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Health: Local Health Center Set To Expand, Helping More Physically & Mentally

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- An oasis of health in North Philadelphia is expanding.  From sick visits to yoga classes it's a popular place, that's getting some much needed new space.

3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl takes you inside.

Getting healthy through art is one of the many programs that will be expanding at Drexel's 11th Street Health Center in North Philadelphia.

"It has helped me to be calm," said Stacie Wilkins, who says the clinic has become a refuge.  She says it's a place where she can work through some difficult emotions, having struggled with substance abuse and the murder of her 20-year-old son.

"When I do this artwork some of it is expressing my pain that I have been going through from my son's death.  I can get it out in a beautiful way," said Stacie.

Finding a healthy, productive outlet for heartache with the Mural Arts Program at the clinic.  It's one of many that address mental health issues, along with primary care.

"You can't separate mind and the body, most places do.  Unfortunately you go one place for behavioral health and one place for physical health.  Here we see it all as one.  It's inseparable," said Patricia Gerrity, Director of the 11th Street Health Center.  Also music, and access to mammograms.  It's holistic medicine.

"We have a full dental program. We have a fitness center. We have a nutritionist.  People learn how. You just don't get told okay change your diet. You learn how to change your diet," said Gerrity.

And change your life.  For Stacie instead of being swallowed by despair, 11th Street has helped turn her life around.

"I love 11th Street. They offer so much. The art program has really helped me to get out some of those feelings that I have in the inside that sometimes you don't know how to express in words, so you do it in a drawing," said Stacie.

The expansion of the Health Center will double its space, so they'll be able to treat more people, with additional  programs.

Most clients come from the surrounding public housing developments, but the center is open to everyone.

For more information, visit the following link:

Drexel's 11th Street Center Expansion Information-

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