Beacon Light introduces mental health one-stop shop

“We have a real mission as an agency to go forward and help people with treatment in a healing environment,” Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems President and CEO Richard B. Seager said Thursday.

Seager was talking about the impetus behind the creation of a “one-stop shop” for mental health services at a new facility in the former Quality Market building in North Warren.

Beacon Light unveiled the new facility, which will eventually house there adult behavioral health programs under on roof, at an open house event Thursday afternoon.

Starting at 1 p.m., the event featured remarks from Seager, Director of Adult Services Gary Culbertson and a talk on recovery principles by Patricia E. Deegan, a leader in the behavioral health recovery field.

Things then moved on to showing off the new facility.

Guests, including mental health professional and local officials, were taken on guided tours and, starting at 4 p.m., the doors were opened to the public for a community open house.

The building has come a long way.

What was once a supermarket, then essentially a large warehouse, complete with concrete floors and exposed supports, has been transformed into a warm, inviting space that feels more like a home, albeit and especially nice one, than a mental health facility.

“We tried to make a welcome environment, a calming environment, a healing environment,” Seager said.

The site will eventually house Beacon Light’s Decision Support Center, Peer Support Program, Mobile Medication Management Program and Outpatient Psychiatric Services. Two classrooms and two large conference rooms are also available.

“One of the goals of this entire building was to kind of centralize all of these services in one place, under one roof,” Beacon Light Director of Communications John Policastro said.

One feature that may be easy to overlook is that the facility is all on one floor, saving those with mobility issues trips up and down stairs.

“That’s a huge thing with the mobile medical,” Mobile Medication Program Supervisor Kim Petruney noted. “We work so much with the outpatient facilities.”

Not all space is dedicated to consumer services though. The facility also holds a communal lounge area and a dining and kitchen area.

“It’s really a big thing having somewhere for consumer interaction,” Policastro said.

According to Policastro, the facility was largely the idea of Beacon Light’s Consumer Advisory Board, a collection of mental health consumers who work to improve Beacon Light services. He also credited local officials with helping the project along.

“This really took a community effort,” Policastro noted.

The new facility serves an added purpose to the benefit of the local community. It’s one less empty, crumbling storefront.

“This is the main entryway into Warren,” Seager pointed out. “To take an old building like this and make it attractive to the community was one of our goals.”

Beacon Light purchased the building in 2011 with an eye toward consolidating recovery services. Work on the $2 million project began last winter.