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New mental health, wellness center opens in Astoria

Long Island City-Astoria Journal & Jackson Heights News - 10/18/2017

Goodwill Industries unveiled its new integrated health and wellness center in Astoria at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday.

The facility at 4-21 27th Avenue will provide primary medical care, mental health screenings, substance abuse services, and wellness activities.

Goodwill NY/NJ CEO Katy Gaul-Stigge said the center is expected to serve more than 100 people in the community.

"Our team noticed that they had folks with mental diagnoses that were not going to their doctor," she said. "That meant they were not treating some of their other conditions, which meant that things can deteriorate quickly."

By providing a "one-stop shop" to get all of their services, Gaul-Stigge said she hopes community members can stay healthy, which affects all aspects of their lives. She also noted that October is Mental Health Awareness Month.

"We've got to stay mentally healthy," she said. "You have to reduce the stigma around that to get the treatment that you need in order to be the full person you can be."

Individuals 18 or older with mental health diagnoses qualify for services. On Thursday, community members kicked off their day with free yoga on the terrace, followed by a nutritional counseling demonstration, blood pressure screenings, overdose prevention training, and mindfulness education.

"We hope that we can be a real anchor to the community and make sure everyone is healthy and well," Gaul-Stigge said.

Matthew Troy, executive director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, said mental health is "key to a healthy life and in demand for families."

"You need it to have a fulfilling life to find a career," he said. "The fact that Goodwill is offering this service for free right in the heart of our community makes this program so accessible for families who don't have any other options."

Troy added that Goodwill has an "excellent reputation" in the western Queens community for being connected to families.

"Because of that, they will feel more comfortable to come here," he said. "They already have many family programs and other services that the community already benefits from. This is a much-needed addition and it makes perfect sense."


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