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Four Worcester-Area Organizations Receive Mental Health Services Grants

By Tom Marino | January 5, 2023
Last Updated: January 5, 2023

WORCESTER – Veterans Inc. in Worcester is one of 11 organizations across Massachusetts to receive a Mental Health Diversionary Services Grant.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Wednesday that nearly $2.9 million has been awarded as part of her office’s new grant program to mitigate the impact of patients boarding in hospital emergency departments and inpatient beds.

“The demand for urgent mental health care services across the state has placed unprecedented pressure on our hospital emergency departments and overall capacity,” said Healey. “This innovative new grant program will help address existing shortfalls and help ensure that residents in need of mental health care services receive appropriate support.”

With the grant, Veteran’s Inc. intends to add a Masters-level “diversion” clinician to its Veteran Assertive Outreach and Engagement team to work with veterans identified by the program as a suicide risk. The clinician’s duties will include providing crisis assessments during community and home visits, engaging in short-term crisis counseling as needed and providing ongoing assessment of a participant’s mental health condition.

Here are three more Worcester-area organizations to receive Mental Health Diversionary Services Grants:

  • Open Sky Community Services, with offices in Worcester and Whitinsville, will use the grant to hire a “Family Partner” to aid family members in navigating and accessing support services and to provide direct support in accordance with their own lived experience; and a “Team Leader” to triage hospital referrals, assign cases and provide general program oversight.
  • L.U.K. Crisis Center, Inc, with offices in Fitchburg, Worcester, Webster and Boylston, will use the grant to support an array of interventions designed to promote ED diversion, including staff, caregiver and foster parent training in trauma-informed de-escalation strategies so that central Massachusetts youth approaching crisis can be stabilized in a home or community setting rather than accessing an ED; assembly of age-appropriate “calming kits” to be used to de-escalate potential crisis situations; and hiring a care coordinator to work with youth who have accessed an ED for mental health care to develop and implement strategies to avoid re-accessing the ED in future situations.
  • Riverside Community Care’s Mobile Respite Diversion Program will use the grant to hire a Certified Peer Specialist, a position not currently funded and an identified “priority need” that will allow Riverside to expand the scope of its Mobile Respite Program in south central Worcester and Norfolk counties. The Certified Peer Specialist will assist with program engagement; aid clients in accessing support services; and provide information, based on their lived experience, on recovery, rehabilitation and self-management.

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