Behavioral Health Network announces mental health treatment centers in Springfield and Westfield aimed at reducing wait times

SPRINGFIELD — Behavioral Health Network announced Friday a new model of behavioral health services designed to simplify and shorten wait times for people seeking behavioral health treatment.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the newly opened center. “BHN WellBeing”, which aims to offer same-day assessment and outpatient referrals in an effort to expand access to routine, urgent and crisis behavioral health treatment for people with mental health conditions and disorders substance use.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, State Senator Jacob R. Oliveira, State Representative Carlos González and State Representative Orlando Ramos were among the officials who joined the event held at Behavioral Health Network’s corporate headquarters at 417 Liberty Street.

The ceremony began with a video message from a woman who told her story of addiction and her path to sobriety that was supported by the services provided by the organization.

BHN WellBeing was officially launched on January 3. BHN WellBeing currently serves 17 cities and towns in the region with community-based, in-person telehealth services.

According to Oliveira, state legislators passed the mental health bill last summer to address regional mental health disparities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Western Massachusetts has been disproportionately affected over the past three years, and as people come out of lockdown, we see a greater need,” Oliveira said.

In December, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Y The Massachusetts Behavioral Health Association Announced that 25 providers designated as Community Behavioral Health Centers would begin providing services early this year.

The Community Behavioral Health Centers network will also provide 24-hour community-based mobile crisis interventions and stabilizations as an alternative to hospital emergency departments to all ages and all communities across the state. The open center in Springfield is part of that network.

“People shouldn’t have to wait three to six weeks in a pod without receiving healing services,” Oliveira said. “There is a level of care that everyone needs and it is part of the framework that is being discussed and we are going to continue to fight for regional equity to make sure that people can get the services that they need.”

Oliveira said state legislators have focused more on mental health and behavioral health legislation.

“Addiction does not discriminate, it affects all families,” he said.

The organization’s goal is to ensure that appropriate care for mental health and substance use disorders is available when and where people need it, Behavior Health Network President and CEO Steve Winn said at the event for friday.

As of the opening on January 3, the BHN WellBeing The treatment center has been able to see 200 more people for walk-in care, on top of the 5,000 already receiving ongoing care, Winn said.

A ribbon cutting was held on Friday at a second BHN WellBeing location at 77 Mill St. in Westfield. Those seeking care can be connected to services. online or walking or walking to both locations Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Matthew 11:28 said: ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ That is what BHN gives to people who are going through difficult times,” said González.

“It’s about wellness. It’s about changing the language. It’s about working with people where they are,” González said. “This is about providing intervention, prevention and treatment services to all with a commitment to providing culturally sensitive multilingual services.”

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