Last week, Making Opportunity Count (MOC) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to formally announce the grand opening of The Counseling Center at MOC. The new outpatient mental health clinic is co-located with a number of MOC’s human service programs out of their Nursery Lane facility in Fitchburg.
The Counseling Center at MOC received licensure from the MA Department of Public Health on June 15th, 2021 and will offer a wide variety of mental health services including individual psychotherapy and medication management. The center, open daily from 9am to 5pm, is staffed with five masters’ level psychotherapists that treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression, trauma, substance recovery, ADHD, personality disorders and more.
Accessibility was at the forefront of the counseling center’s design; patients can schedule in-person or telehealth sessions and the center is currently accepting walk-ins or immediate remote access via therapy Zoom rooms. The expanded services address the growing need, particularly in the Fitchburg, Leominster and Gardner areas of North Central MA, for more direct and efficient access to psychiatric care—a need that has become more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were seeing an urgent need for access to high-quality, mental health care,” said Kevin Reed, executive director of MOC. “The Counseling Center at MOC will be a vital local and regional resource that will provide our community with another access point for critical care and services. We’re grateful to our team, the state, and our delegation for helping us make this initiative become a reality.”
The private grand opening ceremony included remarks from Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Senator John Cronin, State Representative Michael Kushmerek, and Mayor of Fitchburg Stephen DiNatale. State officials expressed the value the new facility will offer to the greater community by bringing new resources to fill this critical gap in mental health care.
“For many hardworking families and individuals trying to improve their lives across the Third District, they’re just a little bit of help away from climbing out of poverty. That’s where Making Opportunity Count has stepped up time and time again,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “From access to quality child care to mental health services and much more, Making Opportunity Count provides critical support to folks in Fitchburg and beyond, lifting them up and enabling them to achieve financial stability. The opening of their mental health clinic will bolster those efforts and enable them to assist even more people in need. I’m grateful for their relentless efforts and look forward to continuing our partnership that will deliver even more resources to support their ability to deliver life-changing services.”
The occasion was recognized with an official proclamation delivered by Senator John Cronin.
“Today is a huge win for the city of Fitchburg,” said Senator Cronin. “Everybody knows we are in the midst of a mental health crisis and the most important thing we can do is increase the availability and access to outpatient behavioral health services. We cannot meet these challenges with lip service, we need to meet the challenge with resources and services.”
In addition to extending kudos to MOC for this new endeavor, State Representative Michael Kushmerek shared a personal reflection of his own family’s experience with mental health struggles and the importance of normalizing conversations about mental wellbeing.
“Removing the stigma, working to socialize mental health treatment is so crucial,” said State Representative Michael Kushmerek, member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. “So often we are hesitant and outright refuse to talk about mental health and about how key of a component it is in who we are. We’re lying to ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that we have stress, we have anxieties, we have days of depression.” He continued, “I’m proud to stand with these allies here…to fight, each and every day, so people can stand up and say today’s not a good day but maybe tomorrow can be.”
Also in attendance were members of MOC’s board of directors accompanied by members of MOC’s clinical team that worked on the development of the counseling center. A ribbon cutting sponsored by the North Central MA Chamber of Commerce and brief tour of the facility followed ceremony remarks.
More information on The Counseling Center at MOC can be found at www.counselingcenteratmoc.org.