News & Events

Backers of Vigil Decry Closing of Burbank Psych Unit

From the Sentinel and Enterprise

Candlelight vigil decries shutting of Fitchburg mental-health facility

By Nick Mallard,
Posted: 10/04/2010 06:37:49 AM EDT

FITCHBURG — Fitchburg’s Phil Cormier knows a thing or two about the importance of mental health.
As an individual who once sought out treatment "after my life fell apart" and later as a hospital worker himself, the 57-year-old has seen his share of mental-health work and doesn’t doubt its importance.

He shared some of his experiences and urged the more than 50 in attendance during Sunday night’s candlelight vigil for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Central Massachusetts to educate themselves and others about the importance of helping those with mental issues.



From the Telegram

Backers at vigil decry closing psychiatric unit



FITCHBURG —  Maryann Fairbanks “begged, hollered and screamed all the way up to the attorney general’s office” to get her 25-year-old son, Paul, the mental health services he needed. Paul spent six days in a cubicle-size space in Leominster hospital’s emergency room with no bed and no shower and with other people with mental illnesses before he was transferred to the former Burbank Hospital’s inpatient psychiatric unit.

“And now they want to close that unit? Where would people like my son go?” she asked.

Mrs. Fairbanks was joined by about two dozen others on Fitchburg’s lower common for a Mental Illness Awareness Week candlelight vigil last night.

State Sen. Jennifer L. Flanagan D-Leominster; Yvonne Senecal, a registered nurse at Burbank’s psychiatric unit, and Guy Beales, president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of North Central Massachusetts, spoke against the planned closing of the unit. Ms. Flanagan is the chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Mental Illness and Substance Abuse and is a licensed mental health clinician.