DMH may close Northampton office

From The Republican
By Fred Contrada
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worcester could become the closest Department of Mental Health area office for consumers in Western Massachusetts as the state considers a consolidation plan.

There are currently six areas of service in Massachusetts designated by the Department of Mental Health. Northampton hosts the office for the Western Massachusetts area on the grounds of the former Northampton State Hospital. The city that has long been a nexus for mental health services could soon be bereft of that resource, however.

The Western Massachusetts Area Community Advisory Board for the Department of Mental Health is asking the state to delay implementation of its plan to consolidate its six regional offices into three so advocates can more effectively plan for the change. Eric S. Brown, the board president, is hoping the department will reconsider its plan altogether.

“It makes absolutely no sense to close this particular office down,” he said, noting the void it would create from Worcester to the Berkshires. “How is someone from Williamstown going to get to Worcester?”

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