A.L.L.I.E.S. Celebrates One Year of Service Helping LGBTQ Teens

Top Quote A.L.L.I.E.S. the LGBTQ teen support group offered through CarePlus celebrates its first year of service in Bergen County, New Jersey. End Quote
  • Bergen-Passaic, NJ (1888PressRelease) February 22, 2013 - The Acceptance, Life, Leadership, Identity, Education and Support group - also known as A.L.L.I.E.S. offered through Care Plus NJ, Inc. ("CarePlus") of Paramus is celebrating a year of support to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) teens.

    The A.L.L.I.E.S. Wellness and Support Group was created by CarePlus in response to a study by "The Family Acceptance Project." Researchers found that LGBTQ teens that lack family support are eight times more likely to attempt suicide, and six times more likely to report high levels of depression. The study also indicated that teens who have a peer-to-peer support system showed improved mental health and a greater sense of well-being as compared to LGBTQ teens that did not.

    A.L.L.I.E.S. is centered on a psycho-educational group model. This specific type of therapy focuses on providing education to participating group members and creating a safe-space to empower participants, provide self-help support strategies, encourage healthy peer connectedness, and well-being in a judgement-free zone. In addition, A.L.L.I.E.S. offers LGBTQ teens and their families the opportunity to connect with additional mental health and wellness programs, including individual and family counseling.

    In the last year, members of A.L.L.I.E.S. have reported an increased sense of connectedness and well-being individually, within the group, among their participating peers, as well as with interpersonal relationships with non-participating peers and family members.

    The A.L.L.I.E.S. program is led by Jamisin Saracino, MA, a CarePlus employee since 2008. Saracino is the Training and Awareness Coordinator for the GLS Suicide Prevention Program, and Community and Educational Liaison. A master-level counselor, she is also a presenter and educator for CarePlus Innovations, providing training to the community regarding various topics such as LGBTQ Cultural Competency, Suicide Prevention Awareness, Bullying Prevention, and Mental Health Fist Aid (MHFA).

    "In the last year, active participants have reported an increased sense of connectedness to their peers and community. The group recognizes the importance of both sexual/affectional and gender identities, while promoting a judgement-free zone throughout the group process and within the community as well," said Saracino.

    One of Saracino's most memorable moments over the past year occurred after the first group session. As she escorted the group members to meet their families in the waiting room, one adolescent said, "Thank you for making this group. I never thought I would meet another person like me." She added, "That's what makes this all worthwhile."

    A.L.L.I.E.S. is offered at the CarePlus Headquarters located at 610 Valley Health Plaza in Paramus, and is open to all LGBTQ teens aged 13-17. To register or for more information, contact Jamisin Saracino at JamisinM ( @ ) careplusnj dot org or call 201-797-2660 ext dot 422

    About Care Plus NJ, Inc. ("CarePlus")
    CarePlus is a northern New Jersey provider of recovery-focused mental health, substance abuse, and family services that address the unique needs of individuals with a holistic approach to recovery and overall wellness. Operating out of 23 sites - including three outpatient centers located in Paramus, Fair Lawn, and Montclair, ten residential facilities, offices at three local hospitals, and seven community offices - our services are convenient to clients located throughout Northern New Jersey. We also provide educational programs on mental health-related topics to area schools and community groups. For more information, visit www.CarePlusNJ.org.

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