Health Connect America holds grand opening

Health Connect America holds grand opening


Health Connect America celebrated the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of their new office on Byrd Avenue across from the Courthouse.

Although Health Connect America has been serving clients from the Meridian office for the past two years, increased referrals from Philadelphia prompted them to establish a presence here. With 60 clients already in Philadelphia, the office officially opened on March 1.

Health Connect America is a private community mental health center catering to individuals of all ages, from children to adults. 

Their team includes a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a registered nurse to address medication needs, as well as licensed master’s level therapists, social workers, and bachelor’s degree staff.

“We believe in a wraparound service model,” said Sheila Baker, executive director. “We put a lot of emphasis in home. We need to go where they are, see how the family is broken, and what we need to do to step in and mend that gap.”

Since its inception in 2006, Health Connect America has expanded to 11 states. In 2018, they launched operations in Mississippi and have since established 12 offices across the state.

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, Health Connect America introduced therapeutic day treatment programs for children, shifting from school-based to center-based services as an after-school alternative.

“Therapeutic day treatment is for kids who are at risk for out-of-home or if they have a lot of behavior problems in the school,” Baker said. “We try to teach them conflict and social skills, and how to problem solve.”

For adults, Health Connect America offers psychosocial rehabilitation programs aimed at teaching essential life skills and managing mental health conditions. Additionally, they provide traditional case management, therapy sessions, and intensive alcohol and drug programs, complemented by peer support specialists.

“I see a need for mental health in Philadelphia,” said Erica Peebles McElhenney, program director. “I want to make sure the people in this community have a safe place to go to get help with their problems whether it be mental health issues, alcohol and drug issues, their children, themselves, or their parents.”

Health Connect America prioritizes understanding local community needs, tailoring their programs accordingly while adhering to Department of Mental Health (DMH) standards.

Their services for children include individual and family therapy, case management, peer support, and medical support, including prescriptions for conditions like ADHD.

Similarly, adults benefit from a range of services, including outpatient programs focused on rehabilitation and intensive support, such as the ten-week outpatient program for drug court participants.

“Health Connect America serves as an opportunity to keep people in the community versus having them go outside to get those services,” McElhenney said. “A lot of times mental health patients don’t have access to transportation, so this is an opportunity to where we can go to them. We provide in-home services.”

“We offer more personalized and high-quality services because we maintain smaller caseloads,” said Julie Garner, state director of operations. “Our long-term goal is to be able to provide services for every Mississippi resident who needs it.”

To learn more about Health Connect America or to schedule an appointment, visit their website at or call (601) 389-7256.

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