• Mental Health First Aid Training and Certification

    Imagine this scenario:

    One day, while walking your dog in the local park, you notice a neighbor up ahead on the trail. Suddenly, he’s staggering, stumbling and then grasping onto the back of a park bench.  His breathing is labored. His complexion has turned ashen.

    What would you do?

    You would take out your cell phone to dial 9-1-1.   Then, while waiting for the emergency team to arrive, if you knew CPR and/or First Aid, you would try to save your neighbor until the ambulance actually got there.

    Now, what if you could learn those same CPR-style skills to help someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis? 

    Mental Health First Aid Training and Certification is an 8-hour training to teach participants how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The evidence behind the program demonstrates that it helps trainees to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illlness and substance use disorders.

    What this training doesn’t do: It doesn’t teach you how to diagnose or treat a mental health issue. Like traditional First Aid programs, it teaches you about the signs, symptoms and how to get help.

    Learn more at the Mental Health First Aid website.

    Mental Health First Aid is a national and international public education and prevention tool to improve our knowledge of mental health and substance use problems.

    To date, 740,000 Americans have been trained via a network of more than 9,000 certified trainers.

    Hear from the experts

    Watch this video to learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid and how it can help your school, police department, family or youth center .

    Or listen to this NPR interview and profile on how all  police departments in Rhode Island are using this tool to help them work more effectively with those who have mental health issues.

    The National Council for Behavioral Health—a national trade group with more than 2,500 member organizations—helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008, with the goal of making it as common as traditional First Aid and CPR are today.

    There are two types of trainings and certifications: Youth Mental Health First Aid (12 - 21) and Adult Mental Health First Aid (21 and older).

    Watch this video for a pre-taste of what this training is like.

     Mental Health First Aid and Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    As the largest provider of outpatient and inpatient mental health and substance use services north of Boston, we are proud to partner with this national program and, through our certified trainer, to be able to offer it to our community organizations.

    The trainees attend an eight-hour training (one long session or two, four-hour sessions) that teaches them a 5-step action plan. Trainees also learn risk factors and warning signs, and about available treatments.

    Who Takes This Training?

    Certified Trainer Nickey Mullen, LMHC, CEAP, with trainees.

    Teachers, guidance counselors, police departments, EMTs, youth workers, families, corrections officers, healthcare workers and anybody who interacts with the public.

    Does Mental Health First Aid Actually Work?

    Yes. Three quantitiave and one qualitative studies have shown that Mental Health First Aid training (1) improves people’s mental health (2) increases understanding of mental health issues and treatment  (3) connects more people with care and (4) reduces stigma.

    Bring This Training To Your Organization

    If you work with youth: We can collaborate with you to set up a Youth Mental Health First Aid training for your team. We can also help you develop the budget for  this eight-hour training, including the trainees’ take-home kits, formal certificates and other projected training expenses. 

    If you work with adults: In late spring 2017, we will also be offering Adult Mental Health First Aid training and certification.Again, we can work with you to develop the best setup and projected budget for you.

    Call Nickey Mullen, our certified trainer, at 978.968.1709 or email us to inquire how we can bring this program to your organization. All trainings are interactive and movement-centered with a maximum of 30 enrolled participants.

     

     

  • New Year’s Resolutions: Making Your 2017 Health Changes Stick

    This is the time of year when we vow to eat better, exercise more, practice mindfulness or seek professional treatment for mental or physical health issues. 

    It’s wonderful to make those New Year’s Resolutions, but how can we make these behavioral modifications actually stick? How can they help us to make a long-term lifestyle change?

    Here are some tips for making long-term healthy changes:

    • Set realistic goals. Write down the steps that will help you achieve those goals
    • Plan for obstacles. Figure out how to overcome them. Don’t give up just because you’ve slipped.
    • Track your progress. A journal or diary is one of the best tools for helping you stay focused and recover from slip-ups. Also, there are many online apps to help you track your success and progress
    • Get help. Ask friends and family for support. Consider enrolling in a class or program or clinical support group. 
    • Reward yourself. Give yourself a healthy treat when you’ve achieved a small goal or milestone
    • Add variety. Keep things interesting by adding new activities or expanding your goals to make them more challenging.

    Here are some informational resources that can get you started and keep you on track:

    Top 10 Wellbeing Apps

    Get Moving and Stay Healthy  

    Get Help with Quitting Smoking 

    Mental Health and Wellness

    Rethink Your Drinking 

    Get Help with Addiction

    Learn about Opioid Addiction and How to get Help

    Someone close to you using drugs and alcohol? Allies in Recovery, an online resource and community is free to Massachusetts residents.

    Article source: NIH News in Health

     

  • Our 10 Tips for Holiday Wellness

     

    1. Say ‘yes’ to your health:  Create a list between now and New Years of healthy and joyful things that you will do for yourself.   Practice saying a polite “no” if you are asked to participate in events that are beyond your comfort zone or not included on that healthy to-do list that you have created. Or check out these tips for sharing holiday meals with people in your life who may add to your stress. 

    2. Breathe and be present:  Practice a simple breathing, meditation or centering technique to help you keep a sense of calm.  As you join the flurry of pre-holiday shopping or parties (or not), make sure you are truly present for each person and event and place.

    3. Plan ahead for the workplace holiday party: Nervous about the workplace holiday bash? Prepare ahead of time for how you will act, how much you will drink, when you will arrive and leave, and how you will get home safely. Newly in recovery from problem drinking or alcoholism? Pre-planning for the workplace party is even more crucial. Or, better yet, bring along a non-drinking friend or support person. Don’t go it alone. 

    4. When is it more than holiday blues?  Learn and recognize the signs of depression. Ask for professional help. Speak to your doctor about the many resources on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley that will help you to cope with depression, grief or loss before or during the holidays (see # 10, “Ask for help”).

    5. Get exercise: Find time every day to walk outdoors. In the winter, when light is low, our systems slow down and outdoor light can help to lift our spirits.  Exercise will also offset those extra holiday treats and calories. This doctor helps you to keep to a consistent 30 minutes’ exercise per day. 

    6. Role models for your kids:  Children and teens need to see a consistent policy around drinking and other drug use in your home. If you need to, create new family memories with healthy meals and alcohol-free celebrations with your children.

    7. Sleep: It’s not uncommon to lose sleep as our holiday activities increase. Have fun while maintaining your regular sleep patterns.      

    8. Trust your values: Test your friends’ and loved ones’ requirements or expectations against your own values. Be clear about those values and why they mean so much to you. For example, if you would rather donate to charity than purchase or receive gifts, be clear about your preference and invite them to join in activities which will bring you both together in joy.

