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“It Is About What That Patient Feels.”

Alonzo Dukes is a good communicator and listener. Two important skills in his work as a Mental Health Technician at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center. He knows, from his own experience, what radical changes are needed for sustained recovery with behavioral health conditions.

The combination, Alonzo said, gives him confidence that his daily interactions at MiraVista with individuals hospitalized for mental health challenges are positive, and is hopeful that they will prove effective, too.

“Once I walk through the doors at MiraVista and go to the unit, it’s no longer about what’s going on in my life,” Alonzo said. “It is about what that patient feels, what they are going through and what I can do to help their recovery.”  He added, “In coming to MiraVista, people are looking for somewhere that is safe.”

“Active listening is so important in terms of not missing the opportunity to really hear what your patient is going through in life,” Alonzo said. “People don’t always feel safe, whether they are going through substance use or mental health issues. They may wall themselves off and not let other people in on their emotional struggles unless they feel comfortable and know they are going to be heard.”

The highlight of his day, he said, “is when I talk to patients and try to make a difference, sometimes sharing personal experiences to help them understand they are not alone and that the changes needed for a sustained recovery take time but there is help.”

“I listen to our patients and many of them listen to me and my reasons for answering the way I do,” Alonzo said. “I may see them at their worst when they first come through our doors, but then I see change and hope – even in those who need to come through our door several times – with treatment.”

He cited, asking a patient who wanted to end treatment early for a family event, how many hospitalizations were involved in his life due to the struggles he has gone through.

Alonzo then asked the patient “how important is it to be there for this one event as opposed to being there for many more family events,” Alonzo continued expressing to the patient. “You can rush out for one family event but if you haven’t taken care of the reason why you are here, you might miss more family events in the years to come.” Alonzo told the patient who was thinking over the justifications for leaving, “I just wanted to share some honest feedback with you so that you would have that information to think about before deciding. “ The patient listened and stayed.

Joel Doolin, Executive Vice President of MiraVista and TaraVista Behavioral Health Centers, praised the work done by Alonzo, as well as his colleagues.

“This type of one-on-one support and guidance is so important in the delivery of behavioral health care,” he said. “It is a crucial component of helping individuals return to meaningful and fulfilling lives in their community.”

“Meet Mira” was launched to showcase MiraVista staff, their dedication and expertise. Through its series, MiraVista introduces the talented and dedicated individuals who comprise its staff, providing insight into their roles, passions, and contributions to the community.

Doolin added, “Miravista is a trusted name in our community. Our commitment to serving the community and delivering exceptional care has always been at the core of our mission. With this new series, we aim to take transparency and engagement to a new level by introducing faces behind our treatment. Our community will have the opportunity to get to know the people who work tirelessly to make Miravista a place of excellence in healthcare. Through these profiles, you’ll discover the stories, motivations, and expertise of the individuals who ensure that Miravista continues to provide high quality, relevant treatment for mental health and substance use.”

To read profiles of additional MiraVista staff, please visit

MiraVista Behavioral Health Center opened in April of 2021 in Holyoke, Mass. MiraVista offers psychiatric care services for both adults and adolescents, as well as an array of recovery treatment programs including outpatient services such as substance use individual and group counseling, day and evening Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), court-ordered services, and outpatient Medication Supported Recovery and Massachusetts Impaired Driving programs.

MiraVista cares for thousands of individuals from across New England. MiraVista’s purpose is to provide effective, inspiring care for those challenged by mental health and substance use so they are empowered to lead fulfilling lives.