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After 50 years with The Center, Cornell announces his retirement

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Cornell achieves a lengthy and distinguished career with The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester

Manchester, NH—Richard (Rik) Cornell, MSW, ACSW, LICSW, and Vice President of Community Relations and Development, has announced his retirement from The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester.  After a lengthy and distinguished career with just one organization, Cornell will finalize his work in May but will stay on as a part-time Clinician and Trainer.

Cornell started his career with The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (MHCGM) in 1973 as an undergraduate student and, from there, was promoted several times within the agency. After joining the Emergency Services/Crisis Intervention Team, he soon became active in the community by serving on the board of Manchester’s first women’s crisis center, The Women’s Crisis Shelter, while also working with men who were struggling with domestic violence. Cornell helped MHCGM to develop sheltered/supportive work environments, especially for those individuals with severe and persistent mental illness, and he helped to create and grow The Center’s volunteer program. At the program’s high point, Cornell managed over 140 volunteers, covered emergency shifts, and ran Domestic Violence Treatment groups. As his career progressed to the Child and Adolescent Treatment Team, Cornell pursued his MSW at Boston University School of Social Work, and soon-after accepted a position with Bedford Counseling Associates (BCA) -an MHCGM group-sponsored practice – where he eventually became Director.  In addition to administrative duties and promoting the growth of BCA, he maintained an active counseling practice and became a “go-to” counselor. Many of the individuals Cornell supervised became great therapists and leaders in both the greater Manchester area and other neighboring communities.

As Vice President for Community Relations and Development at MHCGM, Cornell helped to bring more awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness through hundreds of collaborations, trainings, radio interviews, TV shows, and other speaking engagements. Rik is a certified mental health first aid trainer and frequently presents to groups on topics such as trauma care and older adult mental health. Under Rik’s tenure as VP, The Center expanded the diversity and number of trainings offered to MHCGM staff as well as to the community at large while also overseeing the expansion of external funding sources to support uncompensated and underfunded programs offered at The Center.

Rik has been widely recognized for his contributions and work in the community throughout his career. In 2022, Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) honored Cornell with the Outstanding Career in Social Work Award. The consideration for the prestigious award acknowledges and honors a Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) graduate who, throughout their career (minimum of twenty years), has consistently demonstrated exceptional contributions to the profession and the community at large.

“It has been said that -we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  There is no doubt that Rik has made his life by giving and being of service to the patients and families he has worked with, the community he has brought awareness to and made a difference in, and his intentional focus on destigmatizing mental health, especially in the care of children and veterans. We are forever grateful and proud of his remarkable career, dedication, and immeasurable contributions.” said MHCGM President and CEO Patricia Carty.


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