    9. Be a good host: If you’re hosting that party or holiday dinner, you are responsible for all your guests’ safety. Serve a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Use standard, measured drinks. Never serve anyone under 21, and ensure that all guests have a safe and sober ride home. The Massachusetts Social Host Law defines your responsibilities. 

    10. Ask for help:  If the holidays bring you more stress than joy, or if they evoke unhappy feelings or memories, our local newspapers often have health-event calendars and updates on local support groups. Your local hospice has support groups for those who are grieving around the holidays. Your local 12-step group will give you a support system if you are trying to stay clean and sober. Your doctor will recommend (or call our agency) for an outpatient counseling option. Or check out the local branch of NAMI for resources near your home. 

    Note: This article is informational only, and does not, as such, constitute or replace clinical treatment or intervention.

    Doing a media story on holiday wellness? Contact us for expert commentary. 978-968-1736 or .

  • Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan Presented with MITSS’ Annual HOPE Award

    For more info, 978.968.1736 or 781.744.9665

    Boston, MA –Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Lahey Health Behavioral Services, was presented with the HOPE Award at the Medically Induced Trauma Support Services, Inc. (MITSS) at its annual meeting in Boston.

    MITSS, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in June of 2002 whose mission is to support healing and restore hope to patients, families, and clinicians who have been affected by an adverse medical event.  Medically Induced Traumas are unexpected outcomes that occur during medical and/or surgical care that affect the emotional well-being of patients, family members or clinicians. MITSS was founded to create awareness, promote open and honest communication, and provide services, support and advocacy to patients, families, and clinicians affected by medically induced trauma.

    The MITSS HOPE Award was established in 2008 to recognize patients, families, healthcare providers, hospitals, academic institutions and others that exemplify the mission of MITSS: Supporting Healing and Restoring Hope to patients, families, and clinicians impacted by adverse medical events.  Dr. Sullivan received the award because throughout her career, she has worked on both the provider and patient sides of this issue, as both an advocate for the safety and well-being of physicians and nurses, as well as ensuring the safety of patients as the Chair of Physician Services at the Massachusetts Medical Society and through her leadership of the Coalition for Prevention of Medical Errors.

     “I am honored and humbled to receive the MITSS HOPE Award,” said Dr. Sullivan. “It has been a wonderful privilege over the years to work with Linda Kenney and so many others dedicated to better, safer care for patients and caregivers alike.”

    In her role as Chief Medical Officer of Lahey Health Behavioral Services, Dr. Sullivan oversees the integration of behavioral health and addiction services throughout the Lahey Health system. She is also a clinical assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.  Dr. Sullivan was chief resident in psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1984-85, joining Lahey in 1986. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

    “When I learned Mary Anna Sullivan was this year’s recipient of the HOPE Award, I was thrilled,” said Linda Kenney, President and Executive Director of MITSS. “Mary Anna has always made sure patients were in the forefront of the patient safety work and she’s been equally committed to make sure frontline staffs’ needs were addressed as well.”

    For additional information about MITSS or the MITSS HOPE Award, visit www.mitss.org.  For more information about Lahey Health, including lists of services and physicians as well as what separates it from other healthcare systems, visit www.laheyhealth.org, follow the Lahey Health Twitter feed, or become a fan on Facebook.

    About Lahey Health

    Lahey Health is what’s next in health care, providing a full continuum of integrated health services close to where you live or work. It is comprised of nationally recognized, award-winning hospitals—including an academic hospital and medical center, and community hospitals—primary care providers, specialist physicians, behavioral health services, post-acute programs such as home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, and senior care resources located throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

    Lahey Health offers nearly 1,400 locally based physicians providing clinical excellence and an exceptional patient experience in adult and pediatric primary care and every medical specialty, including kidney and liver transplantation; neurosurgery, cancer, cardiovascular and orthopedic medical and surgical care; local emergency and trauma care; urological surgery; chronic disease prevention and health management; and pediatric emergency, newborn and inpatient care provided in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital physicians.

    Lahey Health includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center—a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine—and Lahey Clinic physician group with practices in Burlington, Peabody and other locations throughout northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire; Beverly Hospital; Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.; Winchester Hospital; Lahey Health Senior Care and Lahey Health Behavioral Services as well as more than 30 primary care physician practices and multiple outpatient and satellite specialty care facilities.

    Together, we are making innovative, integrated healthcare more personal and more accessible. For more information, visit LaheyHealth.org and its member websites Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital, Winchester Hospital, and Lahey Health Behavioral Services.

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  • The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation Funds Substance Use Program for Adolescents, Families on the North Shore

    The Team 14 team with Nick Randell (rear, right), Program Officer, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.  

    Earlier this year, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation awarded a grant of $264,066 to Lahey Health Behavioral Services (LHBS).  

    This fall, the three-year grant has allowed LHBS to launch Team 14, a specialized individual and family therapy services for local youth with substance use concerns. The team is now working with its first group of adolescents and their parents or guardians.

    The Team 14 initiative addresses a documented lack of mid-range level and community-based substance use treatment services (for adolescents) by offering youth and their families access to treatment at home or at school during convenient afternoon and evening hours.

    The clinical team is comprised of outreach mental health counselors and case workers with expertise in substance use treatment. The team will provide evidence-based, family-centered and highly focused interventions.   

    Team Fourteen will serve youth ages 12-25 and their caregivers who live on Boston’s North Shore.

    For referrals, contact the program at 978.867.7137.  All inquiries and services are 100% confidential and provided at no cost to the youth or family.

    About Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services is a non-profit agency that provides a range of outpatient, inpatient and residential care, including mental health clinics; addiction treatment; family services; mobile crisis teams; psychiatric treatment and school-based programs for children and teens.  The agency serves communities in greater Boston, the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

    About The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

    The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation seeks to support community programming that will result in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. The Foundation makes grants totaling 7-8 million dollars annually. For more information on The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, please visit thetowerfoundation.org.

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  • Two New Medical Directors for Lahey Health’s Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Programs

    Barry Ginsberg, M.D. has been appointed as the medical director for Lahey Health Behavioral Services’ Addictions Treatment Services Division.  In this role, Dr. Ginsberg will oversee clinical care across 11 treatment programs in Boston, the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley. 

    Lahey’s addiction treatment programs provide various levels of inpatient and outpatient care for adults with substance use disorders, ranging from medical detoxification services, to residential care and medication‑assisted treatments for opioid dependency.

    In addition to this new role, Dr. Ginsberg serves as medical director for Lahey Health Behavioral Services’ Population Health and Emergency Services Division as well as its Inpatient Psychiatric Services. 

    He is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine, and is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.  He is a Certified Physician Executive and member of the American Association for Physician Leadership. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, from which he received their first voluntary faculty award in 2009.

