The UMass Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Commonwealth Medicine operate four adolescent psychiatry units at Worcester State Hospital. Led by a multidisciplinary team of child psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and occupational therapists, each unit offers a healing environment for youth who have suffered trauma as well as a full-day accredited school program. The units provide individualized treatment plans and are moving to become family-driven, youth-guided, family-responsive, and race and culturally competent programs. Several of the units have peer mentors or program graduates on staff. All four units recently received national awards for reducing the use of seclusion and restraint.
Family therapy is part of each adolescent's treatment plan. A parent of a former resident provides programs to support the parents, grandparents and guardians of youth on the units and works to increase family involvement in the therapeutic process and daily life on the teen's unit. Efforts are also made to ensure needed community resources are provided when a youth transitions home or to a community program at the conclusion of his/her stay on the unit. Occupational therapists offer individual and group programs that include a sensory assessment, life skills inventory and leisure, vocational, sensory-motor and community-based activities. Each unit has therapeutic dogs on-site each day.
Adolescent Continuing Care Units
Two 15bed therapeutic programs serve adolescents whose clinical conditions require psychiatric management, medical monitoring and continuing care. The child division of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Massachusetts courts make the majority of referrals to these units. Youth most often come to this program from acute psychiatric units and the courts make special referrals for forensic services.
Behavior Intense Residential Treatment (Connections)
Connections is a joint program of the DMH and Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). Most youth come to this unit from acute inpatient hospitals and referrals are limited to adolescents who cannot be served by a less secure environment. Most of the teens in this program are under the care and custody of the DCF. This program provides an opportunity for adolescents to practice life skills in various settings throughout the community including libraries, sports centers, museums, YMCA and clubhouses such as the Genesis Club.
Adolescent Intensive Residential Treatment Program (Transitions)
Transitions is a 15-bed residential treatment program that serves youth ages 13 to 20 and is the only such program in Massachusetts to admit youth of transitional age. Programs are adapted to the needs of the youth and offer assistance in developing independent living and vocational skills, completing GEDs and navigating the adult world. Admissions come solely from the DMH.
Pediatric Emergency Mental Health
Pediatric Outpatient Psychiatry Services
Appointments and Staff