Adolescent Recovery Services

Screening and Treatment of Early Psychosis Clinic (S.T.E.P)


Specialty Clinic at Community Healthlink

Specialty Clinic at CHL

Click here to learn more about STEP Clinic at CHL

Community Healthlink (CHL), a member of UMass Memorial Health Care, is the largest, multi-service, private, non-profit mental health organization in central Massachusetts. CHL is a diverse agency with over 1,000 employees for 80 different programs serving more than 17,000 persons annually throughout Worcester County. Over the years, CHL has positioned itself as the leading provider of comprehensive mental health care for patients in the region. Core services include: 1) outpatient mental health services for adults, children and families in 7 separate clinics; 2) case management and family support with home-based services for adults, children and adolescents; and 3) residential and rehabilitation services for chronically mentally ill adults.

The outpatient mental health treatment team at CHL includes psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists and mental health counselors trained and experienced in the care of those with serious mental health problems.

The Psychotic Disorders Specialty Clinic

The Psychotic Disorders Specialty Clinic at CHL provides diagnostic assessment and ongoing treatment for patients suffering from schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. The address is 72 Jaques Avenue, Worcester, MA 01610. To make an appointment, please call 508-856-MIND or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Screening and Treatment of Early Psychosis (STEP) Clinic

As part of the Psychotic Disorders Specialty Clinic, the STEP Clinic at CHL provides clinical service to individuals between the ages of 18 and 40 who are experiencing early psychotic symptoms or in the prodrome phase.

The STEP Clinic provides:

  1. Comprehensive Evaluation: We will meet with both the patient and the family to get a thorough history and assessment. Before beginning treatment we will decide on what treatment goals matter most to everyone.
  2. Psychopharmacological intervention: Our physicians will optimize medications using the most up-to-date clinical evidence. We can also refer you to research studies for new medications that are being investigated.
  3. Psychotherapy: Our therapists use a form of talk therapy designed to help people who deal with unusual things like strange voices or feeling scared about things more than others.
  4. Primary care integration: We provide primary care on site at CHL for those patients who are in need of primary care service. Integrated primary and behavioral health care is a unique feature of our clinic.
  5. Substance Abuse Screening and Treatments: Almost half of individuals with a psychotic disorder will develop a substance abuse problem in his/her life, and up to 90% use tobacco. Screening, motivational interviewing and medication will be administered by staff to help prevent and reduce substance abuse.
  6. Family Therapy and Education: We feel that keeping the whole family informed and supported is an important aspect of recovery.

For more information or to schedule an intake at the STEP Clinic, please call 508-856-MIND or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Click here for the STEP Clinic brochure.

MISSION Direct Vet

MISSION Direct Vet (Maintaining Independence and Sobriety through Systems Integration, Outreach, and Networking - Diversion and Recovery for Traumatized Veterans) is a federally funded jail diversion program that provides manualized treatment to individuals in Massachusetts with co-occurring trauma-related mental health problems and substance abuse disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. Priority is given to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Purposes of MISSION Direct Vet:

• Identify veterans with mental illness and substance use disorders prior to the sentencing of their criminal case
• Propose services and treatment options as alternatives to incarceration
• Coordinate services between treatment providers and the courts, attorneys, jails, probation officers, and houses of correction

MISSION Direct Vet Provides the Following Services:

      • 12 months of peer support
      • 12 months of case management
      • MISSION-manualized approach to treatment
      • Referrals and linkages to services as needed including:
        • Medical and Mental Health Care
        • Substance abuse treatment
        • Veterans services
        • Vocational and independent living skills programs
        • Transitional Residence Programs
        • Family support
      • Coordination of treatment with local and state probation and parole agencies, to ensure seamless services and support to veterans


      • Current involvement with the criminal justice system
      • History of military service; priority given to OEF/OIF Combat Veterans
      • Presence of mental health problems and substance abuse difficulties
      • Able to receive and access services in Worcester county
      • Willingness to cooperate with care coordination between service providers and the court

Key Program Personnel:

Debra Pinals, MD
David Smelson, PsyD
Carl Fulwiler, MD, PhD

Peggy Wiinikainen, MA - Mission Direct Vet Case Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

508-373-7975 or 1-866-309-3359 (toll free)

Respite Beds

As a short-term service, DMH-funded Respite Beds is a 24-hour staffed program designed to address the reason for referral to the program, and address any barriers to discharge. The program provides a variety of wellness groups on-site to provide daily structure, connection to community supports as well as peer supports. Clients in Respite have access to psychiatric consultations, a mental health clinician and medication support as well as a nurse to provide health assessments, as needed.

Community Healthlink provides eleven Respite Beds on its main Worcester campus for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)-Worcester service system. The program provides temporary housing and support services for clients who are in transition from one living arrangement to another, sometimes coming directly from Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, or from a community inpatient unit. These beds are co-located with a community-based Crisis Stabilization Unit and on-site Emergency Services Program. A Mobile Respite program is also available to provide outreach to DMH clients in the Worcester area who may need assistance with daily living or support through a crisis.

 My Link Logo

MyLink client and case worker

MyLink, a collaborative project between Community Healthlink and UMass Medical Center Emergency Department, is a coordinated response to care for individuals with multiple health and social needs who frequently turn to the Emergency Department for help. The MyLink Team consists of experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate community health workers from diverse communities and backgrounds, who speak the following languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Twi, and Albanian.

The purpose of MyLink is:

  • To work with ER doctors, nurses, social workers and care managers to reach out to individuals who frequently visit the ER and are in need of support
  • To facilitate connection with and strengthen an individual’s relationship to primary care and community services

The MyLink Team will:

  • Develop and maintain rapport with individuals referred to Mylink
  • Provide phone outreach and follow up home visits
  • Provide “hands on” case management support, including transportation to appointments with health care providers
  • Link individuals to community resources and valuable information to improve health and wellness
  • Help advocate to improve an individual’s access to care

Making a referral is easy!

MyLink features a flexible and open referral process. Emergency department staff may refer an individual by contacting the MyLink staff member on site, or by calling



PACT, the Program for Assertive Community Treatment and FLoW PACT(Fitchburg, Leominster or Worcester)

Located in Worcester, Leominster, and Fitchburg, this program helps seriously mentally ill adults who need intensive treatment by reducing hospitalizations and assisting them in finding jobs and housing. This is a DMH closed referral program.

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