Award Acknowledges Innovation Recognized by MHA’s Peers in Social Services

The Provider’s Council, an association of community-based human services agencies in Massachusetts with more than 220 members, annually recognizes extraordinary accomplishments of member agencies through its Peer Provider Awards. Agencies must be nominated for the award by another Providers’ Council member. For 2020, MHA has received a Peer Provider Award recognizing innovation in programming and services including the GRIT residential rehabilitation program, TeleWell telemedicine service delivery, and BeHealthy Partnership to address mental health and homelessness concurrently. Ruth Banta, Executive Director of Pathlight, a Springfield-based nonprofit that partners with people with disabilities, nominated MHA for the Peer Provider Award.

“We are thrilled that the Mental Health Association has been recognized by a peer organization for a prestigious Providers’ Council Peer Provider Award for 2020,” said Michael Weekes, President/CEO of the Providers’ Council. “MHA plays a crucial role in providing critical services to residents in western Massachusetts. MHA’s BeHealthy Partnership initiative has been pivotal in improving outcomes for numerous clients who are experiencing homelessness throughout the region. MHA’s commitment to excellence have earned them the respect and admiration of many in the human services community and the Providers’ Council is honored to bestow this award.”

“It’s an extraordinary testament to MHA’s work when a peer provider, and the leaders of a 220-member organization of providers, all recognize the growth, impact and influence of our work,” said Cheryl Fasano, President & CEO of MHA. “We are proud of our ability to continue identifying community needs and responding with the development of new programming, even in the current environment. This award is for the people of MHA who identify areas of need, who innovate by creating new programs and services, and who provide direct care to the people we serve every hour of every day.”

“I think it is important to consider that MHA is a 60+ year old organization that built its widely respected reputation for respect, integrity and compassion in the area of residential programming for people with developmental disabilities,” said Banta. “While that focus indeed continues, it is significant that MHA has the vision, people and capabilities to diversify its portfolio of programming by developing new ways to serve, including GRIT residences, TeleWell service and Home Healthy program. Rather than rest on its laurels, MHA instead chooses to create innovative ways to serve vulnerable populations. MHA continues to break new ground. “We at Pathlight value our collaborations with MHA.””

“MHA’s commitment to innovation is expressed in many ways, but let me briefly describe three,” said Fasano. “We designed our GRIT program to provide both mental health and substance use services together, under one roof. That sets GRIT apart. GRIT residences are homes, not institutional settings, and they’re located in neighborhoods with access to transportation and community resources. MHA’s TeleWell telemedicine service connects individuals with mental health counselors ‘face to face’ using a smart phone, tablet or computer. TeleWell is a tremendous benefit for people who receive therapy for emotional support, substance use or addiction treatment, or who would like to, because they don’t even have to leave home to get help. MHA started our TeleWell initiative before the pandemic hit, so when it did hit, we were able to respond immediately. And then there’s MHA’s work with the BeHealthy Partnership Accountable Care Organization, comprised of Baystate’s Caring Health Center and Health New England. They chose to partner with MHA because our Home Healthy program cab help their patients who face challenges with both mental health and homelessness. We’re applying our experience and resources in both of these areas to help provide more complete person-centered care more effectively.”

About MHA:

What We Do
MHA (Mental Health Association) helps people live their best life. We provide access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming, and more. With respect, integrity and compassion, MHA provides each individual served through person-driven programming to foster independence, community engagement, wellness and recovery.

Why We Matter
The youth, adults, seniors and families we serve want the same things in life as anyone: to have friends, work, go to school, have meaningful relationships, express themselves (and be heard), and be accepted in their community for who they are. With our help and resources from a caring community, people can live their potential, in their community, every day.

How We Think
Starting in the 1960s, MHA’s groundbreaking efforts and advocacy helped to transition people away from institutional living to a life in our community. This became a model for the deinstitutionalization movement. Today, our leadership continues to advance awareness of mental health conditions and needs at local, regional and national levels. We drive compassionate care for those challenged by mental health, developmental disabilities, substance use, homelessness, acquired brain injury and more.