    Medical Director, Outpatient Division

    Patrick R. Aquino, MD has been appointed as medical director for the Ambulatory Services Division at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. In this role, Dr. Aquino will oversee  care delivery across 7 outpatient clinics and outreach programs in the Merrimack Valley and on the North Shore.

     The clinics provide various modalities of outpatient mental health care for adults, teens and children.

    In addition to this new role, Dr. Aquino oversees Lahey’s acute and primary care-embedded behavioral health services and chairs the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine for Lahey Hospital & Medical Center.

    Dr. Aquino is board certified in psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine and is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

    In addition to his clinical leadership at Lahey Health, Patrick is assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

  • Back to School Blues (and other issues)? We Can Help With That

    Students in North Shore schools will have access to specialized counseling resources for the 2016/`17 school year—thanks to local funders.  

    The North Shore United Way (NSUW) has led the funding to provide and support teen counseling services in the Beverly schools and several other North Shore communities. The funding is part of the NSUW’s 2016 Community Impact Grants and supports the Student Assistance Program, a school-based program provided by Lahey Health Behavioral Services.

    Other funders include the Greater Boston Council on Alcoholism and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation. Services are available in a total of five schools in Gloucester, Ipswich, Beverly and Danvers. Watch the United Way’s video to hear from one teen who benefited from the program.

    The Student Assistance Program is responding to a growing need for local teens to get in-school help with issues such as depression, anxiety, bullying, cyberbullying, eating disorders, peer pressure and drug use. Last year, most students sought support and help for anxiety.

     Specialized counselors from Lahey Health Behavioral Services are imbedded in the schools to collaborate with teachers and counseling departments to provide assessment, counseling, teacher or parent consultations and, if needed, referral to health services outside the school.  

     “We are grateful to the North Shore United Way and all of our funders,” says Satya R. Montgomery, Ph.D., Vice President for Children and Youth Services at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “Their generosity and hard work show  a real commitment to services for local teens.”  

  • Elite Athletes, The Competitive Sports Lifestyle and Depression

    Americo Mello, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist, Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    Most people would think that elite athletes have nothing to be depressed about.

    Yet, many world-competing athletes have publicly acknowledged their struggles with depression.

    There  are a number of stressors that are distinct to an elite athlete’s lifestyle, such as concerns about being injured, under performing, being replaced, losing sponsors, and money. They also contend with training demands, which may mean never being home, missing family events, and missing social time with friends. Add to these stressors the fact that they lead very public lives, and are often the focus of media attention and fans.  

    Traditionally, the sporting culture values top performance, and sporting institutions may not fully prepare their elite athletes for the mental demands involved.  Many are expected to endure pain, so they may keep their depression a secret, struggle with depression alone and delay seeking help. Eventually, as depressive symptoms worsen,  athletes may begin to self-isolate, feel lethargic, experience emotional outbursts, or lose their passion for the sport.

    Their playing and personal behavior start to change,  including increased conflicts with coaches, teammates and family. These changes in behavior may be misinterpreted by coaches as an indication of an athlete’s lack of motivation or willingness to train and not a sign of depression.

    The best news? Depression is a condition that, once diagnosed, is fully treatable. The other good news is that, these days, some sporting institutions have started to incorporate mental wellbeing and psychological treatment as part of their training programs.

  • Tower Foundation Funds Substance Use Program for Adolescents, Families on the North Shore

    L-R:   Nick Randell (right), Program Officer, The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, with the Team-14 clinicians.  

    Earlier this year, the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation awarded a grant of $264,066 to Lahey Health Behavioral Services (LHBS).  

    The three-year grant has allowed LHBS to launch Team 14, a specialized individual and family therapy services for local youth with substance use concerns. 

    The Team 14 project addresses a documented lack of mid-range level and community-based substance use treatment services (for adolescents) by offering youth and their families access to treatment at home or at school during convenient afternoon and evening hours.

    The clinical team is comprised of substance use specialists who will provide evidence-based, family-centered and highly focused interventions.  The Team Fourteen clinical group includes outreach mental health counselors and case workers.

    “We’re excited to receive this grant from the Tower Foundation,” said Kevin Norton, CEO of Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “Our clinical team will help educate families about substance use and how best to support a child and his or her family who is struggling.” 

    Team Fourteen will serve youth ages 12-25 and their caregivers who live on Boston’s North Shore.

    About Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services is a non-profit agency that provides a range of outpatient, inpatient and residential care, including mental health clinics; addiction treatment; family services; mobile crisis teams; psychiatric treatment and school-based programs for children and teens.  The agency serves communities in greater Boston, the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

    About The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation

    The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation seeks to support community programming that will result in children, adolescents, and young adults affected by substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental illness, and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. The Foundation makes grants totaling 7-8 million dollars annually. For more information on The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, please visit thetowerfoundation.org.

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  • Tragedy, Trauma and Mental Health

    In the wake of harrowing tragedies like police and civilian shootins—plus the Orlando massacre—people far and wide can experience trauma—even if they were not directly involved in the event. And the signs don’t necessarily manifest themselves right away.

    They may appear later. But we can help. All of us can help someone who struggles with trauma—whether you work in the medical community, you are just another caring individual or you are a mental health or addictions provider.

    Here are some tips and guidelines.

    How To Speak to Your Children About Tragedies

    How the Orlando Tragedy Can Broadly Impact the LGBTQ Community

    Find this useful resource at the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare
     

    10 Signs Someone May Be Experiencing Trauma

    Find the signs here.

     10 Tips To Help Someone Experiencing Trauma

     Find 10 ways to help here.

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  • Moira Muir, LMHC, is new VP of Population Health and Emergency Psychiatric Services

    Moira Muir, LMHC, has been appointed to the position of Vice President, Population Health and Emergency Psychiatric Services at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. As vice president, Ms. Muir is a member of the Agency’s Senior Leadership Team.

    The VP of Population Health and Emergency Psychiatric Services is a newly created position to provide strategic oversight for our evolving healthcare model that integrates medical, psychiatric and psychosocial services.

    In keeping with our Agency vision, this treatment model provides the right service in the right place and at the right time to the population for whom the Lahey Health system is responsible.

    In addition to guiding and implementing a broad-based constellation of integrated services, Ms. Muir will collaborate with the Lahey Health’s accountable care structure. She will also promote new opportunities for Lahey/LHBS to manage the healthcare of additional populations or patient groups.

    Moira Muir has 25 years’ experience in behavioral health. Most recently, she served as the Vice President for Network Management for Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership/Beacon Health Options.

    She holds a Master of Science in Psychology from Northeastern University.

