Brockton nursing home transformed into mental health center. Here's what you need to know.

BROCKTON – The shuttered Braemoor nursing home has officially been transformed into Brockton's new mental healthcare center.

On Sept. 14, Boston Medical Center (BMC) unveiled the Brockton Behavioral Health Center – an 82-bed in-patient mental health hospital that was first announced in July 2021. BMC staff invited community residents, as well as local and state leaders, to tour the new facility 34 North Pearl St. ahead of its official opening on Oct. 1.

"This is a beautiful building – aesthetically, architecturally, the landscaping. It's awesome. But when you walk through the doors, that's when the magic happens," said Mayor Robert Sullivan at last Wednesday's ribbon cutting event for the facility.

During the planning process, BMC held several community meetings in which nearby residents voiced concerns over the safety and security of the building. The building features a key-card locking system, and patients must submit an application and be screened and approved prior to being admitted to the hospital.

“We took their concerns seriously,” said Dr. Ryan Boxill, the chief behavioral health officer for BMC health systems. "This is a very secure facility."

Boxill said that BMC partnered with the local police and fire departments to ensure the safety of the local community. He also said that even concerns about the facility's brightness were taken into consideration.

“We needed to balance security and people’s humanity, and we’ve found that balance," Boxill said. “It really comes across as a high-end hotel.

Inside the facility

Each bedroom is complete with two twin beds, a high-tech bathroom and a colorful, soft-plastic desk and bookshelf. Each room is themed with a bright color. Doors are built to swing both ways to prevent patients blockading themselves in.

Sixty-two percent of the staff are residents from Brockton or its surrounding towns. The facility's Director of Psychiatry, Dr. David Henderson, is a Brockton native and Brockton High School graduate.

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The hospital incorporates state-of-the-art psychiatric care practices, from one-on-one counseling, to cognitive behavioral therapy and group therapy sessions in rooms filled with plush, gray seats.

Gov. Charlie Baker tours Boston Medical Center's new behavioral health center in Brockton during the grand opening Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.
Gov. Charlie Baker tours Boston Medical Center's new behavioral health center in Brockton during the grand opening Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.

Even the architecture – its pale yellow and blue exterior — and interior design focused on smooth, rounded edges are meant to provide a calming, nurturing feeling for patients.

The facility is the first in-patient mental health hospital in the country to boast a net zero carbon footprint, according to BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh. The building uses geothermal heating and cooling, and will add solar panels to the roof starting in the fall.

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Neighbors' concerns

Some residents of the surrounding neighborhood initially held concerns regarding the facility's security measures, but according to resident Paul Ware, most residents are now feeling neutral.

"It looks like BMC did a really good job of communicating with the residents and answer questions," he said.

"I think we got enough to give us some confidence that they're going to do a good job there."

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Gov. Charlie Baker attended the touring event, alongside Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders.

"It's in a part of the commonwealth where we could use the additional capacity on both the in-patient side and the substance-use disorder side," he said.

According to Boxill, Brockton needs roughly 125 in-patient beds for acute mental illnesses and 250 clinical stabilization services beds for patients struggling with substance use.

The facility's capacity is 56 beds for patients with acute mental illnesses and 26 beds for patients struggling with substance use disorders.

The facility is set to accept its first patient Oct. 1, and will be operating at full capacity by the end of the calendar year.

“I know that if I need anything from this facility, I can just knock on the door," Sullivan said.

Enterprise staff reporter Chris Butler can be reached by email at You can follow him on Twitter at @Chr1sButler. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.

This article originally appeared on The Enterprise: Brockton mental health: Boston Medical's center at Braemoor opens