Since 1977 Community Healthlink Inc. has provided treatment programs for mental health and substance abuse through the UMass Memorial Health Care Network. In addition to the adult substance abuse programs, Community Healthlink adolescent programs offer two choices for residential treatment. One is through a program called Motivating Youth Recovery (MYR), which is a detox and stabilization facility, and the other is for long term treatment of girls only at a facility known as the Highland Grace House.
Accommodations and Food
The average stay in the MYR program is typically two weeks and is for young men and women ages 13 to 17, though 18-year-olds may be admitted on a case-by-case basis. The facility is a large, multi-floor building, and MYR takes up two floors. The program can serve up to 24 clients at a time, with most rooms being double occupancy and the boys and girls rooms being in separate wings of the facility. All the rooms have private bathrooms that are fully equipped with showers.
Though the facility is not a lock-down situation, the clients do not leave the premises. There is a rec room on-site with a phone, two TVs, a foosball table, a Wii system and air hockey. When there is down time between meetings clients can watch movies together or make phone calls to immediate family members. Family can also come to visit twice a week. Smoking is not allowed while in treatment at MYR.
The Highland Grace House is for girls aged 13 to 17 only and is the only treatment center of it’s kind in Massachusetts. The facility is a two-story Victorian style home that can serve up to 14 clients at a time. The rooms are double occupancy with shared bathrooms.
Residents at MYR eat all meals together on the fifth floor where the dining room is and there is a kitchen at the facility where clients can get snacks anytime. All meals are brought into the facility by a food service company and though there is no set menu, the options are generally on the healthy side. At Highland Grace House there is an on-site chef who prepares meals and snacks are also set out during the day. Clients are required to take part in meal preparation and clean up, as well.
Treatment and Staff
The treatment protocols at MYR and Highland Grace House are similar, with the exception of the availability of trauma-informed treatment techniques like EMDR at Highland Grace. Residents participate in up to six group sessions per day, and one individual counseling per week. A typical day involves a 7:30am wake up, with first group meeting taking place at 8:45am as a check in. Throughout the day groups consist of a mix of 12-step style meetings, as well as pyscho-education classes, like relapse prevention, coping skills and anger management. Academic classes are available at both facilities, so clients can stay on top of schooling during their time in treatment. In both programs attending all group sessions is mandatory as it is a huge part of the recovery process.
MYR is s short-term program—the main goals are to help residents detox safely and plan their next step in recovery. Referrals are offered to residential facilities and outpatient programs when clients get ready to leave. At Highland Grace, the average length of stay is 90 days.
Highland Grace House and MYR both have 24-hour care on staff seven days a week. In addition to residential counselors, there are Master’s-level clinical social workers (LCSWs), case managers, psychologists and consulting psychiatrists and doctors, who are available on a part time basis.
An aftercare program plan is established between clients and each individual caseworker during treatment. In both residential programs it is emphasized that even though the treatment has to be voluntary for the clients, parents participation during treatment is not. Parents or guardians are expected to take part in the client’s treatments and attend a weekly family program as an added support system.
At Highland Grace, frequent outings and recreational activities are scheduled during the client’s stay, as well as a focus on health and exercise while in the program.
The MYR and Highland Grace House offer innovative programs that are designed so that when the client leaves treatment, they and their families have the knowledge to cope without drugs and alcohol. By incorporating family involvement so much in the process it provides an extra layer of support to the skills they acquire so that healing may continue when they return to the community.
Community Healthlink, Inc.
Motivating Youth Recovery
26 Queen Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Community Healthlink, Inc.
Highland Grace House
278 Highland Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Community Healthlink Inc. Adolescent Recovery Services Cost: Sliding scale or insurance. Reach Community Healthlink Inc. Adolescent Recovery Services by phone at 508-860-1000.
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