  • Welcome to Jean Jackson, Vice President, Human Resources

    Jean Jackson will be leading our HR strategy and providing executive leadership to our Human Resources team. She will be responsible for overseeing all areas of human resources including talent acquisition, talent management, and talent development as well as promoting a culture of positive employee relations.

    Jean comes to Lahey with over 15 years of executive leadership experience, most recently as the VP of HR for Ascentria Care Alliance, a $70m social services organization based in Worcester, MA with programs throughout New England. Prior to that Jean served over 5 years as the VP of Workforce Planning and Talent Acquisition at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA. Jean has extensive experience in Behavioral Health as she was the VP of Administration and Human Resources at South Shore Mental Health in Quincy, MA and began her career at McLean Hospital.

    View the entire HR team and their respective roles on the HR page at StaffMatter.

    Need to contact Human Resources? Email or call the person listed who can meet your specific need.  

  • Adolescent Anxiety: Symptoms, Triggers and How To Help — Two North Shore Events For Parents, Teachers

    Our Student Assistance Program works with local middle and high schools to provide specialized services and referrals for teens.

    Last year, the students came to us for help with a variety of issues, including depression, substance use, bullying and anxiety. Among those, anxiety was the big and recurring concern for youth and their parents (see word cloud below). 

    This year, in response to this identified and growing need, with the support of our primary funder, The North Shore United Way, we are presenting two events for parents on the North Shore. These events are free to the public, hosted by licensed clinicians and will allow lots of time for attendees’ questions and discussion.  

    News media and health bloggers: Our presenters and clinicians are available for interview before and after these April events. 

    Anxious Adolescent Minds in a Hectic World - for Parents, Teachers, Youth Workers

    Danvers - April 13

    What: A presentation for adults about the symptoms and triggers of adolescent anxiety and how we can help. Presented by licensed clinicians with extensive experience working with adolescents.

    When: Wednesday April 13, 2016, 6:30-7:30 PM

    Where: Holten Richmond Middle School, 55 Conant St, Danvers, Multi Purpose Room (Danvers Middle School)

    Cost: Free

    Presented by: The Student Assistance Program of Lahey Health Behavioral Services and the North Shore United Way

    More info: 978-867-7137. There will be lots of time for audience questions.

    ———————

    Ipswich -  April 27

    What: A presentation for adults about the symptoms and triggers of adolescent anxiety and how we can help. Presented by licensed clinicians with extensive experience working with adolescents.

    When: Wednesday April 27, 2016, 6:30-7:30 PM

    Where: Ipswich YMCA, 110 County Rd., Ipswich, MA — Located at the Schoolage Center

    Cost: Free

    Presented by: The Student Assistance Program of Lahey Health Behavioral Services and the North Shore United Way

    More info: 978-867-7137. There will be lots of time for audience questions.

  • Recent State and Federal Legislation Around Opioid Addiction, Prevention

    In a near-unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate approved the Comprehensive Addictions and Recovery Act (S.524), the first standalone bill to pass the Senate in years. Known as CARA, the legislation authorizes much-needed funding for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs to help Americans struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids. The bill passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 94-1 and now moves to the House for consideration.

    Read more about the bill here.

     Meanwhile, here in Massachusetts, a new law that aims to enhance substance use disorder prevention, care and services was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 14.

     The law includes new regulations that impact providers throughout the state, and aside from a small number of provisions, most regulations are now in effect.

    Read more about the Massachusetts law here

  • Visiting Dad in Treatment: Now It’s Much Better— Thanks to Bright Horizons Foundation For Children

    Tewksbury, Mass—The Transitions residential program just got a bright new children’s play area for families who are visiting a loved one (father, brother) who is in treatment for addiction.

    Transitions, our residential home for men in recovery from addiction, is the first all-male program to receive funding and assistance from Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

    Founded in 1999, Bright Horizons for Children is a nonprofit organization that creates comforting places for children in crisis.

    The organization creates learning, play areas, arts and crafts opportunities and comfortable nooks in homeless and domestic violence shelters, prisons, hospitals and other facilities that serve at-risk children.  

    “We are so grateful to Bright Horizons for this wonderful makeover of our family visiting area,” says Marty Dunphy, Transitions’ Program Director. “This space will allow the men in our program to spend time with their children in a welcoming and child-friendly area.” 

  • Two New Program Directors For Addiction Treatment Services on the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley

    Mary Crockett, Medication-Assisted Treatment, Gloucester 

    Mary M. Crockett, LMHC, LDAC (left) has been appointed Program Director, Opiate Addiction Treatment Services, Gloucester.   In this role, Crockett will oversee all staff and clinical care delivery for medication-assisted treatment (methadone) for clients and patients on Cape Ann and beyond.

    Located on Washington Street, the clinic provides medically-assisted treatment and counseling for men and women struggling with addiction to opioids.  

    Mary comes to Lahey Health Behavioral Services with over 15 years’ experience in addiction treatment, counseling and leadership.  Prior to this appointment, she served as the assistant program director, Middlesex Sheriffs Office.  From 2006 – 2009, she served as the program director for our medication-assisted programs in Danvers.

    Mary holds an M.Ed in Counselor Training  and a B.Sc in Psychology from UMassBoston. 

    Jennifer Faretra, LADCII, Tewksbury Treatment Center

    Jennifer Faretra, LADCII (right) has been appointed Program Director, Tewksbury Treatment Center.

    Located on the grounds of Tewksbury Hospital, the Treatment Center is a 32-bed inpatient detoxification service that treats and cares for clients (men and women, 18 and older) in need of medical detoxification from illicit drugs and alcohol.

    Licensed by the Mass. Department of Public Health, the Center was opened in 2013 to serve towns within and beyond the Merrimack Valley.

    Faretra comes to the position with a long career in substance use treatment and case management, and has worked with Lahey Health Behavioral Services since 2010.

    Prior to this appointment, she served as an assistant program director for a residential treatment program in Lynn.

  • Taking Care Of Yourself When Your Child Is Using Drugs

    When we have conversations with parents about their substance-using children, we often ask: What are you doing right now for your own well-being? Parents react to the self-care suggestion in many ways, but the two most common responses include   

    1) I’ve already tried and it did not help or 

    2) I don’t have time

     Often, when someone in your household (whom you love) is using substances, he or she is also engaged in associated difficult behaviors, such as pushing boundaries, leaving home without permission, spending time with scary friends and involved in legal issues. Amid all these, it can be challenging to set aside time for yourself.  

    It is possible, however, to support a loved one and  take care of yourself at the same time. In fact, experts suggest that in order to be truly helpful, it is necessary. For an analogy, let’s look to the airlines. During the in-flight safety instructions,  the attendant always tells us to put on our own life masks before assisting someone else.

     Where to Turn?

    There are two categories of self-care that can be very helpful for parents and loved ones: stress reducing activities and social support.

