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By DMH Commissioner Marcia Fowler

Today marks the official opening of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital (WRCH). The new, state-of-the-art facility represents an evolution in modern public psychiatric care and treatment and reflects a remarkable collaboration among scores of stakeholders in the mental health community.

Since 2005, when the first meeting of the state’s Department of Mental Health Facility Feasibility Commission took place, the guiding principles for this historic project have always focused on recovery for individuals with serious mental illness and on Community First, the Patrick-Murray Administration’s principle of prioritizing a person’s reintegration into the community. DMH believes that true recovery from mental illness is not only possible, it is real.

I am so grateful to the hundreds of individuals, agencies and organizations who, for the past seven years, have dedicated their energy, expertise and hard work to creating the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, and the hope we know it will bring to many individuals and their families.

WRCH is designed to foster dignity and respect for all who come through its doors; the building’s design and features themselves guide the recovery journey for adults and adolescents who need continuing care. WRCH will lead the nation, and possibly the world, in how clinical treatment and the recovery model can restore purpose and independence to persons whose lives have been interrupted by serious mental illness.

A crowning achievement of this magnitude could not be possible without the commitment, faith and compassion of many. To name them all would fill volumes, but I attempt here to acknowledge these remarkable folks who have made their mark on this extraordinary facility.

Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, Lt. Governor Murray and Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, the creation of WRCH will ensure that citizens with serious mental illness are treated with dignity and respect and provided access to the best care and treatment in the nation. All of the thought and development that has gone into WRCH has unceasingly kept a keen eye toward recovery for all of individuals seeking care.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to the members and staff of the Department of Mental Health Feasibility Commission and the Massachusetts Legislature who have shown unwavering leadership and support for citizens with serious mental illness.  I also want to thank former DMH Commissioner Barbara Leadholm, who, during her tenure led the Department and our stakeholders, community, consumers and families in their deep commitment to recovery, the principle of Community First and an innovative, state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital for Massachusetts.

The success of this project would not have been possible without the partnership of the Division of Capital Asset Management; Ellenszweig Associates; and Gilbane Inc., who for the past five years have worked collaboratively and closely with DMH and our stakeholders to conceptualize, design and build a public psychiatric hospital that sets the state for reforming mental health care and treatment nationwide.

I especially want to extend my deepest appreciation to the many DMH staff, who over the past five years, have spent countless hours working on developing WRCH and informing a hospital design that keeps recovery as its focus and is infused in every aspect of the building and grounds. Thank you for your tremendous contribution to WRCH and to the Department.

It takes a village to raise a child, and today’s opening reflects the entire community it took to build Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. Without the many contributions of creativity, compassion and innovation of so many, we would not have the facility we are so proud to open today. On behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth, I extend my gratitude to all who made it possible.

 

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