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SHERRI ANN MECUM

Following an early career as a database programmer and web developer, Sherri Ann Mecum turned her attention toward the mental health field following her own personal experiences with mental health and drug addiction in her family. After earning a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Anna Maria College in 2007, she became a licensed mental health counselor in 2010 and, since 2014, has been the owner and executive director of the New Beginnings Wellness Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. New Beginnings provides mental health and substance abuse services for high-risk adults, adolescents, children and families, ranging from therapeutic monitoring to medication management.

Ms. Mecum is proud to have built up an organization that provides quality mental health and substance abuse services to her community and is equally grateful to have an outstanding and dedicated team of employees. Furthermore, she has gone out of her way to ensure that her staff receives the support they need as well, since mental health is a field that has a very high burnout rate due to a chronic lack of support in a very challenging field. In addition to providing her staff with good insurance and benefits, New Beginnings also offers an internship training program that was developed by their clinical director, Mel Patrillo. Ms. Mecum is in the process of developing the New Beginnings Group Practice, which will serve as an extension of the existing internship program and will allow their interns an easy and clear way to move into a clinical setting once they are licensed.

Having also been certified as a court appointed special advocate, Ms. Mecum’s next goal is to establish a free drop-in center called Heart to Heart. This center will provide services to adolescents who need a place to go or lack access to health insurance. Ms. Mecum notes that some of the most memorable moments in her career have been when young clients have reached out to her years after she worked with them to tell her that they got their driver’s license or they got a job or to invite her to their graduations. It is moments like those that make her not only incredibly proud for her former clients, about also reminds her why she does what she does.

Motivated throughout her career by getting to see her clients grow and improve, Ms. Mecum has gone through considerable growth herself as she has developed New Beginnings into the flourishing clinic it is today. Feeling that she has grown not only as a clinician and professional, but on a personal level as well, she notes that finding a good work-life balance was crucial, not only for herself, but for the wellbeing of her staff. She also credits their unwavering refusal to compromise their morals, core values and integrity that has allowed them to serve their community so effectively and be highly dedicated to caring for their clients.

Attributing much of her success to her determination and perseverance, Ms. Mecum’s development as a professional has also been greatly impacted by her children, who changed her life, and she always strives to be a good role-model for them. Her firm belief is that people, both young and old, are not defined by their past and they always have the potential to change their lives given the right opportunities. The proud mother of one son and one daughter, she is also grandmother to one grandson, who she is helping to raise, and previously acted as a foster parent for her niece and nephew.

For her excellence, Ms. Mecum has received a number of honors and accolades. Early on, she was recognized with the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computing Award for excellent academic performance during her undergraduate studies in computer science. More recently, the New Beginnings Wellness Center was voted as the Best of Worchester Behavioral Health Clinic by the Worcester Award Program in 2018. Living her life by the motto, “Every ending brings about a new beginning,” Ms. Mecum would advise young and aspiring professionals to follow their dreams and never give up.

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