Alta Behavioral Healthcare Opens New Boardman Location
BOARDMAN, Ohio – Alta Behavioral Healthcare held an open house for its newest Boardman location Wednesday morning.
“We have been based in Boardman and had a satellite office for four to five years,” said Joseph Shorokey, CEO of Alta Care Group. “We simply outgrew it. We were renting the space and we needed a bigger building.”
The new 6,000-square-foot facility is located at 108 W. Western Reserve Road.
Shorokey said when the opportunity for this building appeared, they knew it would be ideal.
“Now we have room for nine therapists in this building,” he said. “We only had room for four where we were at before.”
Owning the space, as opposed to the previous shared rental space, will allow the organization to grow and change if needed, Shorokey said.
“The issue is not only to be able to better serve the Boardman residents, but we have people coming to our former office on South Avenue from Canfield, Poland and the far western handle of the county, and this will be more convenient for them too.”
Shorokey said they now have a total of nine behavioral health locations. An additional 11 locations for the Head Start/Early Head Start program for the City of Youngstown and Mahoning County are also within the area.
“Our main outpatient facility is on Belmont Avenue in Youngstown, but this is something that we are very proud of and have been working hard on for a while,” he said.
The building was purchased for a little over $500,000, Shorokey said. An additional $30,000 was put into building renovations.
“Really, there wasn’t a lot to do,” he said. “We had to close a few walls and create a waiting space, and put in some new flooring and painting. It was really turnkey for the most part.”
Shorokey says 10 staff members will be employed at the building – nine therapists and a receptionist.
“Alta is a nonprofit behavioral heath organization specifically focused on children, adolescents [and] young adults – kids with emotional problems, behavioral problems,” he said. “A lot of kids now, since the pandemic, we see with anxiety and depression. The requests for services now are unprecedented for us.”
The new building allows the organization to help a broader range of people, who they were unable to reach before, Shorokey said.
June marks 38 years that Shorokey has been with Alta.
“When I started in 1985, we had a staff of about 12 to 15 [people],” he said. “Now we have a staff of about 260, and we are serving up to 4,000 kids a year now. Eight to 10 years ago, it was about half that number.”
While it is unfortunate that the need for the services is growing, Shorokey said he is happy they are now able to grow to meet those needs.
Vince Paolucci, Alta Care project development manager, said he has been with the organization for almost 20 years. His role is to help develop programs and new initiatives.
Some of these services include peer support and respite care, where the child is accompanied by an Alta care provider who comes into the home or takes the child out into the community for a short period of time to give the family a break.
“We do have other funding streams [that] provide respite for families,” he said. “Peer support is a great program, and there really [are] grassroots folks that have lived the experience working with our clients. Sometimes families just need someone to talk to that have walked their walk.”
The peer support program started about five years ago and has developed into a large program, Paolucci said. He said it has been a “needed program that everyone is requesting.”
Paolucci is the team leader of the First Episode Psychosis program, which helps those who are first diagnosed with psychosis in their first two years.
“It gets people early in their treatment, with the theory that if we catch people early, we can make some better outcomes down the road,” he said.
Paolucci said he has a lot of prior experience in adult mental health, where he was a case manager, and he had seen the cost of untreated and unsupported issues causing more detrimental outcomes.
“I really like the First program because we really work with the family to keep engaged,” he said. “That will be their strong support network.”
Paolucci said they have seen a lot of positive outcomes when it comes to family support, and they have seen many clients graduate from their program.
“We usually go about two or three years with a client, and the ages are usually 14 to 35,” he said. “We get a lot of 20-year-olds.”
One of the more recent positive parts for the organization is the increased funding streams that are available for families to access those services, Paolucci said.
“We are bringing different and unique services that are going outside the box,” he said. “We talk about peer support. We talk about respite. Five to eight years ago, it was hard to get those services because there wasn’t a lot of funding for that.”
Paolucci said they are excited about the Boardman expansion, and they are now in the works of expanding in Howland, as well.
“We have gone beyond just counseling and case management,” he said. “We expanded to a lot of other social services that really benefit the community.”
Pictured at top: Joseph Shorokey, CEO of Alta Care Group, outside the organization’s new location in Boardman.
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