Health New England Donates $2,500 to MHA to Support Recovery-coaching Program

SPRINGFIELD — Due to the impact and disruptions COVID-19 is causing for area families, individuals, and businesses, Health New England (HNE) is responding with its COVID-19 Response Mini Grant program, according to Katie Bruno, Public Health and Wellness Program manager for HNE.

“Health New England’s COVID-19 Response Mini Grant provides flexible resources to local nonprofit organizations that are supporting our most vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19,” Bruno said. “We are pleased to announce a grant award of $2,500 to the Mental Health Association to help the agency provide needed supports for people in recovery from substance use who must shelter in their homes as a result of the current health crisis. The population MHA expects to serve with this funding is especially vulnerable to the resulting health risks of isolation, anxiety, and depression. We are pleased to support this critical and timely response.”

According to Sara Kendall, vice president of Clinical Operations for MHA, Health New England’s $2,500 grant will support two MHA guides/certified recovery coaches who will establish and maintain frequent, intensive connections with individuals served via phone and/or teleconferencing. Health New England’s grant funding will enable MHA to provide intensive recovery-coaching services for people in recovery, ranging in age from young adults to elders, who have no health insurance or whose health insurance does not cover this care.

“For people in recovery, the stress related to our current health crisis can put them at increased risk of relapse and the associated risk of overdose death,” Kendall said. “Providing individuals with access to a social connection who has lived experience with addiction for guidance, as well as access to resources to help meet their individual needs, can help those served to maintain their mental and physical health and wellness in a time of heightened stress. The Health New England grant is special because it will fund more highly, personalized intensive recovery services for a shorter period of time.”

Kendall explained that the MHA guides will assess the current situation of each individual served via a wellness plan to help identify their needs, and then work with them to access resources in the community that meet those needs. Guides will utilize MHA’s TeleWell telehealth app, which enables face-to-face virtual interaction via smartphone, tablet, or computer. In cases where interaction in person is warranted, and as Massachusetts reopening restrictions permit, it is possible for MHA guides to meet clients in person, using social-distancing protocols and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, either at MHA’s BestLife Emotional Health and Wellness Center or in the community.

Anyone who would like to learn more about the supportive services of a MHA recovery coach/guide can call BestLife at (844) MHA-WELL.