You are currently viewing The Psychological Center, Inc. continues to create pathways for those in need after more than 50 years

The Psychological Center, Inc. continues to create pathways for those in need after more than 50 years

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LAWRENCE — Executive Director Carina Pappalardo is pleased to share that the Psychological Center has been providing life-changing programs to the homeless, mentally ill and addicted for more than 50 years.

And as the nonprofit that runs the Daybreak Shelter, Pegasus House and Women’s View programs celebrates its 50th anniversary passing, the need for such services is at an all-time high.

The Eagle-Tribune reported earlier this year that about 750 patients were waiting for beds in psychiatric facilities across the state, a high number even amid a shortage of such beds for years.

The need remains despite the work of the Psychological Center to support thousands of people over 50, including those like Nicole Roberge, who will graduate from the Women’s View program in July, and those like Victor Otero, a man from Lawrence of 39-year-old who lost his home in December despite having a full-time job which he continues to do today.

Daybreak Shelter staff helped Otero get Mass Health, food stamps, ID and birth certificate, and connected him with other programs to help him rebuild his life, all helping it open up. Otero now occasionally helps cook meals for others at Daybreak Shelter to give back to those who have helped him.

“I was really in a shell when I became homeless, but they opened me up a bit and made me feel comfortable,” Otero said. “I met so many nice people there, both residents and staff. Most of them are just people who need a little help.

“We staff at Pegasus House, Women’s View and Daybreak Shelter are all very grateful to the supporters who have enabled us to do this essential and vital work over the years,” Pappalardo said. “Outcomes for those dealing with substance use disorders, mental illness and homelessness are most effective when the whole community works together to provide support, and I want to sincerely thank those who support our work.”

Earlier this year, the Psychological Center was generously supported by the Pentucket Bank, which donated $5,000; Enterprise Bank, which donated $5,000; and Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union, which donated $2,500.

Pegasus House

Pegasus House is a residential treatment and recovery services program for young women ages 18-25. It was established in 1985 to provide comprehensive treatment for substance abuse disorders. Length of stay is based on individual needs.

Pegasus House focuses on providing a structured environment that supports residents and encourages the development of healthy lifestyle habits, mastery of daily living skills, vocational skills, social skills, and maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family.

Pegasus House is committed to using trauma-informed care to help people with co-occurring mental health conditions, while offering individual and group counseling that touches on topics such as relapse prevention, maintaining recovery , effective communication and boundaries, anger management, positive coping skills, mindfulness and self-esteem, nutrition and other wellness topics.

“There was a lot of stability, structure and support, and that’s what I needed at the start of my journey,” said Caitlin, a graduate of Pegasus House in February 2022. “Over time, I worked to re-establish relationships with my family. I have a job now even though I was not employable when I arrived there. Pegasus House has just helped me with a lot of basic skills and things I need. I needed to succeed.

“I really can’t say enough about this house,” Caitlin said. “It really saved my life.”

“I was desperate, helpless and my life was unmanageable,” said Mary, who graduated from Pegasus House in February 2021. “There is no way I could have a life today without Pegasus House.”

Mary said program director Donna Kivlin, along with other women who were part of the program, were key in convincing her that recovery was worth it and worth sticking with. She said the program also meticulously prepared her for the day she left the program, providing her with connections to outside resources and staying in touch even today when she has been away from the program for more than a year.

“I needed a solution, and that’s what they gave me,” Mary said.

For more information on Pegasus House, click here.

View of women

Women’s View is a residential program for women 25 and older with substance abuse disorders. The program provides a stable and nurturing structure for women to learn to balance life’s challenges with the added stressors of maintaining sobriety.

The Women’s View program is structured to prepare clients for the next phase of their lives and their reintegration into the community. Residents learn life skills, coping skills, develop a sober network and connect with healthcare professionals. Staff are available 24/7 to provide support, individual case management, therapy, and psychiatric referrals, among other services. The program encourages self-sufficiency and responsibility, helping with health and educational issues as well as teaching simple cooking and food preparation.

Nicole Roberge, who is due to graduate from Women’s View in July, said the program was difficult but exactly what she needed to save her life.

“This is the longest sobriety in years and years,” she said. “The structure they have here and the things they work on with you are life changing, and it really makes you work hard for your recovery.”

For more information on Women’s View, click here.

dawn shelter

The main components of Daybreak Shelter’s program are triage, engagement, substance abuse stabilization services, outreach and assessment, orientation, educational services, and crisis housing services. All program components are delivered with cultural, language, gender, disability, sexual orientation and age competencies.

One resident, Victor, a 37-year-old man from Lawrence, has been staying at the shelter for more than a month, but said that with the help of shelter staff, he was connected with housing programs and is now waiting. news of a request that could help him find housing.

“I was staying with my brother, but his house burned down, and Daybreak Shelter was kind enough to take me in and help me with a lot of things, from shelter and food to programming,” said Viktor. “It was a very scary process, and honestly, I couldn’t even tell you where I would be without them.”

Janique James became homeless shortly after moving to Massachusetts about eight years ago and spent about three weeks at the shelter. James said the employees at Daybreak Shelter were incredibly kind to her and helped her get back on her feet, offering her clothes and even help with job applications.

Now that James is employed and able to fully support herself, she occasionally returns to the shelter to visit and helps the staff help others who are where she once was.

“They gave me food, a place to bathe and a place to stay,” James said. “I am very grateful for the help they have given me.”

For more information on Daybreak Shelter, click here.

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