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March 28, 2024

New Worcester behavioral health clinic aims to make mental health care more accessible

A brick building with 299 Lincoln St. placed on the left hand side Image I Courtesy of Google Maps Guidelight Health will open the practice in Suite 302 in its Lincoln Street location.

Guidelight Health, a new behavioral health treatment center, will be accepting patients at its very first location on Lincoln Street in Worcester come May 1. 

Co-founding Guidelight are Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andy Cruz, Chief Executive Officer Tesha Simpson, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer Jordan Cox, as well as Andrew Hayek and Cory Roberts of Triple Aim Partners, an Illinois-based healthcare firm. 

Guidelight will provide two options of care for those seeking treatment: an intensive outpatient program (IOP) and a partial hospitalization program (PHP). The IOP will run three days per week for six weeks, while its PHP will run five days per week for two weeks. Though the center does use the terms IOP and PHP to categorize their programs, Dr. Cruz states that those industry-used, technical terms can be misleading and often come with negative connotations. Instead, he prefers to refer to the programs as intermediate levels of care. 

“My favorite part about these levels of care is it allows you to get world class treatment, but you can continue doing the things that give you dignity and make your life valuable to you as an individual. That’s taking care of your kids, that’s going to work, going to school, and that's why these levels of care are so powerful,” said Cruz.

Dr. Cruz states that both programs take insurance and are centered around skills-based group therapy, incorporating aspects of therapy modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. In addition to its more generalized groups, Guidelight is working on a variety of specialized group therapy options, referred to as tracks, including an LGBTQIA+ and college student track. 

Guidelight’s patients will also have access to medication evaluations and referrals to providers within the community to continue their care once they leave the program. 

The center will start off with three full-time clinicians at its 299 Lincoln St. location, but Cruz emphasizes that the need for clinics like Guidelight are not limited to the city, and he plans to expand clinics into other areas of Massachusetts. 

“We have young adults, adolescents and children waiting weeks for care in the emergency room. We have prolonged waits for outpatient care. We have a lot of people utilizing inpatient hospitalizations just because that’s all that’s available,” Cruz said.

The conceptualization of Guidelight came from witnessing this need in the community, Cruz said, but also from his family’s lived experience. He had two uncles with schizophrenia who both passed, in part due to their mental illnesses.  

“It's more than a company,” Cruz says. “It's personal.”

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