May 28, 2008
For Immediate Release

Contact: Shauna Moses
(609) 838-5488, ext. 225 (Office)  (732) 620-4190 (Cell)

Community Hope Employee Receives Award for Inspiring Change in Mental Health Care

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Clinical Services Director Carmine Deo (left) receives NJAMHA’s Courage to Change Award from CH Executive Director J. Michael Armstrong at the recent annual conference awards dinner.

MERCERVILLE, NJ (May 28, 2008)
– Carmine Deo, Director of Clinical Services for Community Hope, Inc. in Parsippany, NJ was recently honored with the 2008 Courage to Change Award from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHA). Throughout his career, Deo has always sought innovative and creative ways to improve quality of care, and was integral in developing new initiatives designed to serve individuals who have experienced long-term hospitalizations.

Two examples of Deo’s innovation and leadership are the CHAMP (Care and Hope at Morris Plains) and Partnership programs that serve patients at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. “Carmine played a key role in expanding the CHAMP pilot initiative.  Along with our partner agency, Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare (CBH Care), CHAMP was designed for long time Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital patients, who no longer need to be hospitalized but who have become dependent on the institutional setting. This program is enabling 25 long-time patients make the transition from the hospital back to the community. Plans for further expansion are under way with three more residences for 15 consumers under development,” said J. Michael Armstrong, MA, MBA, Executive Director of Community Hope.

“Carmine has been integrally involved in the development of the 48-bed specialized Partnership program at Greystone. Similar to CHAMP, this self-contained program serves individuals who have experienced long-term hospitalization, some for more than 25 years. The Partnership provides specialized services to individuals with medical conditions and those with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. Upon completion, the CHAMP and Partnership programs combined, which Carmine has been so integral to developing, will assist nearly 70 patients reclaim their lives after lengthy hospitalizations,” Armstrong said.

In addition, Deo has established a partnership with Methany Medical Center to provide medical and dental care to Community Hope’s clients. He has also instituted a Pet Therapy program and other health and wellness initiatives for consumers. Meanwhile, Deo maintains a psychotherapy practice.
 “At NJAMHA’s Annual Courage and Compassion Awards Dinner, we honor extraordinary individuals who inspire us, challenge us and remind us why we go to work each day,” said Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of NJAMHA, noting that award recipients represent the courage and compassion of thousands of community mental health employees. “They exemplify the best in the mental health system by going above and beyond what is expected of them. Through the work they perform and the compassion they demonstrate each day with consumers, they truly are transforming the world one person at a time.”

Deo began his career in 1990 at Community Hope as a Residential Counselor. From 1992 to 2002, he worked in various positions at Saint Clare’s Hospital and the Mental Health Association of Morris County and then returned to Community Hope as Director of Clinical Services. Since 1996, Deo has also been serving as a psychotherapist at A Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy Services in Hackettstown. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Seton Hall University, an MSW degree from Fordham University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Deo was one of six employees in the community mental health system honored with a Courage and Compassion Award this year. Numerous workers are nominated by their colleagues and supervisors and selected based on their exemplary service in one of five categories. The awards were created to recognize the incredible work of community service providers that often goes unrecognized and unheralded. The Courage to Change award is presented to an individual who helped conceptualize and institute a new program that significantly modified the way services are provided and has a substantial impact on consumers.

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Based in the Greater Trenton, New Jersey area, the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHA) is a statewide trade association representing nonprofit behavioral health providers. Founded in 1951, NJAMHA represents 125 hospital-based and freestanding mental health agencies throughout New Jersey. In aggregate, NJAMHA members help children and adults with mental health issues more than one million times annually and employ 85,000 members of New Jersey’s workforce. NJAMHA’s mission is to champion opportunities that advance its members’ ability to deliver accessible, quality, efficient and effective integrated behavioral health care services to mental health consumers and their families. NJAMHA is committed to recovery and wellness for all consumers.