Burlington County launches Hope One for Youth unit

Special to The Sun
Burlington County officials helped launch the county’s new mobile outreach unit, Hope One for Youth, during the Bring Health Home Resource Fair on April 26. The new unit will specialize in educating children and teenagers about mental health and substance use prevention.

Burlington County took another important step to expand mental health and substance use prevention services with the launch of Hope One for Youth, a new mobile outreach unit that will specialize in serving county children and teens.

The unit made its debut at the Bring Health Home Resource Fair on April 26. County officials described the addition as a gamechanger in the county’s fight against substance use and the stigma surrounding mental health.

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“Mental health is an essential part of overall health and mental health challenges can impact all ages, including the youngest among us,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, the liaison to the Department of Human Services. “Individuals with mental health conditions deserve support and care, not stigma and shame. Our Board is prioritizing bringing education and resources directly into our communities and schools to help those in need or at-risk where they are. Hope One for Youth reflects that commitment.”

Hope One for Youth will be staffed by specialists from the Burlington County Department of Human Services and the Burlington County Municipal Alliance and will travel to local schools, youth group meetings, houses of worship and community events to make presentations, distribute age-appropriate materials and educate teenagers, children and parents about mental health, substance use prevention, emotional well-being and stigma reduction.

Among the unit’s resources will be interactive tabletop games designed to teach topics such as conflict resolution, anger management and resiliency, as well as entertaining iPad games and apps focused on mindfulness and logic.

The unit is expected to be at the following upcoming events:

Friday, May 10: Pemberton Township High School Wellness Day

Saturday, May 11: Lenape High School Lace Up Against Stigma 5K

Friday, June 7: Palmyra’s Charles Street School Fitness Day

Saturday, June 8: Nickey’s Run at Mill Creek Road and Powell Road in Westampton

The Hope One for Youth unit is supported by a $300,000 federal grant that funded the acquisition and equipping of the Hope One for Youth van and its staffing. The unit was created as an expansion of the Hope One Mobile Outreach Unit run by the Burlington County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Department of Human Services, Health Department and staff from Virtua Health, Maryville Addiction Treatment Center and the Deborah Heart & Lung Center. Hope One regularly travels to different communities in the county to offer training on overdose antidote use, referrals to recovery services and other resources to individuals and families struggling with substance use disorders.

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