The Behavioral Health Network has opened a mental health and medication counseling center in Springfield
State representatives and Springfield city officials gathered at Behavioral Health Network’s newest community center late Friday morning and watched — some with tearful eyes — as a video played of a Springfield BHN client, identified only as Samantha, talking about her struggles with heroin addiction.
After surviving a domestic violence incident, Samantha said her older cousin introduced her to heroin in 2013 to help her deal with the trauma she experienced led to an addiction to the substance, which she said made her feel “amazing”. The same cousin would die of a heroin overdose a year later, setting off a spiral of drugs and alcohol. Samantha thought she would be next to die.
“I wanted to die, I didn’t want to do anything in life that I didn’t think I could have a good life. I didn’t think I deserved a decent life,” Samantha said as the video played.
Samantha would end up being arrested and sent to a hospital in Worcester to self-harm. The doctors at the hospital would end up reviving Samantha after she attempted suicide while in care.
After Samantha’s suicide attempt, BHN staff stepped in and helped Samantha with substance abuse problems and mental struggles through peer support groups, communication 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 from BHN.
Springfield Mayor Dominic J. Sarnow, Health Commissioner Helen Colton-Harris and state lawmakers joined Behavioral Health Network President and CEO Steve Wynn on Friday in cutting the ribbon for the Behavioral Health Network’s new WellBeing Center in Springfield at 417 Liberty Street.
Wayne said the organization’s state-of-the-art facility will have access to mental health counseling and on-demand substance use disorder treatment for Hampden County residents.
BHN’s newest Springfield facility will provide 24/7 crisis assessments and stabilization for any individual going through a mental health or substance abuse crisis and also serve as a substance abuse rehabilitation facility. Springfield residents struggling with addiction will not have to travel out of town for treatment.
The new center will also offer seminars and group sessions, peer support groups, support programs to help with insurance, housing, and food, skill-building workshops to help people discover new careers, and drug services to support individuals’ recovery and support treatment.
A bilingual and bicultural support team, who also act as lived peers through similar client experiences, will operate the Liberty Street Wellness Center.
The wellness organization also launched the BHN WellBeing Behavioral Health Center at its Westfield campus at 77 Mill Street. Care hours at both locations are Monday through Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9am-5pm. Being connected to the Services, or connected to the Internet bhninc.org/wellbeing for more information.
Wen took to the stage on Friday to express a vision for his organization’s newest hub.
“We believe it will allow us to achieve a better vision where individuals and families with mental health and substance abuse issues can access the right care at the right time, in the right place, and achieve their recovery goals,” Wen said.
The mental health professional said the center is here to connect anyone struggling with their mental health and/or substance abuse with appropriate resources. As of Thursday, BHN has connected 200 new customers to its services since the start of the new year – adding to the company’s customer list of more than 5,000.
Springfield Mayor Sarno spoke Friday about his struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic and the mental health epidemic that followed soon after.
“We have partnered with BHN and the Superintendent of Police [Cheryl] Claprod that we have professional mental health counselors on the street with our police department,” the mayor said. “So when those calls come in and there’s a mental health crisis they’ll be there. I’m looking forward to expanding that as well.”
City Health Commissioner Colton-Harris recognized former State Rep. Benjamin Swan, and stated that he was one of the first politicians to stress and advance the importance of mental health with the “mantle of mental health.”
Calton-Harris went on to thank BHN for its continued support in increasing access to mental health resources across Springfield.
“BHN as an organization deserves a lot of recognition for your efforts in prevention, intervention and treatment across the city and western region,” she said.
Anyone interested in connecting with counselors and/or finding behavioral health network facilities and services in their area can look to website For details.