HOLYOKE — The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health has recognized MHA’s Samantha Gulsvig with the Stephanie Moulton Memorial Award. The honor was presented on April 24 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, during the Stephanie Moulton Symposium, an annual event organized by the Department of Mental Health which presents information, resources, and best practices regarding safety and risk mitigation for people involved in the care of people with a mental-health diagnosis.
Gulsvig is a human rights officer for MHA and a direct-care staff member for MHA’s Safe Haven residential program, which offers transitional housing support to people served by the Department of Mental Health who are experiencing homelessness and mental-health challenges. Gulsvig has worked at Safe Haven since its inception in 2016, playing an integral role in developing the structure and providing exemplary care to the people served.
“When I joined MHA three years ago, I hadn’t worked in years,” Gulsvig explained. “MHA gave me the opportunity to start a new career in my 40s. Through churches, I had done a lot of volunteering with people who were homeless or underserved. I did street outreach with people where they were at, providing someone to listen to them, feed them, clothe them, or whatever they needed. I got into the trenches, and it became a passion. It’s a complete blessing that I’m able to do this as my career.”
“It is a well-deserved honor for Samantha to be recognized with the Stephanie Moulton Memorial Award,” said Kimberley Lee, vice president of Resource Development and Branding for MHA. “Much like first responders or police officers, people working in mental health choose their career to help others, and it’s important to keep the discussion about safety out in the open. MHA provides support for people who may have severe mental-health illness, so we want our employees who care for them to be prepared for the unexpected. We’re always working to increase safety awareness, and the Stephanie Moulton Symposium is an important annual forum that combines training, resources, and support so mental-health direct-care staff can be safer on the job.”
Stephanie Moulton was a bright, 25-year-old social worker from Peabody who was killed in 2011 by a resident of a mental-health program where she worked. The Stephanie Moulton Symposium is an annual event held to honor Moulton’s life and memory by providing practical training for direct-care workers in the mental-health field, in particular for identifying and mitigating risks associated with behavioral-health conditions.