    Stress-reduction: Speaking with a counselor is a great option, but it’s not the only one. Also,  at our SUN Program, we will often ask parents to think back to what they enjoyed doing before their family’s current situation. A sport or fitness activity? Reading? A creative or artistic activity? Now is a great time to rediscover what worked in the past. And, if past options aren’t available, developing a new hobby can work just as well.

    Social supports: Connecting with other parents or loved ones with similar experiences can help you to feel less alone. Although it may feel disloyal to your loved one to share his or her struggles with others, talking about your experiences as a parent increases your resilience and allows you to be more helpful to your loved one in the long run.

    Thanks to the internet, you can join forums, email chains and Facebook groups where people with a common struggle “meet” and discuss issues. However, when using social media or other sites, make sure you use these sites’ privacy settings to protect your privacy and to separate this online identity from your professional one. Also know that, in certain legal and other cases, information posted online may be accessed in response to a legal request.

    More Resources for your self-care:

    http://learn2cope.org  Learn to Cope is a peer led support network for families dealing with addiction and recovery. The website offers a forum and schedules for their meetings.

    http://www.familiesanonymous.org/ A free support group originally founded in 1971 by parents. Website offers a meeting list and e-meetings.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-hornefferginter-phd/gps-guides_b_1632700.html Article written for the Huffington Post by author Karen Horneffer Ginter PhD. Includes a colorful image featuring “50 Ways to Take a Break” that can serve as great self-care inspiration!

    For additional support related to youth substance use, contact the SUN Project. For no cost, we can speak directly to affected youth as well as provide coaching to providers, parents and concerned others. Access our website by clicking the sun in our banner or the link below.

    Substance Use Navigation (SUN) Project, a program of Lahey Health Behavioral Services, provides free support and navigation services to Essex County youth and families, as well as training and consultation for professionals and community members. To spread awareness related to youth substance use, the SUN Project shares information and resources that you might find helpful.

    www.sunprojectma.org

  • Our 10 Tips for Holiday Wellness

    1. Say ‘yes’ to your health:  Create a list between now and New Years of healthy and joyful things that you will do for yourself.   Practice saying a polite “no” if you are asked to participate in events that are beyond your comfort zone or that healthy to-do list you have created. Or check out these tips for sharing holiday meals with people in your life who may add to your stress. 

    2. Breathe and be present:  Practice a simple breathing, meditation or centering technique to help you keep a sense of calm.  As you join the flurry of pre-holiday shopping or parties (or not), make sure you are truly present for each person and event and place.

    3. Plan ahead for the workplace holiday party: Nervous about the workplace holiday bash? Prepare ahead of time for how you will act, how much you will drink, when you will arrive and leave, and how you will get home safely. Newly in recovery from problem drinking or alcoholism? Pre-planning for the workplace party is even more crucial. Or, better yet, bring along a non-drinking friend or support person. Don’t go it alone. 

    4. When is it more than holiday blues?  Learn and recognize the signs of depression. Ask for professional help. Speak to your doctor about the many resources on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley that will help you to cope with depression, grief or loss before or during the holidays (see # 10, “Ask for help”).

    5. Get exercise: Find time every day to walk outdoors. In the winter, when light is low, our systems slow down and outdoor light can help to lift our spirits.  Exercise will also offset those extra holiday treats and calories. This doctor helps you to keep to a consistent 30 minutes’ exercise per day. 

    6. Role models for your kids:  Children and teens need to see a consistent policy around drinking and other drug use in your home. If you need to, create new family memories with healthy meals and alcohol-free celebrations with your children.

    7. Sleep: It’s not uncommon to lose sleep as our holiday activities increase. Have fun while maintaining your regular sleep patterns.      

    8. Trust your values: Test your friends’ and loved ones’ requirements or expectations against your own values. Be clear about those values and why they mean so much to you. For example, if you would rather donate to charity than purchase or receive gifts, be clear about your preference and invite them to join in activities which will bring you both together in joy.

    9. Be a good host: If you’re hosting that party or holiday dinner, you are responsible for all your guests’ safety. Serve a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Use standard, measured drinks. Never serve anyone under 21, and ensure that all guests have a safe and sober ride home. The Massachusetts Social Host Law defines your responsibilities. 

    10. Ask for help:  If the holidays bring you more stress than joy, or if they evoke unhappy feelings or memories, our local newspapers often have health-event calendars and updates on local support groups. Your local hospice has support groups for those who are grieving around the holidays. Your local 12-step group will give you a support system if you are trying to stay clean and sober. Your doctor will recommend (or call our agency) for an outpatient counseling option. Or check out the local branch of NAMI for resources near your home. 

    Note: This article is informational only, and does not, as such, constitute or replace clinical treatment or intervention.

    Doing a media story on holiday wellness? Contact us for expert commentary. 978-968-1736 or .

     

     

  • The “S” Word and Addiction

     

    When our  staff from the SUN Project (Substance Use Navigation) participate in public events (info forums, lectures, health fairs), they encounter one word again and again: stigma.

    Stigma. These days, we use this word so often that we almost miss its meaning and potential consequences.   A stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person or group apart.  

    Young people who struggle with substance use (and their families) face stigma in the form of labeling, shame, stereotypes, prejudice and social exclusion. Among a youth’s own peer group, stigma happens when children or adolescents pick up on cultural attitudes and taboos from the adults in their lives. 

    Make no mistake, stigma is more than a damaging word or label. It could keep a youth who needs help silent. It could make a parent or guardian think twice about reaching out.

    Bottom line:  When substance use is mislabeled as a result of bad parenting or rebellious, disrespectful or lazy kids, it can keep someone from getting treatment or help. 

    Deleting the “S” word: Can You Do It?

    We can all stop using damaging labels when talking about substance use. When it comes to the young people in your life, you can ask your son, daughter, nephew or neighbor about substance use in the same way that you ask about any other health issues.  You can assess and check your own prejudices and how you talk about others in your social or professional circle.

     Additional Resources:       

     - #StateWithoutStigMA - A Massachusetts Department of Public Health program that provides action steps, a quiz to test your knowledge of addiction and detect any negative bias. Check out or follow this movement in social media;

     - Many Faces1Voice: The social movement behind the powerful documentary, The Anonymous People and book, Many Faces One Voice

    For additional support related to youth substance use, contact the SUN Project. For no cost, we can speak directly to affected youth,  as well as provide coaching to providers, parents and concerned others.   This is a free, 100% confidential service to local families and anyone who works with youth. 

  • Women In Recovery: Healing and Hope

    L-R: Judy Girard, Marty Dunphy, Program Directors; Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, CMO; Hilary Jacobs, VP, Addictions; and Kate Donahue, Program Director

    On October 20, Lahey Health Behavioral Services hosted the “Women In Recovery Celebration.”  This year’s event theme was “Hope and Healing.”
    The annual event celebrates the unique challenges and successes of women in recovery from addiction and mental health conditions.

