Page 52 - Healthcare News Nov/Dec 2021
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21 Olander Dr., Northampton, MA 01060 (413) 585-1300;
  Individual counseling and innovative group therapies for children, adolescents, and adults who are dealing with a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, substance-use disorders, physical/sexual abuse and other trauma, relationship and family concerns, school-adjustment problems, pain-management challenges, and obsessive- compulsive disorders; also providing psychological testing, psychiatric care, and medication services; clinics are located in Amherst, Greenfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Pittsfield
2257 Main St., Springfield, MA 01107
(413) 650-1311;
Specializes in caring for those specifically battling addictions to opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and morphine; medication-assisted care includes the use of medications that calm cravings and withdrawal symptoms, including Subutex, methadone, and Suboxone; therapeutic services include individual and group therapy
103 Myron St., Suite A, West Springfield, MA 01089 (413) 592-1980;
 Mental-health outpatient clinic providing a variety of services, including geriatric mental health, individual and group psychotherapy, diagnostic evaluations, CANS assessments for MassHealth children under 21, medication management for age 18 and up, consultation with families of elders with dementia, neuropsychological testing for adults/elders, family therapy and consultation; WCFC provides bilingual services, as well as outreach for those unable to make it to the clinic
140 High St., Unit 230, Springfield, MA 01105
(413) 495-1500;
296 Nonotuck St., Florence, MA 01062 (413) 586-2016;
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recovery coaches provide is a very vital part of the process in terms of offering the comfort level of a shared experi- ence,” he noted. “We are among the first supports someone beginning recovery encounters and often where they begin to trust the process. I continue to meet with them in addi- tion to whoever and whatever else becomes part of their recovery.”
Recovery coaches help to motivate, support, and em- power clients in a way that meets their specific needs. This help sometimes involves providing referrals. Clark recalled recently helping one of his clients find a primary-care phy- sician and helping others with goals like finding a dentist or changing medications.
Other times, recovery coaches help individuals commu- nicate with their family, assist in building a broad support team, and provide resources for family members who may feel helpless. Whatever the case, clients are met exactly where they are in their recovery process, whether in the very early stages or further along.
“We collaborate on a wellness plan, prioritizing goals and building on individual strengths to empower their recovery. It is their recovery,” Smyth said. “I can use my recovery as an example and in understanding what they are dealing with or feeling, but recovery is about giving power back to the individual to take charge of their healing and eventually their lives.”
Meeting a Growing Need
MHA’s Recovery Coaching program launched on Feb. 17, 2020 — less than a month before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The in- ability to meet clients in person proved to be a noteworthy obstacle for coaches to try to overcome, as well as trying to bring clients back into a community that was shut down.
“The major issue was not having the one-on-one connec- tion because recovery coaching is really based on relation- ship building. Not being in-person and getting to meet the individual, it was hard to build a strong relationship over the phone,” Clark said. “It was a lot of meetings being on
Community-based, behavioral healthcare organization offering a continuum of services including adult behavioral health, substance-abuse counseling, children’s behavioral health, day services, autism services, and early childhood services
Provides compassionate, culturally competent substance-use and risk-reduction counseling, Narcan (naloxone) access and training, referrals to drug-treatment programs and medical care, new syringe pick-up and used syringe disposal (community members can drop off diabetic needles, etc. as part of disposal program), safer injection education and supplies (bleach kits, alcohol swabs, cottons), safer sex supplies, STI testing, HIV testing, Hepatitis C testing, benefit help, and referrals for food assistance and housing; locations in Northampton, Springfield, Holyoke, Greenfield, and North Adams
centers are back open. Drop-off centers are back open, and that’s a big plus because, when the pandemic hit, a lot of places had shut down that are recovery-oriented,” Clark said. “People didn’t have those safe places to turn to.”
Smyth spoke on the recent death of Jimmy Hayes, an NHL hockey player from Massachusetts who died from
a combination of fentanyl and cocaine. Hayes’s father expressed fear of the media portraying his son as a “junkie.” In response to this, Smyth emphasized the importance of treating individuals who experience addiction with empa- thy and dignity, as well as providing them with the help they need.
Addiction is a disease with a gripping nature that cannot be overstated, and with the especially risky nature of drugs being laced with cheaper and more lethal substances and sold to unsuspecting buyers, resources like MHA’s Recov- ery Coaching program are essential for members of the community experiencing addiction, Smyth noted.
“Recovery coaches can and do make a difference. The more we can educate the public about addiction and the role recovery coaches can play, the better,” he said. “No one should be stigmatized or judged for having an addiction to a substance. No one should be made to feel shame, rejec- tion, or failure in seeking treatment to start and sustain recovery.”
From Despair to Hope
The feelings of empathy and hope that Clark and Smyth exude can be felt in a single conversation with them. Smyth concluded with a word of encouragement for anyone seek- ing to regain control of their lives from an addiction.
“If you want to get help, there are people out there, including recovery coaches who have been where you are, willing to walk and fight with you. You don’t have to keep going through what you are going through alone — you can take control, and you will get your life back.”
When asked what message he would like to leave with HCN’s readers, Clark spoke, without a single hesitation, of hope.
“I think the most important part is providing that hope for others. I always tell people that I didn’t know what that looked like. I didn’t even believe in myself, but somebody believed in me. I didn’t have hope — somebody gave hope to me.” v
  Tommy Smyth says no one should feel stigma or shame about seeking treatment for addiction.
Zoom. A lot of people didn’t know how to use Zoom, so that was a difficult part, and just connecting people back into the community.”
However, the pandemic’s impact did not mean a slow start for the program. There was only one coach at the time of its initial launch, but an immediately full caseload emphasized a need to add more staff. Since then, MHA has added four certified recovery coaches for a total of five coaches in the program. They are continuing to expand, planning to take on more coaches as needed.
“We’re starting to build collaborations with other agen- cies, which are providing more referrals for us, so that’s one reason we’re expanding the Recovery Coaching program,” Clark said.
The program has now shifted to a hybrid format, offer- ing a combination of in-person and remote coaching. Also, the impact of certain resources reopening after previously closing during the pandemic has been felt greatly by mem- bers of the program.
“We’re getting back to that place now where recovery

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