Behavioral Health Network opens a mental health and drug counseling center in Springfield

State representatives and Springfield city officials gathered at Behavioral Health Network’s newest community center Friday morning and watched, some with teary eyes, a video of a Springfield BHN client, identified only as Samantha , talking about his fight against heroin addiction.

After surviving a domestic violence incident, Samantha said her older cousin introduced her to heroin in 2013 to help her cope with the trauma that led to her developing an addiction to the substance that she said made her feel “incredible.” . That same cousin would die of a heroin overdose a year later, entering a cycle of drugs and alcohol. Ella samantha thought that she would be the next to die.

“I wanted to die, I didn’t want anything to do with life, I didn’t think I could have a good life. I didn’t think she deserved a good life,” Samantha said as the video played.

Samantha would end up arrested and sent to a hospital in Worcester for hurting herself. The doctors at the hospital would end up reviving Samantha after she attempted suicide while she was under care.

After Samantha’s suicide attempt, BHN staff stepped in and helped Samantha with her substance abuse issues and mental struggles through peer support groups, outreach partners, and counseling. Years after her near-fatal hospitalization, Samantha is now preparing to celebrate six years of sobriety on Monday, January 30, an achievement she says would never have been possible without the support of BHN.

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and state legislators joined Behavioral Health Network President and CEO Steve Winn on Friday to cut the ribbon on the new Behavioral Health Network WellBeing Center of Springfield at 417 Liberty St.

Winn said the organization’s latest walk-in center will provide more access to mental health counseling and offer drop-in and on-demand substance use disorder treatment for Hampden County residents.

BHN’s newest facility in Springfield will offer 24/7 walk-in stabilization and crisis assessments for anyone experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis and also serves as a rehab center of substance abuse. Springfield residents suffering from addiction will not have to travel out of town for treatment.

The new center will also offer drop-in seminars and group sessions, drop-in peer support groups, support programs to help with insurance, housing, food, skills-building workshops to help people discover new careers, services of medicines to support people’s recovery. and support therapy.

Bilingual and biculturally appropriate support staff, who also serve as peers who have experienced similar experiences to clients, will operate the Liberty Street Health Center.

The wellness organization also launched a BHN WellBeing Behavioral Health Center at its Westfield campus at 77 Mill Street. Walk-in hours at both locations are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those seeking care may also call (413) 301-WELL (413-301 -9355) to stay connected to services, or go online to bhninc.org/wellness for more information.

Winn took the podium Friday to express the vision for his organization’s newest center.

“We believe it will enable us to better realize a vision where individuals and families with mental health and substance use issues can access the right care at the right time, in the right place, and achieve recovery goals,” he said. winn.

The mental health professional said the center is here to connect anyone struggling with their mental health and/or substance abuse with the right resources. As of Thursday, BHN has connected 200 new clients to its services since the start of the new year, adding to the organization’s list of more than 5,000 clients.

Springfield Mayor Sarno spoke Friday about the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing mental health epidemic that soon followed.

“We have partnered with BHN and the Superintendent of Police [Cheryl] Clapprood to have specialized mental health counselors on the street with our police department,” the mayor said. “So when those calls go out and it’s a mental health crisis, they’ll be there. I’m looking to expand that as well.”

The city’s health commissioner, Caulton-Harris, credited former state representative Benjamin Swan, saying he was one of the first politicians to stress the importance of mental health taking up the “mantle of mental health” and moving it forward.

Caulton-Harris went on to thank BHN for their continued support in increasing access to mental health resources in Springfield.

“BHN as an organization deserves a lot of credit for its prevention, intervention and treatment efforts throughout the city and the western region,” he said.

Anyone interested in contacting counselors or finding Behavioral Health Network facilities and services in their area can look to the organization’s website. website for details.

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