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Depression Treatment Guides Recovery Step By Step

Juan Correa of Raritan had struggled with alcoholism and depression for years. The 35-year-old had been in and out of treatment programs without success. In February 2013, he entered the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Somerset Campus Behavioral Health Services Department, which guided him through stages of recovery in a safe and supportive environment.

“This was the first time I was serious about getting help,” says the father of three. “Spending time with the staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset day after day helped me get to the root of my problem. They gave me hope for living a different life and steps for how to think about the future.”

Multilevel care

Correa is one of many people with moderate to severe depression who have found help at RWJUH at Somerset Campus. The program offers different levels of care for patients as they progress through treatment. Patients may “step down” from one level of care to another.

The first level is often inpatient treatment in a secure hospital setting for patients who need immediate, round-the-clock care. Correa spent six days in the hospital getting evaluated and working with doctors to find the right medication. When he was ready to be discharged safely, he moved to the next level of care.

Partial Hospitalization Program

The partial hospitalization program is for patients like Correa who have recently left the 24-hour care of the hospital, but who are not ready to stop treatment. For about 10 weeks, Correa lived at home while attending the hospital-based program from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. The daytime treatment program is for patients with moderate to severe depression, bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders, as well as those with substance abuse combined with a psychiatric disorder.

“People who complete the program improve rapidly,” says Dr. Rowan. “That’s because we provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care that touches on all aspects of a patient’s life.”

The program includes family, one-on-one and group therapy; art therapy; medication management and education; art therapy and more.

After completing the partial hospitalization program, Correa was ready to step down to the RWJUH at Somerset Campus intensive outpatient program. This program offers the same features as the partial hospitalization program while meeting for just half a day three times a week.

A Bright Future

Correa has been clean for a year and now leads a 12-step meeting every Sunday in Somerville, in addition to working as a groundsman for a tree company. “I’m definitely a lot better now that I’ve gotten help,” he says.

He’s also sharing his experience with others going through similar challenges. “Your life is what you make of it,” he says. “The more I’m out of my head and helping others, the better my life is. “I wake up and feel like I have something to live for,” Correa says. “Most days are really good. Of course some days are down, but I have different tools to help me.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of depression and needs professional help, call the RWJUH at Somerset Campus Behavioral Health Services Department at 800-914-9444.