“I love my team”

When asked for her biggest “win” in her career, Mary Loomis, Program Director of CHD’s Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic in Easthampton, said a recent victory stands out: two married individuals she served who finally had resolved a disagreement amicably, without resorting to fighting.

In the turbulent seas of communication in their marriage, the couple were finding themselves shipwrecked again when it came to having productive talks about serious and sensitive subjects. “They have been together for 30 years, and they couldn’t remember the last time they had a stressful conversation that didn’t turn into an argument,” she said. “But they were both able to use the skills they learned in their own individual therapy to have a civil and positive conversation.”

Actually, when Loomis thinks of it, several “wins” also come to mind: adolescents and young adults with significant social anxiety who she has successfully treated. “They have tried new things, challenged their anxiety, and now they feel more confident with their new skills they learned in therapy.”

It’s no secret that this is a time of growing strains on the mental health and wellness of young people in the US, especially since the pandemic, with significant increases reported in the number experiencing moderate to severe anxiety and depression in recent years. Loomis acknowledged the increase in mental health issues among children and youth, but also noted that these numbers might also be climbing because kids and teens are more comfortable talking about mental health—and getting help— than older generations were. “They are more likely to seek help now than people were 20 years ago,” she said. “There is less judgement around getting support.”

Loomis earned her BA in psychology at Western New England University and her MSW at Springfield College. She has been a clinician at CHD since 2017, and recently became program director of our Easthampton Clinic. Of late, she has been working with the Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition to try to get the clinic more involved in the local schools. Indeed, she recently talked with Coalition Coordinator Hunter Pelkey about collaborating on a life skills group for adolescents. “This would be for skills that are not necessarily taught in schools—budgeting, writing resumes, opening a bank account, or even taking public transportation,” she said.

She is especially enthusiastic about CHD’s Community Support Program (CSP) and recovery coaches providing those her clinic serves with additional resources. CSP is a mobile, short-term program delivering intensive case management services.

What does she like most about her job? “Number one, I love my team,” she said. “I would not have taken on this director role if I didn’t love the people I work with. What I also love about doing this work is being able to be there for my clients during their tough times and being able to celebrate their successes with them.”