the truly vulnerable, who often look in the wrong places to the wrong people, for help in filling the void created by abuse, neglect, overwhelmed families, and chaotic lifestyles. Often victimized by street violence, they are prime recruits for youth gangs, drug dealers and others who prey on those less fortunate. We offer our clients a safe haven from the streets of Trenton an opportunity to heal and the chance to grow into responsible people, able to care for themselves, and their loved ones.

EmilyEmily is a 13-year-old child who was in trouble both at home and in school. Her problems were so severe she was classified as emotionally disturbed. The Guidance Counselor referred her to our School-based Counseling Program. Our counselor worked with Emily, her mother and teacher to identify the nature of her problems and provide supportive counseling. The counselor continued to work with Emily, and referred the family to our Bermingham Clinic for family therapy. After six months of intensive counseling and family therapy, Emily is doing very well. She is behaving at home and in school, and does not require special education classes, but can participate in regular classes with other students.
Sophia is a 17-year-old girl, referred to our Adolescent Day Treatment program because of suicidal behavior, and problems at school with fighting and truancy. Prior to her referral, she had lived with her drug addicted mother and her mother’s boyfriend, who had a history of sexual offenses. Sexual abuse was suspected but not confirmed. After her mother’s death by drug overdose, she lived briefly with her grandparent, and was then placed in a group home. With the help of her counselor, Sophia began to confront her deep grief over all that she had endured. Her truancy and fighting improved. She became a good student, and will graduate from high school with plans of becoming a beautician.

Providing Mission-Driven Services

Contributions will help support our work with at-risk children, adults and families to address a wide range of individual and family difficulties.

We recognize that your time and money is in short supply. We hope that you will spare a few minutes to review this brief summary of what we do, and whom we serve, and consider joining our community of supporters.

Helping Individuals & Families Recover Hope

Since 1981, GTBHC has provided a broad array of mental health and substance abuse services to tens of thousands of Mercer County residents. GTBHC has pioneered new approaches and solutions to a wide range of community problems.

GTBHC has developed new service approaches in such areas as child abuse prevention; home-based and school-based treatment of at-risk children; rehabilitation services for adolescents and adults with mental health and substance abuse problems; crisis prevention; home-based and outreach services for adults with serious mental illnesses and the homeless; support for caretakers of the elderly and those with mental illness; and help for welfare recipients in moving towards employment. In a number of cases, our approaches have become models replicated in other communities.

Alex is a 25-year-old man diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was living in the homeless shelter, where our outreach counselor found him, earned his trust, and linked him to our Bermingham Clinic. He suffered from delusions and hallucinations, which made it impossible for him to work. Alex was treated with anti-psychotic medication, and counseled in both individual and group psycho- therapy. After 14 months, he is employed full time, living in his own apartment, and supporting himself. He is also attending school part time, and hopes to become an engineer.
Rachel is a 38-year-old woman with schizophrenia. She was incarcerated for several years for possession of heroin, crack, and marijuana. She also has a history of suicide attempts and drug overdoses. After six months in the psychiatric hospital, our Adult In-Home program helped her get established in the community with housing, disability benefits, and treatment. Our Adult Day Treatment program helped her address her problems with mental illness and substance abuse. During the three years that she participated in day treatment services, she became deeply committed to her recovery, and held a responsible position in the program’s consumer government, advising on program policy. She has graduated from Day Treatment services and now receives medication and counseling at our Bermingham Clinic. With four years’ sobriety to her credit, she works full time at a large retailer and is financially self-sufficient.

Meeting Client Needs…

GTBHC’s counselors and therapists have helped tens of thousands of individuals learn strategies for recovering from the wide range of troubles afflicting them – child abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, spousal abuse, assault and street trauma, and other problems that keep many inner city residents in despair.

These staff work closely with families in trouble, individuals discharged from state psychiatric hospitals and correctional facilities, as well as those who are homeless and living on the streets. They provide practical help in meeting the basic necessities – such as food, shelter, financial assistance, support with medical care, personal hygiene, laundry, etc. They also help clients gain control over symptoms, and learn the skills needed to manage mental illness and recover from addictions.

