Following an early career as a database programmer and web developer, Sherri Ann Mecum turned her attention toward the mental health field inspired by 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 and a certificate of advanced graduate study in counseling psychology from Assumption College in 2009, 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 Wellness Center provides mental health and dual diagnosis services for high-risk adults, adolescents, children and families. Services offered range from therapeutic monitoring, home, school, and office-based therapy to medication management.
Ms. Mecum is proud to have built up an organization that provides quality mental health and dual diagnosis services to her community and is equally grateful to have an outstanding and dedicated team of employees. New Beginnings is an employee-focused, client-centered clinic that stands by the importance of supporting staff since mental health is a field that has a very high burnout rate. Ms. Mecum firmly believes that meeting her staff’s needs helps to ensure clients receive good quality care.
In addition to providing her staff with health insurance, retirement benefits, ample sick and PTO time as well as paid training, New Beginnings also offers an extensive internship training program that was developed by her director of clinical services and training, Melissa Petrillo. In January of 2022, Ms. Mecum expanded her services via New Beginnings Group Practice LLC. The sister clinic was established to provide employees with a place to grow once they are licensed, as well as extend services to meet the needs of the community in both the private and public sectors.
Having also been certified as a court-appointed special advocate, Ms. Mecum’s next goal is to establish a free drop-in center called Heart2Heart. This center will provide therapeutic services and support to adolescents who 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 of her former clients, but also remind 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 past and her experiences, especially as a mother and grandmother. She notes that her children and grandchildren have 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.
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. Additionally, New Beginnings Wellness Center was voted as the Best of Worchester Behavioral Health Clinic by the Worcester Award Program for six consecutive years and was honored in the Business Hall of Fame in 2023. 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.