Merger expands mental help service

BETHESDA – A new alliance in the fight to cope with behavioral and mental health problems promises increased opportunities for Ohio Valley residents in need.

Officials with mental health agency the Village Network announced Tuesday they acquired North Point Consulting and Behavioral Health Services and the New Horizon Youth Center near Bethesda.

“We feel we can do really great things for the community,” Village Network President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Graziano said Tuesday during a press conference attended by agency representatives and community leaders.

For 14 years, North Point served the Ohio Valley, providing a comprehensive outpatient system working with the community to help people improve the quality of their lives and reduce the effects of mental illness, addiction and trauma. The Village Network, meanwhile, has served generations of at-risk boys and girls since 1946 by including residential and outpatient treatment, treatment foster care, respite care and alternative school programs.

North Point founder Thomas Perrone will remain in the agency, serving as regional director for Village Network. He said the acquisition brings more opportunities to serve the community through increased resources and a more comprehensive level of care.

“Really, it provides us the ability to create a real continuum of care for people who suffer from mental health problems and addiction, both children and adults,” Perrone said.

To state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, who saw the foundation of New Horizon and North Point in 2000, the merger is an encouraging step for mental health in the area.

“There was a real need at the time,” said Cera. “They had the vision to make this facility. This is the next step. It brings a whole new level of services. We still have a real need.”

State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, said the expansion of mental health services in the Ohio Valley is important and Village Network’s growth provides an opportunity to improve the quality of life.

“Those struggling deserve quality care,” Gentile said. “I think we have an obligation as a state to provide them with the quality care they deserve. I look forward to our work together in the future.”

“Our mission is to work in partnership with communities to develop supportive, caring relationships and build brighter futures for families,” Graziano said. “We do believe that the acquisition is an investment in our mission.”