…Through Cost-Effective Treatment…

Our continuum of care for at-risk children and families and for at-risk adults and families offers a range of treatment services with graduated intensities. This allows us the versatility to modify treatment based on the unique treatment needs of each client, and to respond quickly when treatment needs change. Treatment staff intervene to provide more intensive support when clients begin to experience greater difficulty, and help clients whose conditions are improving move on to less intensive support.

In our crisis prevention work, we help individuals and families learn how to stay healthy and live successfully in the community with minimal dependence on high-cost hospitals for their care. We help our clients manage their symptoms and become partners in the healing process. This puts them in the driver’s seat and results in reduced treatment costs.

Yasmin is a 47-year-old woman diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her family requested help for her from our Bermingham Clinic to stop the disabling “voices” Yasmin was hearing. These “voices” were causing so much distress she was unemployable and dependent. Her emotional pain was so severe and so deadening she would cut herself periodically with a knife to feel more alive.Yasmin was treated with anti-psychotic medications by a GTBHC psychiatrist, and met weekly with a GTBHC psychotherapist. After nine months, she no longer hears voices, has recently received her driver’s license, and is now employed full-time and financially independent.
Archie is a 41-year-old man, who has had many psychiatric hospitalizations, and detoxes from cocaine, heroin and alcohol, as well as frequent periods of homelessness. He has also served 10 years in prison for attempted murder, as well as multiple sentences in county jail for a variety of offenses. After one hospitalization, our Adult In-Home program helped him get established in the community with housing, disability benefits, and services at our Adult Day Treatment program to address his problems with mental illness and substance abuse. Archie worked very hard to turn his life around. Over two years of intense, day-long treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, he gradually took control of his symptoms, his recovery and his life. He is now financially self-sufficient and works as a counselor in a drug-clinic helping others find the way to recovery.

… and Responsive Services

GTBHC treatment staff work closely with clients who have been discharged from state psychiatric hospitals and correctional facilities, as well as those who are homeless and living on the streets. They provide practical help in meeting the basic necessities – such as food, shelter, financial assistance, support with medical care, personal hygiene, laundry, etc.

They also help their clients manage the disabling symptoms of mental illness that have led to high- cost hospitalizations in the past. GTBHC treatment staff specialize in preventing crises by intervening before a person’s problems become so difficult that high-cost, hospital-based care or institutionalization is the only answer. They provide assessment; care management and supportive counseling; substance abuse education and intervention; vocational support; medication and treatment.

Producing Outcomes That Save Tax Dollars!!!

Numerous studies have documented that it is much more costly to provide services on-site in public psychiatric hospitals than by community-based mental health providers like GTBHC. One highly regarded study, conducted by the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, concluded that community-based mental health providers have allowed the State of New Jersey to reduce the number of public psychiatric hospital beds from 15,000 in 1970 to roughly 2,000 beds currently – this 90 percent reduction in beds has produced an annual savings to the taxpayers of nearly $1 billion per year.

GTBHC is able to dramatically reduce costs because we are more accessible, more responsive, and offer a wider range of services than state psychiatric institutions. This has resulted in improved quality of life for our clients and reduced costs for the taxpayer, as demonstrated by the following outcomes:

■ 95% client satisfaction with services
■ 91% reduction in use of state hospital-based care
■ 55% of high-risk/low-functioning clients improved their stability and functioning
■ 86% of at-risk/moderate functioning clients

We improved the quality of life for these individuals and families, and reduced hospital-based care to the extent that
the savings not only paid for these services but gave the taxpayer a $4 million return on investment.

Service Initiatives & How You Can Help …

Your financial support can help us implement a number of high priority initiatives to improve the quality of life, and safety of our clients, staff and community.

■ Parenting Skills – helping new mothers manage the stresses of parenting, and avoid stress-based behaviors harmful to their children and themselves.

■ Technology of Change – training all staff in the most advanced, scientifically- proven treatment approaches to help our clients to recover fully from mental illness and addictions, and learn more healthy lifestyles and behaviors.

■ School Safety – a project to help Trenton Public Schools prevent school violence by learning “mental health first aid” to help students negatively affected by violent incidents, as well as students prone to violent behavior.

■ Permanent Housing – develop safe, affordable permanent housing for special needs clients as the first step in their recovery from mental illness.

■ Staff Safety – implement “best practices” to help treatment staff identify the early warning signs of violence, and learn “street-smart” skills to avoid danger, prevent violence, and escape violent encounters, if they occur.