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When everything around us is uncertain, the staff at Unity Place is trying to keep the Holidays spirit a float. The clients and staff were just visited by Holiday Express; an organization founded in 1993 by Tim McLoone. Their mission of their organization is “To deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year”. This year’s Holiday express celebration was much different, but staff and clients together could feel the love and energy everyone put into making the most out of the event. The clients enjoyed gift bags, a delicious lunch, and a spectacular video that had all of the Holiday Express elves singing to their favorite holiday tunes!

Speaking of elves, the elves of Unity Place, also known as case managers, are competitively working on a holiday themed door decorating contest. Each staff member comes up with a theme and carries it through into there office. The competitive part is they allow the clients to pick the winner for bragging rights! Check out the Facebook page for more pictures!

Everyone at Unity Place wishes you a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

Written by Jamie Paris


As counselors, we show our clients the importance of managing their stress through developing coping skills. Some group lessons are geared towards building a toolbox filled with things to help them during difficult times such as the ones we are all facing now.  However how often do we as counselors take our own advice and take a step back and take an inventory on our own mental health.

Speaking to our staff at Unity, some of them expressed how the stress of the recent events such as quarantine has affected them. They were asked to reflect on how they handled the stress during quarantine. Counselor Nikki M. stated: “During quarantine I was able to slow down and focus on taking care of me! I practiced yoga daily, took walks to the beach, read self-help books, and kept connected with friends and family with phone calls and FaceTime. I used mindfulness whenever I found myself worried about COVID-19 and the uncertainty of what was to come.” Nikki took a healthy approach to managing the high stress during these times. She was able to distract herself and the unpleasant thoughts by utilizing tools she would normally be showing her clients how to use to manage their everyday triggers.

Donna F., the assistant director, chimed in with how she managed working a taking care of her family during this time. She stated that “I’ve learned to pick a time and stick to it where I enjoy me time that calms me from the inside staying with jogging, reading, riding or other movement activity to de-stress my mind.” Donna incorporates a lot of physical activities into her groups when she is able to work with the clients. She believes in the mind-body connection and this holds true in her daily life as well.

All-in-all the staff at Unity Place appear to have a pretty robust set of tools to manage their stress during times of uncertainty. It’s safe to say that they are “experts” and the clients are lucky to have them.


Following a three-month interruption of onsite care at Unity Place of Monmouth due to Covid-19, staff are looking forward to welcoming clients back.  The staff have greatly missed the clients and very much and look forward to their return. Clients in the substance use program will be the first to return, their first day being July 6. Mental Heatlh patients will continue with telehealth treatment until they are able to return.

Program Director Lorraine Laura quoted poet Maya Angelou in urging clients to accept trials beyond their control. Lorraine said, “As we all await the return of our Unity client family, we hope they have fared well during this Covid Storm “event” that just appeared, and that, in the words of Maya Angelou, ‘Decide not to be reduced by the events that happen to you,’ those we cannot control.”

For the returning clients, Unity will resume providing transportation assistance to clients who require it. Unity will abide by CDC guidelines and New Jersey State/Governor’s mandates, which include but are not limited to the use of masks, practicing six-feet social distancing, and maintaining daily sanitary and disinfection standards throughout the day.

Anytime a client or visitor enters the Unity Place building, a Covid-19 questionnaire and temperature check will be required. Additionally, staff and clients are undergoing Covid-19 testing to ensure negative results to ensure safe transition back to program.  Any staff or clients who feels unwell will be – as under normal circumstances – encouraged to stay home and seek medical guidance. Telehealth services are being maintained in addition to offer on-site supports to assist with clinical needs, especially given concerns surrounding overall health and wellness.

Unity Place staff will, of course, also observe the strict health protocols and precautions and will also submit to testing prior to the clients’ return. The building has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Staff will continue to utilize technology and work with telehealth and other platforms to continue to provide remote treatment to clients who are still at home. Unity Monmouth will increase the number of clients in the building based on the mandates provided to us.


The counselors of Unity Place of Monmouth certainly miss their clients, something that is amplified by the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. They decided to post some messages containing good mental health practices and words of encouragement to help see clients through the challenges presented by the coronavirus.

Program Director Lorriaine Laura posted a reminder to clients that “lots of love gets us through anything.” Lorraine lavishes love on Unity’s clients, and when clients are able to return to on-site counseling, they know they can expect a hug from her.

Assistant Director Donna Frances had an in-depth posting that emphasized the importance of daily routine. She provided a thorough list of activities and ideas to help clients fill their days. Donna’s list of daily structure to nourish mental health include waking and going to bed at similar times, eating well, regular exercise, and making time for hobbies and activities the client enjoys.

Donna encouraged clients to stay in touch with others (via Zoom, Google Meets, etc.), and to help others whenever possible instead of focusing on oneself. She also urged clients to minimize time on newsfeeds that will only add to anxiety at time when stress is not in short supply. And she impressed on substance clients to continue to take their medications as prescribed.

Outreach Supervisor Jamie Paris in her posting wrote that clients should prioritize their mental health.

One of the counselors reminded clients that health is about how they think and feel, not just about how they are doing physically. Another posting by a counselor advised clients to “seek out the small joys every day,” something to keep in mind coronavirus or not


As widespread and disruptive as the coronavirus and its fallout have has been, Unity Place of Monmouth staff from are doing all they can to stay engaged with the facility’s clients, who are being treated remotely until the crisis abates. In the two months since the virus required Unity Place to suspend on-site treatment of for mental health and addiction disorders, Unity Place staff from Program Director Lorraine Laura on down have shown their creativity and resolve in maintaining a close ties with clients.

Early in the crisis, the facility’s director, Lorraine, was calling most of the mental health clients. As staff have gradually come back to work, the counselors are now making many of those calls. On the substance use side, Assistant Director Donna Francese has made calls to the substance use clients and conducted individual sessions with them by phone.

Outreach Supervisor Jamie Paris and Outreach Coordinator Renee Holder have been paying visits to group homes to drop off supplies to help lift the clients’ spirits while treatment at the Unity facility is on hold. Among the items they are bringing to the residences are food, hygiene supplies, crosswords puzzles, coloring pages and crayons.

Jamie and Renee have also sent the group homes’ personnel thank you cards to let them know how much Unity Place appreciates their taking such good care of all the clients.


At Unity, our goal is to provide a therapeutic environment where each client can learn how to successfully handle life’s challenges.

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1075 Stephenson Ave.
Suite C
Oceanport, NJ 07757


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