Mental Health Association opens annex in Milford

By Elle Wood
Posted 6/11/24

The Mental Health Association in Delaware has extended its services south, adding a location at the Milford Wellness Center.

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.

Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Mental Health Association opens annex in Milford


MILFORD — The Mental Health Association in Delaware has extended its services south, adding a location at the Milford Wellness Center.

The Jim Lafferty Memorial Annex bears the name of the agency’s former executive director and can be found at 21 W. Clarke Ave.

It joins a variety of medical services in what was once Milford Memorial Hospital.

“We are a statewide agency but only operated out of Wilmington until (now),” said Jennifer Smolowitz, assistant director of the association, upon the site’s opening Friday.

“Being down here will help us expand our presence, get to know other community organizations that we could collaborate with and really expand the behavioral health reach.”

The annex is the first step toward this goal. Ms. Smolowitz said that Milford is the perfect location because it is farther south — though not as far as the beaches — and close enough to Dover and other Kent County areas.

When the Mental Health Association learned about the opening in the Milford Wellness Village, its leaders knew they could not pass up the opportunity.

“Once we came and saw the space, we knew we had to be a part of it,” Ms. Smolowitz added.

The satellite office will include about five to seven administration and staff  at a time.

Its opening bolsters the mission of the association, which includes education, support and advocacy about mental health.

Mr. Lafferty, who headed the group 22 years, died of cancer in September 2023. Following his retirement in 2016, then-Gov. Jack Markell awarded him the Order of the First State.

“He was a huge advocate for mental health, for those with mental illness and those impacted by mental illness, whether it’s family members, friends or supporters,” Ms. Smolowitz noted. “He played a huge role, and so many people in Delaware knew him, so we only saw it fitting to continue his legacy by naming the office after him.”

Some Lafferty family members were in attendance for the annex’s opening last week, with his wife, Janet Lafferty, cutting the ribbon.

“This is just such a wonderful recognition for Jim,” she said. “I’m sure he’s smiling down right now and saying, ‘You shouldn’t have done that, but I am glad you did.’”

She said she is honored that his work is recognized across the state and hopes that the Milford establishment continues her late husband’s contribution.

“I think he helped bring mental health into the forefront,” Ms. Lafferty said. “We talk so much about physical health and, as a society, consider mental health to be at the same importance, and I think that is one of the things he was most proud of.”

To learn more, visit

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.