Ryan Fields was recently hired as the new Behavioral Health Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. Courtesy photo
Ryan Fields was recently hired as the new Behavioral Health Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. Courtesy photo
" “If you treat the individual, the body and the soul, you can really help somebody.” " Ryan Fields Behavioral Health Director, CCDOT
“If you have faith, anything can happen.”

It is this deeply rooted faith and spirituality that guides Ryan Fields, who was recently hired as the new Behavioral Health Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. The newest member of the Catholic social service organization’s leadership team, Fields brings with him a career characterized by experience, growth and care for those in need.

Fields is a resident of Ocean County, and a member of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, attending its Manahawkin worship site. This new post, he says, blends his experience in and passion for the field of behavioral health with his personal faith and spirituality.

“This is pretty much a dream come true,” Fields says. “I am a faith-oriented guy, and I believe in the power of the mind and the body, and the spiritual side of someone. This is my first opportunity where I am in a faith-based organization.”

Fields holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marywood University, Scranton, Pa. He is an Approved Clinical Supervisor by the Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc.; a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of New Jersey; and a National Certified Counselor experienced in overseeing all levels of behavioral health services.

He brings to the agency more than 17 years of experience in behavioral health services, with stops at medical centers and a private organization. His first position in the field was at East Orange General Hospital, East Orange, where he began as a psychotherapist and was later promoted to manage outpatient behavioral health services and addiction services. The hands-on management role introduced him to health care administration.

“[I was] seeing the trenches of what goes on in running an institution,” he says.

He later spent two years working at Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, before his most recent position as Chief Operating Office and program director for Morning Glory Behavioral Health Partial Care Program, Neptune.

“In that role, I did every job,” says Fields, who led the organization of more than 40 staff members.

During his tenure at the helm, Fields helped grow the organization, obtaining state licenses and launching an addiction services wing with intensive outpatient, partial care and regular outpatient programs for those struggling with addiction. He led the development of policies and procedures, as well as a construction project to physically double the space.

Fields is pleased that he was able to accomplish those objectives and to ensure things were running smoothly prior to his departure for his new role with Catholic Charities.

In this role, he will be responsible for managing and coordinating mental health programs, to include addiction-recovery treatment, outpatient counseling, housing for those with chronic mental illness, supported employment services and more.

“I am very honored to be here,” Fields says. “I am all about saving lives, helping people and providing hope to them. I want to make sure that anyone who walks in here gets the highest level of care.”

Fields sees behavioral health programming as a key component of the support Catholic Charities provides to those in need – and something that is essential in the community.

“It is crucial,” he says. “If you don’t take care of your mental health, everything else is going to be interfered with. The cost of mental health and the cost of behavioral health to society is so great.”

Beyond the suffering of one individual, mental or behavioral health issues can result in negative impacts to families and loved ones, he notes, not to mention other aspects of society – including the health care system, the criminal justice system and others.

“If you make an impact on one life, you are touching thousands of lives,” he says.

COVID-19 and the global and national health pandemic has also exacerbated the need for many, as communities face a rise in challenges like depression, anxiety, social isolation, addiction and other health issues.

“[The pandemic] pretty much highlighted what the mental health population goes through,” he notes. “They are socially isolated, and now we are forced to be socially isolated. It has been hard on everybody.”

He believes firmly that taking into account the spiritual health of someone is key to supporting them.

“If you treat the individual, the body and the soul, you can really help somebody,” he says.

In his new role, Fields relishes the opportunity to serve, and to empower and motivate those he will be working with and managing.

“This is not a job for me – this is my mission, this is my way of life,” he says. “I take it very seriously because I want to help people. I really want to make a difference.”