Skip to content

GRIT Program Welcomes Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia

HOLYOKE – The Mental Health Association’s GRIT-Yale Street Program that serves LGBTQ+ individuals in recovery with substance use and mental health conditions welcomed Mayor Joshua Garcia for a first-time visit June 28.

Garcia expressed appreciation for MHA’s residential program serving those whom he called “one of our more vulnerable populations.”

“Holyoke has always been a city of second chances,” Garcia said. “I appreciate that MHA has created a residential program for one of our more vulnerable populations: members of the LGBTQ+ community who are struggling with mental health and substance use disorders.”

He added he welcomed the offer from residents to “engage with the community in a meaningful way.”

“I welcome their participation,” Garcia said. “My staff will communicate with the director of the Yale Street program as opportunities for community involvement come along.”

MHA Vice President of Resource Development and Branding Kimberley Lee called MHA “very grateful” to Garcia and the opportunity to host an elected official.

“We welcome any opportunity to host our elected officials so that they, too, understand the impact and importance of MHA’s work,” Lee said. “MHA is a willing partner in every community where our programs operate. MHA is very grateful for our conversation with Mayor Garcia who obviously is incredibly committed to ensuring those who need help have it.”

She said that MHA is “excited to lend our expertise and energy to any city and town in order to leverage additional resources to support residents who are challenged by mental health, substance use, and more.”


The Holyoke program located in a renovated 16-bed, Tudor-style home on nearly an acre of land is currently celebrating its one year anniversary as a model program specifically for those who identify LGBTQ+.

LGBTQ+ populations of all ages disproportionately experience more instances of mental health and substance use disorders, suicidality, and poorer wellbeing outcomes compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, according to government data.

GRIT-Yale Street is one of three programs, whose acronym stands for “Growing, Re-imaging, Inspired, Transformed,” that MHA has for different populations in recovery with substance use disorders and-or mental health diagnosis, and made possible by contracts with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

For more information, call 844-MHA-WELL.

About MHA:

What We Do
MHA (Mental Health Association) helps people live their best life. We provide access to therapies for emotional health and wellness; services for substance use recovery, developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury; services for housing and residential programming, and more. With respect, integrity and compassion, MHA provides each individual served with person-driven programming to foster independence, community engagement, wellness and recovery.

Why We Matter
The youth, adults, seniors and families we serve want the same things in life as anyone: to have friends, work, go to school, have meaningful relationships, express themselves (and be heard), and be accepted in their community for who they are. With our help and resources from a caring community, people can live their potential, in their community, every day.

How We Think
Starting in the 1960s, MHA’s groundbreaking efforts and advocacy helped to transition people away from institutional living to a life in our community. This became a model for the deinstitutionalization movement. Today, our leadership continues to advance awareness of mental health conditions and needs at local, regional and national levels. We drive compassionate care for those challenged by mental health, developmental disabilities, substance use, homelessness, acquired brain injury and more.