Local behavioral health agency awarded $600K

  • The Living Room, operated by Clinical & Support Options, on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Shawn Bourdages, left, talks with Rosa Whelpley on Friday afternoon at The Living Room, operated by Clinical & Support Options, on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Living Room, operated by Clinical & Support Options, on Friday afternoon in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/2/2020 10:51:36 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A $600,000 award will allow the Northampton-based Clinical & Support Options (CSO) to further develop its approach to urgent behavioral health care services, which will include keeping The Living Room on High Street in Greenfield open for the next three years.

The award comes from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and will be spread across three years in $200,000 increments, according to a CSO press release. Clinical & Support Options is being recognized for its work within the Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Urgent Care project, which is aimed at developing a shared vision of an enhanced delivery model of behavioral health urgent care.

One significant resource provided by Clinical & Support Options is The Living Room in Greenfield, which the grant money will help sustain, the release states. This peer-led day program at 140 High St. can be accessed by anyone 18 years old or older with behavioral health needs or who might be experiencing emotional distress.

The one-year anniversary of The Living Room is April 1, and with the grant, the program will continue as “status quo” for another three years, said Geoffrey Oldmixon, associate vice president of marketing and development for Clinical & Support Options.

“Knowing we can now fund the Greenfield Living Room for three years, through 2023, goes a long way in helping our agency further implement its roadmap for a fully integrated urgent care model built on best practices and ongoing supports,” Clinical & Support Options President and CEO Karin Jeffers said.

Oldmixon said that while The Living Room does benefit from the award, “the grant actually supports a larger, over-arching model for urgent behavioral health care.”

Since opening last spring, Oldmixon said The Living Room has been successful.

“The Living Room sees an average of 12 people a day,” he said. “These people are getting peer support and continuing on the road of success. It shows that The Living Room has quite an impact and really provides a unique service.”

According to the release, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is investing in plans that could improve upon the state’s existing Emergency Services Program. The foundation’s program goals are to expand access to crisis stabilization and assessment, strengthen links between crisis services and existing community-based resources, and to safely divert behavioral health crises away from medical hospital emergency rooms.

“CSO has been transforming the traditional urgent care model from a set of separate services to an integrated system of care that is readily accessible and responsive to individual needs at all entry points,” Jeffers said. “This award from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation reflects the viability of our vision.”

Clinical & Support Options’ model of urgent care does not require clients in crisis to know which services they need. Anyone seeking any service will be assessed at any entry point, and they will be connected to whatever service meets their particular needs as quickly as possible.

“Clients will be additionally supported throughout that navigation with a system of ‘bridging services,’” Jeffers said.

Those “bridging services,” the release states, are key components in ensuring clients don’t “slip through the cracks” between various levels of care. Careful “care coordination,” Jeffers explained, provides ongoing supports as well as warm handoffs to community-based resources.

Clinical & Support Options’ Crisis Services are available in Hampshire and Franklin counties and the North Quabbin region 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The nonprofit serves nearly 18,000 clients annually with a wide range of mental health, addiction, recovery and family services.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbourdeau@recorder.com.


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