OPC Honors Mental Health Awareness Month: Recognizing Advocacy and Leaders

Members of OPC Team with Mental Health Committee
Members of OPC Team with Mental Health Committee
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - May 7, 2024 - PRLog -- During Mental Health Awareness Month, Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC), Ocean County's Care Management Organization (CMO), shines a spotlight on the importance of mental health and the critical need for advocacy and support. In a world where mental health is often sidelined, OPC stands as a beacon of hope, championing the cause with unwavering dedication and compassion.

As proclaimed by NJ Governor, Phil Murphy, "Mental health is an essential part of overall health and well-being, and affects one's physical health, relationships and ability to thrive. New Jersey has successfully built and continues to expand its robust array of effective, responsive, integrated services and supports for children, youth and adults, and recognizes the need for opportunities that allow them time to heal from trauma."

Enhancing the well-being of Ocean County youth and their families through natural and community support is the heart of OPC's mission. OPC envisions a totally accessible, individualized, family friendly system of care for youth and their families – one that offers the highest quality supports with unconditional care and sustainable success.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Mental Health Committee of Ocean County recently recognized Mary Jo Buchanan, LCSW, the former Executive Director of OPC with the esteemed "Community Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award." This celebrates profound acknowledgment of individuals who have dedicated their careers to advocating for mental health support, particularly among the youth in our communities.

Mary Jo Buchanan's tireless efforts and unwavering dedication have made a lasting impact on mental health advocacy in Ocean County. Her leadership and compassion have set a standard for excellence, earning her the deep respect and admiration of peers and beneficiaries alike. Her recognition with the "Community Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award" serves as an inspiration, reminding everyone of the transformative power of dedication and advocacy.

As the nation commemorates this month, OPC reaffirms their commitment to changing the narrative surrounding mental health and ending the stigma associated with it. "Mental health affects us all, directly or indirectly, and it's essential that we foster a culture of understanding, support, and compassion," noted Victoria Azzopardi, LCSW, CEO of OPC. "Together, let us continue to champion mental health awareness and support, creating a community where everyone feels valued, understood, and empowered to seek the help they deserve."

Learning to recognize the warning signs of emotional distress and suicide is paramount in supporting those in need. If you or someone you know is facing a crisis, remember that help is just a phone call away. Dial 988 to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, where trained professionals are available 24/7 to provide support and assistance.

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Founded in 2005, Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is Ocean County's Care Management Organization (CMO). Its mission is to enhance the well-being of youth and their families through natural and community supports. OPC provides care coordination services for Ocean County youth up the age of 21 years who have mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental challenges. OPC strives to keep children and adolescents at home, in school, and in the community by connecting them to resources that meet their unique needs and help them achieve their goals.

Ocean Partnership for Children is a non-profit organization available at no cost to all youth and families in Ocean County who meet the eligibility criteria of the New Jersey Children's System of care. To learn more, visit https://www.oceanpartnership.org or www.oceanresourcenet.org.

Allison Brown, Design 446
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