Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the hospital’s new Center for Eating Disorders & Body Positivity. The Center will provide much-needed support to those who need a compassionate, local, and diversified treatment program.
“We know that eating disorders are amongst the deadliest of mental health conditions, second only to opioid addiction. More than 375,000 New Jersey residents are affected by eating disorders, and 900,000 more will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives,” said Bergen New Bridge President and CEO Deborah Visconi. “These are not numbers. They are neighbors, friends, family members, and loved ones.” Visconi added, “The lack of care options in New Jersey for people with public insurance, in-network with Medicare and Medicaid or who have no means to pay for care has been a significant factor in fighting this deadly disease. Today, we have taken steps to break down this barrier for treatment, increase access, and save lives.”
The creation of this center is a passion project for Bergen New Bridge’s Adrienne Mariano, Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services, who lost her cousin to an eating disorder in 2019. “While my connection to my cousin was one of the biggest losses in my life, I can honor her memory by offering treatment to others,” said Mariano. “I know that quite literally, it can be life or death, so I hope to foster change for those looking for recovery and to support them in their journey.”
“Places like this center will make such a difference in so many people’s lives especially because they include everyone regardless of their financial status,” said Assemblywoman Lisa Swain. “This new program will help break down the stigma around this disease and will save lives.”
“The pandemic was like an earthquake, but the mental health crisis is the tsunami that came afterward,” said Tracy Zur, chair, Bergen County Board of Commissioners. “This center will open the doors for so many to live full lives with joy without being under the cloud of their mental health issues, helping them navigate through the challenges they are facing so that they can thrive.”
“Everyone knew there was a need for these services in this community, but they didn’t know how to deal with it or address it,” said James J. Tedesco, Bergen County Executive. “Before this program was established, there was nowhere to go for treatment if you had no insurance or basic government insurance. Now, we have this beautiful facility here in Paramus right where the need for these services exists.”
The program will run five days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. Participants will have individual psychotherapy sessions with a board-certified psychiatrist as well as a qualified therapist. Group therapy sessions will also be provided daily to allow participants to express their feelings and learn from others. Multifamily group sessions will be held on a designated evening or weekend, providing the patients’ families with support and the opportunity to interact with other families to better understand the recovery process.
Nutritional counseling is also a key component of the program. This counseling is integral to recovery and teaches patients how to have a healthier relationship with food.
Most insurance plans are accepted by the center. Self-referrals are accepted for review and for assessment for participation in the program. For more information, visit www.newbridgehealth.org.
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