Healing from the aftereffects of the pandemic will be the topic of the Brien Center’s first “Community Conversations” series on May 10

The agency will also discuss its 100+ year history in the Berkshires and its role in behavioral health treatment milestones

PITTSFIELD – While COVID-19 has faded from the headlines, it continues to impact the mental health and substance use of many Berkshire County residents. Learning strategies to cope with the aftereffects of the pandemic will be the topic of a “Community Conversation” sponsored by the Brien Center on Wednesday, May 10, at the Berkshire Athenaeum, beginning at 5:30.

“For many of us, it’s not over,” said Jennifer Michaels, MD, Medical Director of the Brien Center. “Just like any trauma, there is the actual event followed by re-experiencing it over and over. People are still trying to work through the consequences of this crisis. There are things we can do that can help us heal, grow, and move forward.”

Dr. Michaels said her presentation will include a review of supports available to those living with post-pandemic mental illness and substance use, as well as techniques that people can learn that help ease stress when feeling overwhelmed.

The one-hour conversation will launch the first in a series of Community Conversations to be held throughout Berkshire County as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month. Also speaking at the series will be Christine Macbeth, ACSW, LICSW, President and CEO of the Brien Center. Her presentation will include highlights of the Brien Center’s long history in the Berkshires.

“For over 100 years, the Brien Center has provided mental health services – and later, treatment for addiction – during a time that parallels the dawn of community-based care for those with behavioral health issues,” Macbeth said. “When we look back on our history, the Brien Center was led by true champions who advocated relentlessly for people in need of mental health and addiction care. Their leadership created the foundation on which the Brien Center is built today.”

In addition to the May 10 kick-off at the Berkshire Athenaeum, additional sessions will be held throughout Berkshire County. All begin at 5:30 and are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows: May 24 at the Lenox Library, 18 Main Street; May 31 at the North Adams Library, 74 Church Street, and June 7 at Berkshire South Regional Community Center, 15 Crissy Road in Great Barrington.