Pittsfield Behavioral Health Provider Receives Award

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NATICK, Mass.— Rebecca Phelps-Smith of the Brien Center received am Association for Behavioral Healthcare's Exceptional Leadership Award
The Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH) recognized its 2020 award recipients at its annual Salute to Excellence event on Oct 16, and this year, Rebecca Phelps-Smith, Acute Services Division Director and emergency services program (ESP) clinician for the Brien Center, received the Exceptional Leadership Award.
Each year, ABH, a statewide organization representing over 80 community-based behavioral healthcare provider organizations, recognizes individuals and groups that have made impressive contributions to the field of mental health and addiction treatment. 
The Exceptional Leadership Award is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a personal long-term commitment to the goals of ABH and who have provided leadership and support to the association, its members, and staff around behavioral health issues.
"On behalf of ABH, we want to thank all award recipients for the important work that they do every day, especially amidst the challenging COVID-19 pandemic," Lydia Conley, President and CEO of ABH said. "We salute you for your tireless commitment to supporting individuals and families living with mental health and substance use disorders. Your dedication is making a true difference every day in people's lives across the Commonwealth."
According to a press release, through Phelps-Smith's strong and unyielding leadership and service as an Acute Services Division Director and emergency services program clinician for the Brien Center, she demonstrated her devotion to keeping Berkshire County residents and their families healthy and safe during a time of immense uncertainty with the onset of COVID-19. 
She provided oversight of the agency's Emergency Services Program, Respite Services Program and Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit and worked 24/7 to ensure that services were provided as needed and that precautions were in place to reduce the chances of clients and staff from contracting the virus. Phelps-Smith's ensured that services were uninterrupted during the pandemic and clients who needed it most were able to be served through a combination of increased telehealth services and continued in-person contact.
Awardees were recognized at a virtual ceremony attended by members, providers, and lawmakers including Governor Charlie Baker, Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Speaker of the Massachusetts House Robert DeLeo, Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka, and more. 
ABH members are the primary providers of community-based behavioral healthcare in Massachusetts. Member providers and their more than 46,500 dedicated employees provide clinically effective and cost-sensitive care to 1.5 million residents in communities throughout the state annually.
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District Attorney Launches 'High-Risk' Team to Address Domestic Violence

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Cathy Felix talks about her daughter, Julie Shade, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered by her husband. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has launched a new effort to address domestic and sexual abuse in the region.
District Attorney Andrea Harrington, joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, on Thursday introduced a Domestic Violence High Risk Team designed to bring multiple disciplines together to strengthen social service and law enforcement responses to domestic violence. The DA's office has also created a new position of a domestic violence coordinator who will work with the team and develop intervention plans.
The initiative continues a campaign promise Harrington made to prioritize domestic violence and develop a team of made up of representatives across several disciplines to create a coordinated response. 
"We are using our power to dismantle a culture of violence against women and girls," she said. "Being the first female district attorney [in Berkshire County], being the first anything, being a woman in power in particular, and we have a lot of powerful women standing here behind me today, that in and of its self is meaningless unless we use that power to bring equity and human rights and justice to our community."
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