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SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

By Joseph T. O’Leary Journal Inquirer | 0 comments

MANCHESTER — Community Health Resources President and CEO Heather Gates said Wednesday the organization’s new buildings here are intended to reinforce its patients’ strengths.

“The beautiful new facility gives them the message that we value them and want them to be served in a building that is professional and conducive to recovery and treatment,” Gates said in an interview Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the nonprofit, which focuses on mental health, addiction, wellness, and primary care, held a dedication for its Center for Health and Wellness. Speakers including Gates, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Manchester Mayor Jay Moran, Sen. Stephen Cassano, D-Manchester, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon.

CHR serves 22,000 children, families, and adults throughout the state, working with mental illness, substance use, and child welfare, among other needs. Gates said the organization increasingly offers primary care services as well, in partnership with East Hartford and Manchester-based First Choice Health Centers.

The building at 444 Center St. will be the center for the organization’s services, as it has relocated services from its East Middle Turnpike location.

It will provide outpatient treatment for individual and group therapy, outreach, and evidence-based programs for children and families, and other forms of support for adults experiencing various conditions.

The location has a sprawling parking lot and a central location that’s easy to access. It also has been designed with use of natural light and green spaces, rooms designated for exercise, working with stress, and managing chronic conditions, and an on-site pharmacy and primary care practices.

The green design has multiple goals, Gates said. “It’s a combination of comforting individuals receiving support and for our staff. It’s very hard work as individuals have different challenges, and being in an environment that’s cheerful, beautiful, and brings in the outdoors” improves conditions.

She said CHR has won statewide awards for its success as a workplace and believes that’s partially related to the types of facilities it runs. “The health and well-being of both our patients and staff is a major focus,” Gates said.

CHR’s new building began operating in mid-July, and so far the response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Gates said. “People feel valued there. There’s a feeling that it’s a great place to be able to seek treatment.

“Our philosophy has been to provide services in locations anyone would want to go to regardless of income and bills,” Gates continued. No matter how patients receive their care, they “deserve to be treated in an environment that’s warm, welcome, and professional.”

Across the street from the center is a 20-unit apartment building, intended to help low-income individuals and those requiring support services. Its units include three designated for veterans, two for individuals experiencing serious mental illness, and five for families in the child welfare system.

Gates said CHR’s services are becoming more important. “We saw a 24 percent increase in demand for services just in the last year,” Gates said. “We know there is a need for what we do.”

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