On the evening of June 5th at the historic American Thread Mill #2 in Willimantic, the Board of Directors of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield welcomed guests, friends, staff, and benefactors to their 54th Annual Reception.
Visitors sampled delectable hors d’oeuvres while enjoying the classical melodies performed by 11-year-old John C. Black from Barrington, RI, son of Janice Black, former CFO, Natchaug Hospital.
Distinguished guests included Raymond B. Johnson, M.D., Pfizer Global Research and Development, retired, and Chairman of the Natchaug Hospital Board of Directors; John J. Meehan, retired CEO of Hartford HealthCare and of Hartford Hospital; Stephen W. Larcen, Ph.D., President and CEO of Natchaug Hospital; and George A. Little, M.D., Director Emeritus, Natchaug Hospital.
Raymond Johnson introduced the Board of Directors. He said about George A. Little, “Over 54 years ago George helped lay the foundation of Natchaug Hospital. His first job there was in the kitchen – he sure has come a long way! George is a tremendous asset to Natchaug, where he is continuing the legacy of his parents.” Raymond then presented George with a Distinguished Service Award.
George is the son of Dr. Olga Little, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Mervyn Little, a general practitioner, who together in 1954 founded a convalescent facility for elderly, postoperative and terminally ill patients, who required psychiatric health services. Natchaug Hospital evolved over time to become the primary resource for local residents seeking mental health and substance abuse services. George, former chairman of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at Dartmouth Medical Center, is an internationally respected academic pediatrician.
Natchaug’s Capital Campaign 2007-08 encompassed expansion of the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Inpatient Treatment Unit and improvements to the adult inpatient unit. Natchaug Hospital provides a regional system of care for children, adolescents, and adults with mental illnesses, emotional traumas, substance abuse, and behavioral health problems. The hospital provides care to more than 2,000 children and adolescents each year in their special schools, after-school and inpatient programs. Lawrence and Memorial, Backus, Windham, Day Kimball, and Middlesex Hospitals, and CT Children’s Medical Center rely on Natchaug to provide inpatient care for young patients with psychiatric illnesses. Admissions to Natchaug Hospital’s child and adolescent unit increased by 40 percent since 2003.
John Meehan said, “Natchaug Hospital is the anchor of Eastern CT – very responsive to mental health needs. This is a community hospital – an institution of the community, in the community.” Natchaug formalized its affiliation with Hartford HealthCare Corporation (HHCC) in 1998. Stephen Larcen responded, “Throughout our 10-year relationship with Hartford HealthCare there have been nothing but benefits. We could not have done it without John.”
Kate Mattias, Executive Director, NAMI-CT, wrapped the evening up by delivering a presentation, Building Brighter Futures for Children, which outlined the support systems NAMI offers for people suffering from mental illness and their families. Kate explained, “NAMI’s mission is support, education, and advocacy. Today families want early identification of issues, effective intervention, a reduction in stigmas, and the removal of barriers that prevent families from accessing services.”