    Speakers included Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, Chief Medical Officer, and Kevin P. Norton, CEO.

    Also, J and H, two women who have received treatment in our programs, spoke about their paths into addiction, treatment and recovery.

    Here is an excerpt from J’s presentation:

    “Methadone treatment has such a stigma that it makes It hard for me to be proud of all I’ve accomplished. Being in the methadone program is not just about getting the methadone dose; it’s about being part of something much larger, including the drug screens, groups, visits with the doctor and seeing the nurse daily. I have an incredible counselor here at Lahey, and I thank God every day for the life I have now.”

    Here is an excerpt from H’s presentation:

    “I have a full-time job that I love. I’m finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Business. My afternoons and weekends are spent with my three-year-old daughter.  This time last year, my life was NOT wonderful… . This time last year, I was a different person: unreliable, un-employable and un-trust-able.”

  • Massachusetts Bill S.2341 and Navigating the Treatment System For Youth and Adults

    October 1st, 2015 marked a major milestone for the treatment of addiction in Massachusetts. On that day, the final portion of Massachusetts bill S.2341 becomes law. The new law will mandate that in the state of Massachusetts, any person requiring treatment for substance use can receive up to 14 days of inpatient care without the need to seek authorization from his or her insurance company ahead of time. This removes a major barrier to treatment for adults in the state.

    While the SUN Project works most directly with adolescents, addiction is a family disease.

    If adults in a family are suffering from substance-related challenges, there is a greater risk that younger members of that family will also use or abuse substances. Adults who seek treatment can not only model healthy lifestyles, but positive decision-making as well.

    If you know an adult who needs support in combating a substance use problem, a good first option is to call 800-327-5050 to receive information on treatment options, or visit helpline-onling.org. Both of these resources are operated by the Institute of Health and Recovery, a major provider of services for accessing treatment. Or visit our menu of addiction treatment options on this website. 

    Addiction Treatment for Adolescents Is Often More Accessible

    If you know a youth who needs support , but you don’t know where to start, call the SUN Project at 978-867-7137 or contact us confidentially through our website.

    If your son, daughter or student is actively using substances and you know that he or she needs treatment, you can call the Central Intake service, also of the Institute for Health and Recovery. This service can be reached at 617-661-3991. This resource is able to steer youth and families to treatment and recovery resources across the state.

    If someone of any age is under the influence and posing a risk to his or her own safety, or to the safety of others, call 911 and report as much information as possible to the operator.

    For additional support related to youth substance use, contact the SUN Project. We can speak directly to affected youth as well as provide coaching to providers, parents and concerned others. Thanks to generous funding, our services are free. 

    Substance Use Navigation (SUN) Project, a program of Lahey Health Behavioral Services, provides free support and navigation services to Essex County youth and families, as well as training and consultation for professionals and community members. To spread awareness related to youth substance use, the SUN Project shares information and resources that you might find helpful to you, one of your students or a patient in your pediatric practice. 
     

  • Back to School Woes? On the North Shore, There’s Help for That

    Students in North Shore schools will have access to specialized counseling resources for the 2016/`17 school year—thanks to local funders.  

    The North Shore United Way (NSUW) has led the funding to provide and support teen counseling services in the Beverly schools and several other North Shore communities. The funding is part of the NSUW’s 2015 Community Impact Grants and supports the Student Assistance Program, a school-based program provided by Lahey Health Behavioral Services.

    Other funders for the Student Assistance Program include the North Shore Community Health Network, the Greater Boston Council on Alcoholism, The Foundation for Alcohol Education, the Town of Ipswich, and the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation.  Together, the funders are supporting the Student Assistance Programs in a total of five schools in Gloucester, Ipswich, Beverly and Danvers.

     The Student Assistance Program is responding to a growing need for local teens to get in-school help with issues such as depression, anxiety, bullying, cyberbullying, eating disorders, peer pressure and drug use. Last year, most students sought support and help for anxiety.

    Watch the United Way’s video to hear from one teen who benefited from the program.

     Specialized counselors from Lahey Health Behavioral Services are imbedded in the schools to collaborate with teachers and counseling departments to provide assessment, counseling, teacher or parent consultations and, if needed, referral to health services outside the school.  

     “We are grateful to the North Shore United Way and all of our funders,” says Satya R. Montgomery, Ph.D., Vice President for Children and Youth Services at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “Their generosity and hard work show  a real commitment to services for local teens.”  

  • Hilary Jacobs Appointed As Vice President of Addiction Treatment Services

    Hilary Jacobs, Vice President, Addiction Treatment Services

    Hilary Jacobs, LICSW, LADC I has been appointed to the position of Vice President, Addiction Treatment Services, Lahey Health Behavioral Services. 

    In this role, Ms. Jacobs will oversee all of Lahey’s substance use treatment programs, including its residential, detoxification, outpatient and medication-supported services. The addiction-specific programs and clinics are in Gloucester, Danvers, Boston, Tewksbury and Lynn.

    Ms. Jacobs comes to Lahey Health with a strong background in addictions treatment leadership, public policy and training.

    For the past nine years, she has held various leadership roles in the Mass. Department of Public Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS). Most recently, she served as a policy advisor since September 2014, and was the Bureau’s director from August 2012 to July 2014.

    Prior to leading BSAS, she was the director of addiction treatment services at North Charles Institute for the Addictions. Jacobs has also been a teaching associate in the psychiatry department at the Harvard University Medical School at Cambridge Hospital.

    Hilary Jacobs has received regional and national recognition for her leadership of various projects to advance the governance and delivery of addiction treatment services.

    She holds a Master of Social Work from Boston University Graduate School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bates College.

  • Stigma of Addiction Treatment: Boston Globe Column By Yvonne Abraham

    This week, we were delighted to be a resource for “Sunday Boston Globe” columnist Yvonne Abraham’s piece, “Shame of Methadone Use Clouds Heroin Addicts’ Recovery:” 

    DANVERS — I should be able to write their full names. But because we have made so little progress when it comes to opiate abuse, because we cling to the stereotypes, feeding the stigma, there will be no last names, no identifying details. They are Elizabeth, Josh, Brian, and Tracey. They are recovering heroin addicts. And they are just like you and me. They are raising children, and have loving families. They work hard, at good jobs.

    Read the entire column here.

  • CEO Kevin Norton Elected to National Council for Behavioral Health

     

    For more information or to set up an interview, 978-968-1736 or

    Kevin P. Norton, CEO of Lahey Health Behavioral Services, has been elected to the board of the National Council for Behavioral Health.

