PROVIDENCE, RI – October 20, 2023 – Rhode Island children and families will now have expanded access to critical mental health services thanks to a $4,000,000, four-year grant to improve and advance the capacity of Family Service of Rhode Island’s (FSRI) Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Rhode Islanders are facing a mental health crisis in the wake of COVID, and our state does not currently have the capacity to serve those in need. Nearly 20% of adults and 33% of children in Rhode Island could not access the mental health treatment that they needed in 2022, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and RI Kids Count. FSRI’s CCBHC, through this additional improvement and advancement grant, intends to address those needs and provide increased access to life-saving mental health care.
Nationally, CCBHCs currently serve an estimated 1.5 million people and are a critical part of providing care for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders. As a CCBHC, FSRI currently provides this care to those facing the greatest inequities in our region, including low-income people of color, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and veterans and their families, regardless of insurance coverage, residence or ability to pay.
“This funding is an investment in the well-being of our community for years to come. Equitable access to mental health care and substance use supports are vital to our mission, and we are looking forward to expanding access to these services to our neighbors in need,” says FSRI’s Chief Executive Officer, Margaret Holland McDuff.
FSRI seeks to expand their CCBHC’s capacity to offer 24/7 access to community-based behavioral health services, specifically enhancing services to Transition-Aged Youth (TAY) to reduce hospitalizations and suicide risk. “We hope that this grant will make it easier for community members to get the care they need,” said Sarah Kelly-Palmer, Vice President of FSRI’s Healing Division. FSRI plans to modify our office design and treatment rooms to ensure the space is accessible and trauma-informed.
Additionally, FSRI’s CCBHC expansion is prioritizing behavioral healthcare access for individuals who are monolingual Spanish speaking by conducting targeted outreach to these communities in Providence and expanding our bilingual clinical team. “We are very focused on equity. In a time when access to care is such a barrier, these dollars will allow us to reach more clients in need,” says Sarah Kelly-Palmer.
This award comes from SAMHSA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This grant is part of SAMHSA’s nationwide effort to make investments in funding a number of programs and organizations focused on mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatments for marginalized populations. FSRI has a long partnership with SAMHSA. Since 2009, FSRI has served as a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a collaborative network funded by SAMHSA that focuses on improving the quality of care provided to children who have experienced traumatic events.
FSRI’s partnerships were critical to this award, including the RI Congressional delegation, who are champions for the Ocean State. FSRI is deeply grateful to be able to bring this $4M investment to RI to expand mental health care and wellness for those in need. “We see this [mental health crisis] as an equity issue and are very grateful to partner with fine organizations like The Providence Center and CODAC to be part of the solution,” says Margaret Holland McDuff. “This award will truly change the lives of many living in Providence that are struggling with equitable access to mental and behavioral health care.”