Two Mental Health, Substance Use Centers Launch Next Month in Merrimack Valley Area

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

Two Community Behavioral Health Centers are slated to begin delivering services next month to help area residents cope with mental health and substance use issues.

Eliot Community Human Services has been designated to provide on-site and telehealth services to such area communities as Groveland, Haverhill, Merrimac and West Newbury, while BILH Behavioral Health Services will focus on Andover, Lawrence, Methuen and North Andover. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration drew attention Thursday to the new statewide service at a ribbon cutting at a newly designated center in East Boston.

“Over the past eight years, our administration has collaborated with health care providers, medical professionals and our legislative colleagues to make sure Massachusetts treats behavioral health with the same importance as physical health,” said Baker. “The implementation of the Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform is the latest step in those efforts, which have included historic investments in clinical programming, the addition of over 3,000 treatment beds and landmark mental health legislation.”

The centers will provide routine appointments, urgent visits and 24/7 community-based crisis intervention as an alternative to hospital emergency departments. The state promises same-day evaluation and treatment access with evening and weekend hours for all ages.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders also noted the soon-to-launch round-the-clock Behavioral Health Help Line.

A year ago, Baker directed $400 million of American Rescue Plan Act money to addiction treatment and related behavioral health services, workforce and infrastructure. Last month, the administration is also using the federal aid to support a $130 million program loan repayment program to support and retain the behavioral health and primary care workforce. The program is being administered in partnership with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers.

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