Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders and Local Officials Cut Ribbon at NSCS facility at 14 Porter Street

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Governor Baker, Secretary Sudders and Local Officials Cut Ribbon at Accessible Clinic that Represents Future of Ambulatory Behavioral Health Care in Massachusetts

CHELSEA, Mass. (Dec. 15, 2022) – Governor Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders today joined North Suffolk Community Services, a nonprofit provider of services for individuals of all ages needing mental health and/or addiction treatment, recovery support and those with developmental disabilities, to cut the ribbon on a Community Behavioral Health Center that represents a new model of behavioral health care.  The newly designated CBHC, set to open on January 3, located at 14 Porter Street in East Boston, expands local access to routine, urgent, and crisis treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

North Suffolk Community Services, formerly known as North Suffolk Mental Health Association, also marked the occasion by unveiling its new name and brand identity.

“Massachusetts has long been a visionary leader in health care and we are honored to have a key role in making mental health and addiction treatment more available, accessible, and equitable in our communities,” North Suffolk Community Services President & CEO Damien Cabezas said.  “North Suffolk has been a trusted, responsive community partner for nearly 65 years, and it’s important to have a name that reflects that.  The name ‘North Suffolk Community Services’ honors where we started, acknowledges where we are, and announces where we are going as we continue to build on the services we offer, such as opening a CBHC, to strengthen the safety net and improve access to a continuum of care for our community.”

Through its Community Behavioral Health Center, North Suffolk will be offering an accessible front door to mental health care and treatment for substance use disorders by further expanding same-day evaluations and referrals to treatment; adding more evening and weekend hours; enhancing timely follow-up appointments; and offering more peer support and evidence-based behavioral health treatment – including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – both in-person and via tele-health.

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Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at North Suffolk Community Services on Thursday, Dec. 15, as Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders (left) and NSCS Vice President of Clinical Services Audrey Clairmont listen. (Photo courtesy Ball Consulting Group)

Part of a statewide network of 25 newly designated CBHCs rolling out in early 2023, North Suffolk will deliver 24/7 community-based mobile crisis intervention and stabilization as an alternative to overwhelmed hospital emergency departments, for individuals of all ages in East Boston, Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, and Charlestown.

“The goal of the Roadmap for Behavioral Health reform is to make ambulatory behavioral health care far more accessible to every Massachusetts resident, when and where they need it,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “We are deeply appreciative of North Suffolk Community Services and all of the other community-based providers working to make that a reality.”

Community Behavioral Health Centers are an important component of the state’s Roadmap for Behavioral Health Reform, launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in February 2021. The Roadmap is a multi-year blueprint, based on listening sessions and feedback from nearly 700 individuals, families, providers and other diverse stakeholders who identified the need for expanded access to treatment, more effective treatment, and improved health equity.

The 14 Porter Street site was once the East Boston Relief Station, an affiliate of what was then Boston City Hospital, and provided health care and hospital services to neighborhood residents until approximately 1970. 

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Gov. Charlie Baker helps cut the ribbon on North Suffolk Community Services’ Community Behavioral Health Center at 14 Porter St., in East Boston. Pictured, from left, are Sec. Marylou Sudders, Executive Office of Health and Human Services; state Rep. Adrian Madaro; state Rep. Jeffrey Turco; President and CEO Damien Cabezas, North Suffolk Community Services; state Sen. Lydia Edwards; Brett Fiore, NSCS client; Senior Vice President of Clinical Services Judi Lemoine, NSCS; Gov. Baker. (Photo courtesy of Ball Consulting Group

About North Suffolk Community Services

Founded in 1959, North Suffolk Community Services (formerly North Suffolk Mental Health Association) touches the lives of nearly 15,000 people annually in more than 75 programs throughout Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, Charlestown, and Boston.  North Suffolk supports adults, children, and families across the lifespan who are coping with behavioral health issues, substance use disorders and/or have developmental disabilities.  The organization employs over 1,000 talented individuals who provide services in nine languages, including ASL, through four outpatient clinics; 39 residential programs; two Recovery Support Centers; and a Recovery Learning Center. It operates a robust Training Center as well as a 24/7/365 Recovery Support hotline.  Visit northsuffolk.org.

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