NSMC News Releases

Vital Care for Local Families
9/12/2019

Opening this October, the 120-bed Epstein Center for Behavioral Health will expand much-needed access to psychiatric care for North Shore patients and enable NSMC to deliver care more efficiently and compassionately. “With the Epstein Center, our patients will have the services they need and deserve,” says Mark Schechter, M.D., Chair of Psychiatry at North Shore Medical Center.

Leonard D. Gebhard, R.N., B.S.N., Maria Stacy, L.I.C.S.W., Mark Schechter, M.D., and Robert Caggiano, Ed.D.

The Epstein Center consolidates existing Union and Salem Hospital behavioral health units into the former Spaulding Hospital building on the Salem campus and adds another 54 new behavioral health beds to NSMC and the North Shore. The completely renovated facility includes two 30-bed units for adults, as well as separate 30-bed units for seniors and children/adolescents. Named in honor of longtime NSMC supporter Arthur Epstein and his family, the center will be a key feature of NSMC’s psychiatry and mental health program, integrate inpatient care with outpatient psychiatry and addiction treatment, and enable further development of community-based programs.

The Epstein Center will also be closely affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), which has collaborated with NSMC in a wide range of specialties for decades. This relationship will give NSMC patients access to MGH specialists in substance abuse and other complex mental health disorders, and provides opportunities for innovative treatment approaches and research advances. “The Epstein Center will offer top-notch care in our community that is linked to and supported by MGH,” Dr. Schechter says. “There is no better scenario for our patients.”

Unique Model

Because the Epstein Center is embedded within NSMC Salem Hospital—a full-service medical and surgical facility—care for patients throughout the hospital can be provided more holistically. Patients who have both medical and psychiatric conditions can have access to the full range of specialists they need, whether they happen to be patients on a cardiac unit who also suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or patients admitted for mental health disorders who may also need the services of non-psychiatry experts such as cardiologists or surgeons.

“Providing all of these services under one roof offers better care to our patients and will also help break down the stigma associated with psychiatric conditions,” Dr. Schechter says. “This is a major advance for the North Shore community.”

Letting in the Light

In addition to a rooftop garden for adults, the Epstein Center includes a children’s courtyard with areas for basketball and floor hockey and other activities funded with support of the Merry Mixers, a local organization that has supported pediatric programs at NSMC for many years.

“Kids need space,” says Maria Stacy, L.I.C.S.W., Director of Acute Care Mental Health Services for children and adolescents. “When children have an emotional crisis, they do better when they can move and release some energy.” The center also offers restorative spaces where children and adolescents can develop tools to manage anxiety, such as yoga and meditation. “The new facility is beautiful and bright,” Stacy says. “There is so much light streaming in.”