Granite Recovery Centers opens residential mental health facility in Canterbury

By PAUL CUNO-BOOTH

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 07-13-2023 2:55 PM

Granite Recovery Centers, one of New Hampshire’s largest addiction treatment providers, is expanding into mental health care with a new 20-bed residential facility outside Concord.

At a launch event Wednesday, company leaders said the new facility would fill a gap by serving patients who no longer need psychiatric hospitalization but would still benefit from more intensive care than what they’d receive in an outpatient program.

“It exists in a lot of places for substance use disorder. It doesn't really exist for [people with a] mental health primary diagnosis,” CEO Eric Ekberg said. “So folks go to an ER, not sure where to go, or they get admitted into a psych unit.”

New Hampshire has struggled for years to meet the demand for mental health services. A federal court has ordered the state to stop detaining patients who need mental health care in emergency departments — a longstanding problem stemming from a shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds — by 2024. Advocates have said the state will need to expand inpatient capacity as well as community-based services that keep people out of the hospital.

Granite Recovery Centers has faced scrutiny over the past year, as an NHPR investigation corroborated multiple allegations of sexual misconduct made against its founder and former owner, Eric Spofford. Spofford, who has denied any wrongdoing, sold the company to BayMark Health Services in December 2021 and is no longer involved in running it.

Ekberg, who joined the company in 2022, said Granite Recovery Centers is now covered by BayMark Health’s personnel policies.

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“Since that time, all our policies — we have a zero tolerance policy about harassment, et cetera,” he said. “We've really turned the page from prior ownership. We're all about treating our clients now. We have upwards of 300 staff that are dedicated to this mission.”

The facility in rural Canterbury has clinical staff on site, with rooms and shared living spaces for 10 men and 10 women.

Ekberg said many clients with substance use disorder also have underlying mental health issues, which was part of the motivation behind the new facility.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 

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