WORCESTER — As the pandemic continues to profoundly impact mental health, a local nonprofit expanded its services to meet increased demand of in-person and telehealth visits.
Seven Hills Foundation celebrated the grand opening of its newly completed 25,000 square-foot behavioral health center — Seven Hills Child & Family Behavioral Health — at 135 Gold Star Blvd., Monday afternoon.
Main hub for YOU Inc. behavioral health clinical operations
The new center, which started operating at the end of August, will serve as the main hub for behavioral health clinical operations for Youth Opportunities Upheld (YOU Inc.) and the Children’s Friend and Family Services of Central Massachusetts, where Seven Hills affiliates have supported children and families in Worcester for decades.
Attending the event were David A. Jordan, president of Seven Hills Foundation; Kathleen M. Jordan, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Seven Hills Foundation; Seven Hills staff; and several elected officials including City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr., state Sen. Anne M. Gobi, state Reps. Kimberly N. Ferguson and Hannah Kane and City Councilor Matt Wally.
A tour of the new center was provided to local and state officials after the opening.
"Historically, we've done a lot of work with adolescents," said Kathleen Jordan, adding that the "no-wrong door" expands services including adult support, substance use expertise and more. "This clinic enables us to work with children and adults regardless of their behavior of health needs."
"Anything that we can do to expand the access to mental health services is critical." City Manager Edward M. Agustus Jr.
Augustus, a longtime vocal advocate for mental health services in the city, spoke during opening remarks.
"Seven Hills continues to be an essential partner to our work here in the city and beyond," said Augustus, who has seen a substantial increase of people experiencing mental health disorders since the pandemic began including anxiety over financial stress or health issues. "They continue to respond where there is a need — and today is a crucial example of their willingness to take on big projects that help people in need."
"(They’re) just not able to go about their normal routine," Augustus continued. “Anything that we can do to expand the access to mental health services is critical.“
The new integrated building features a lobby, several conference rooms, group therapy rooms and clinical offices that accommodate 120 clinicians at the center.
A special training room — the Maurice J. Boisvert Learning Center — is named after Maurice J. Boisvert, founding chief executive officer of YOU Inc. who contributed 40 years of building a brighter future for youth and families.
Additional technologies are embedded throughout the center as well to support Seven Hills 2.0 — a care design that allows clinicians, health care providers, nurses and doctors to connect directly with patients.
The new "open access" model will allow people to gain access to care without sitting on a waiting list while in crisis.
Several Seven Hills programs operated by affiliates, including home-based therapy, foster care and other community-based programs, will also be housed in the building.