    The Council is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations.

    Together with its 2,300 member organizations, the Council serves more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders.

    “I am honored by this appointment,” says Norton. “I look forward to representing our Massachusetts and New England treatment providers and helping to advocate for mental healthcare and addictions treatment at the national level.”

     Norton has worked in behavioral health since 1993, serving as CEO since 1999. 

    In addition to his work and leadership on the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley, he has  served on various regional and national advocacy, trade and advisory committees, including the Mass. Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) and a national advisory committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    Norton holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Suffolk University’s Sawyer School of Management and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Counseling Psychology from Salem State University. 

    About Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    Headquartered in Danvers, Lahey Health Behavioral Services is a multi-site network of outpatient clinics, residential care, embedded primary care and emergency psychiatric services in greater Boston and the Merrimack Valley.  A member organization of Lahey Health, the agency has 1,800 employees and serves over 50,000 clients per year.

  • Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan honored by the Boston Business Journal

    Dr. Jeffrey Eisen, Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, CEO Kevin P. Norton

    L-R: Dr. Jeffrey Eisen, Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, CEO Kevin P. Norton at the Boston Business Journal “Women Up: Local Women of Influence” Awards Breakfast

    Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, Chief Medical Officer, has been honored by the Boston Business Journal as a local “woman of influence.” The annual award is given to Boston-area women who set a new standard of leadership excellence. This year’s lineup of 23 awardees included only two from the healthcare field, and Dr. Sullivan was recognized for her work in integrating behavioral services into overall quality care.

    Read Dr. Sullivan’s complete award profile and interview here.

    In addition to her role as chief medical officer, Dr. Sullivan serves as a psychiatrist at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, specializing in consultation-liaison psychiatry as well as psychiatry in primary care. A graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, Dr. Sullivan is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and was chief resident in psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1984–85, joining Lahey Health in 1986.

  • National Recognition for Geriatric Care

    Three Lahey Health facilities — Addison Gilbert, Bayridge and Beverly Hospitals—are the only Massachusetts hospitals to have been awarded an “Exemplar” status by NICHE.

    Launched in 1992, NICHE is an international geriatric nursing program that aims to achieve systematic improvement in care for hospitalized geriatric patients.

    “Exemplar” is NICHE’s highest level of recognition, and fewer than 10% of NICHE’s 550 participating hospitals are awarded this status.

    The “Exemplar” status is awarded to institutions that practice and demonstrate a consistent level of organizational excellence and a system-wide commitment to improving geriatric care, outcomes and satisfaction levels for older patients.

  • José Rodriguez Gets Statewide Recognition for Quality Mental Health Services

    The Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Health (ABH) has awarded José Rodriguez, MSW, the Association’s 2014 Excellence in Program Leadership Award. Rodriguez leads a mobile crisis team headquartered at Methuen Street, Lawrence.

    The annual award recognizes mental health and addiction-treatment clinicians who show evidence of personal commitment to quality and innovation, and demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities.

    “We are delighted that José has been recognized for his commitment and hard work,” says Jack Petras, Vice President of Emergency Services at Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “This award is also a testament to the value of accessible, 24/7 mental health services in our Merrimack Valley communities.”

    José leads a Lawrence-headquartered mobile crisis team — one of three teams (Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill) in the Merrimack Valley that provide face-to-face, emergency mental health interventions (in schools, at home or at hospital emergency rooms) and referrals. As well as greater Lowell and Lawrence, the teams serve Andover, Methuen, and North Andover, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford.

    Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of the Boston University School of Social Work. He is available for interview. Contact: 978.968.1736.

  • Back to School Blues? There’s Help for That

    When some North Shore students return to school this year, they can expect support and counseling for issues such as teen depression, bullying, cyberbullying, eating disorders or drug use.

    Thanks to a $115,000 grant from the North Shore United Way (NSUW), a team of specialized therapists from Lahey Health Behavioral Services will be embedded in the schools to provide assessment, counseling, teacher or parent consultations, and referral to needed health services outside the school.  The funding is part of the NSUW’s 2014 Community Impact Grants.

    Last year, the counselors worked with 3,043 students in local schools. This year, the Student Assistance Program will work in five schools in four local communities.  

    “The NSUW is the primary funder of this program and we’re pleased to support our local youth, parents and school personnel in a time of increasing challenges to teens at school and in the community,” says Margo Casey, Executive Director, North Shore United Way. “I’m proud that we can continue to fund the program in 3 local communities, including Ipswich, Beverly, and Rockport.”

  • Bruce J. Anderson Foundation Grant Helps to Support School-Based Teen Programs on Cape Ann

    The Bruce J. Anderson Foundation has provided $7,000 to help fund teen counseling services in Rockport and Gloucester.   

    The funding for the Student Assistance Program and specialized school counseling is in response to a demonstrated need for local teens to get in-school help with issues such as depression, bullying, cyberbullying, eating disorders, peer pressure and drug use.

    The North Shore United Way is also a primary funder for this program.  

    Counselors from Lahey Health Behavioral Services, a local non-profit, are embedded in the schools and collaborate with the respective school personnel to provide assessment, counseling, teacher or parent consultations, and referral to needed health services outside the school.   Last year, we worked with 1,580 teens in the Rockport and Gloucester schools. 

    About the Bruce J. Anderson Foundation 

    The Bruce J. Anderson Foundation provides grants for local  preventive programs, direct services, and new initiatives in the fields of mental health (treatment, research and suicide prevention focused on young adults), environmental protection, historic and archival preservation, and the arts.

  • Cummings Foundation Chooses Lahey Health Behavioral Services for Its “100k for 100” Giving Program

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services Awarded $100,000
    Beverly-based nonprofit receives major Cummings Foundation grant

    Beverly, June 17, 2014 – Lahey Health Behavioral Services has been selected as one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program. The North-Shore based organization was chosen from more than 430 applicants during a very competitive review process.

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services provides mental health and addiction treatment services to families, children and individuals in 45+ communities across the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley.

    Representing Lahey Health Behavioral Services, Michelle Fyrer, VP, Youth Services, and Shannon Dannible, Director, Solstice Day School, joined more than 250 other guests at a June 2 reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion of funding into greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. For the second year, this exclusive event drew representatives from all 100 grantee organizations, as well as many public officials.

    “We are honored to receive this funding in support of our work with local children and families who struggle with mental health and other issues,” says Kevin P. Norton, CEO of Lahey Health Behavioral Services.

    The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are not only based in but also primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. This year, the program awarded 38 grants in Middlesex County, 25 in Essex County, and 37 in Suffolk County.

    Through this “place-based” initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

    Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director, said, “Cummings Foundation is very committed to the local communities where the staff and clients of the Cummings organization live and work. We are delighted to support very worthy nonprofits like Lahey Health Behavioral Services that are working tirelessly for the benefit of the people they serve.”

    This year’s very diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including underserved populations, education, healthcare, hunger relief, and homelessness prevention. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

    The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

    About Cummings Foundation
    Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester, Mass. With assets exceeding $1 billion, it recently joined Barr Foundation and The Boston Foundation as one of the three largest foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including two New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date was $50 million to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Mass. Additional information is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

    ###

  • Three North Shore Funders Provide $30,000 For Youth Residential Services

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services announced today that it has received three grants totaling $30,000 for Therapeutic Youth Services within its Youth Division. The grants will be used for therapeutic yoga training, occupational therapy materials, and iPads for use during tutoring sessions with at-risk youth.

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services (LHBS), a nonprofit provider of mental health, addiction treatment, health and human services, said the grants will provide therapeutic programs—such as yoga and occupational therapy—to help children to heal from emotional trauma. A $15,000 matching grant was awarded by the John Alden Trust in November, and was recently matched by a $10,000 grant from the North Shore Community Health Network and a $5,000 grant from the Danversbank Charitable Foundation.

    “We deeply appreciate this generous support from each of these funders for our Therapeutic Youth Services,” said CEO Kevin Norton. “Our Youth Division will serve around 650 at-risk youth this year and these grants will provide tools that help children succeed—and hopefully have some fun during the healing process,” he added.

    “These grants will help hundreds of children to succeed academically and emotionally,” said Michelle Fyrer, Vice President of the Youth Division of LHBS. “With new iPads and educational supplies for our tutoring programs and classrooms, as well as yoga training for our teachers, we’re excited to see youth develop coping skills, build a sense of accomplishment, and begin to heal.”

  • North Shore United Way Awards Us $115,000 for School-Based Teen Programs

    The North Shore United Way (NSUW) has provided $115,000 to fund teen counseling services in seven local schools. The funding is part of the NSUW’s 2014 Community Impact Grants, which were announced at the end of May.

    The funding for the Student Assistance Program and specialized school counseling is in response to a demonstrated need for local teens to get in-school help with issues such as depression, bullying, cyberbullying, eating disorders, peer pressure and drug use.

    Counselors from Lahey Health Behavioral Services, a local non-profit, are embedded in the schools and collaborate with the respective school personnel to provide assessment, counseling, teacher or parent consultations, and referral to needed health services outside the school.  Last year, the counselors worked with 3,043 students on the North Shore.

    “The NSUW is the primary funder of this program and we’re pleased to support our local youth, parents and school personnel in a time of increasing challenges to teens at school and in the community,” says Margo Casey, Executive Director, North Shore United Way. “I’m proud that we can continue to fund the program in 6 local communities.”

     About the North Shore United Way (NSUW)

     Based in Beverly, North Shore United Way invests almost $1M each year in programs that transform lives and improve communities now and for future generations.  NSUW is all about local impact by rigorously vetting and supporting 25 causes that serve children, families, and seniors in eight North Shore communities, including Beverly, Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, Essex, Manchester, Gloucester and Rockport.

  • Transfer of Programs by Lahey Health Behavioral Services

    Peabody — Lahey Health Behavioral Services will discontinue its operation of two youth residential homes on the North Shore. The facilities, located in Ipswich and Beverly, serve pre-teens and teenagers, respectively. The youth are primarily placed or referred by insurance providers and the Massachusetts Departments of Children and Families (DCF) and Mental Health (DMH).

    Although the programs are located on the North Shore, the youth-in-residence may hail from towns, cities and communities anywhere in the Commonwealth.

    “Since 2009, there has been a decreasing demand for residential care,” says Kevin P. Norton, chief executive officer of Lahey Health Behavioral Services. “The state is moving away from residential placements and is instead expanding its funding and focus to keep at-risk youth and families in their own communities.”

    This strategic decision will reduce and redistribute operating expenses for two programs with a persistently low census (occupancy) due to a reduced statewide demand for residential youth care. The closure is slated for April 1, 2014.

    Lahey Health Behavioral Services will continue to serve youth who need behavioral assistance via its other programs on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley, including four youth residential homes still in operation. Currently, 1,300 local families are enrolled in the nonprofit’s home-based programs in 25 local towns and cities, and last year, the emergency crisis teams served 7,982 children and teens. In addition to outpatient counseling, Lahey Health Behavioral Services provides behavioral services in 75 local schools.

    “This change meets Lahey Health’s continued goal to provide the appropriate and best services in the right place for all of our clients and their families, keeping care local whenever possible. For some patients, this will mean they can receive the same quality of care they experienced in a residential environment at their home,” said Mary Anna Sullivan, MD, chief medical officer, Lahey Health Behavioral Services. The agency administration is collaborating with the state to ensure that all of the remaining youth-in-residence receive alternative placements in nearby locations.

    As part of Lahey Health’s continued goal to provide the right services in the right place for all of our clients and their families, the agency remains committed to appropriate and locally-based care delivery for children and families (see below for a list of youth services).

    Youth Services Provided by Lahey Health Behavioral Services (five categories)

    • Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative: In 2009, the State launched the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI), an integrated system of behavioral health services for children, youth and their families. The CBHI teams provide comprehensive care in families’ homes and communities. Currently, our CBHI programs serve 1,300 families in 25 local towns and cities.
    • Behavioral Health Residential Programs (four): Serving teens with behavioral health issues, plus the children at H.A.R.T. House (women and their children in recovery from addiction). Located in Salem, Beverly, Rowley and Danvers, the four facilities provide a continuum of needed services, including specialized youth addiction treatment and care for teens with emotional disorders.
    • Mobile Crisis Teams: Last year, the crisis teams served 7,982 children and teens on the North Shore and in the Merrimack Valley, reducing Emergency Department visits by 50 percent.
    • Outpatient clinics and child psychiatry: Seven outpatient counseling clinics, child psychiatry services and pharmacological care for children, teens and families.
    • School-based care: Behavioral services, consultation and counseling in 75 local schools

Reporters, health bloggers, producers:

Types of stories and commentary: Mental health, teenage wellness (bullying, suicide, drug use, depression), family health, domestic abuse, sexual assault, drug use, alcoholism and related or proposed state and federal legislation.

Timelines: Usually, we have been able to set a reporter up with an expert interview within 24 hours (or less) of the initial call. While we are often restricted by federal HIPAA laws, we will make every effort to help you to tell your story, meet your deadline and to put a human face on the issues.

Beat: Our programs serve towns and cities in Essex County, the Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston.

Contact: Call us at 978.968.1736 or email us. Check out some recent stories (left), or follow our news ideas on Twitter. 

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