Reed, Whitehouse secure grants to expand mental health access in Newport

SEN. Jack Reed, right, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, second from left, secured $201,000 in federal funding for the Newport Mental Health Center to expand mental health services for youth and elderly residents. / COURTESY JACK REED AND SHELDON WHITEHOUSE

NEWPORT – Dr. Jack Reed and Dr. Sheldon Whitehouse announced that the Newport Mental Health Center will receive $201,000 in federal funding to help youth and senior residents with mental health needs.

“I want to thank Senators Reid and Whitehouse for standing up for the needs of people with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Jamie Lehane, CEO and President of the Newport Mental Health Center. “These funds to Newport Mental Health address two of the largest unmet needs for mental health services in Newport County: children and our seniors. These age groups experience the fastest growing demand for our services.”

Each of the senators secured a federal mandate to expand access to mental health. Reed has secured $100,000 to expand free mental health services for young adults in Newport County through a program that will strengthen the Newport Mental Health Center’s school-based and office-based treatment services and behavioral health interventions. The center will also add mobile crisis services for 150 students a year in four local school districts.

“I will continue to invest in Rhode Island’s mental health infrastructure, including research, providers, and school and community resources,” Reed said. “This is an investment in the well-being of our children. Many children and adolescents go untreated and end up in crisis in the emergency room. We need to do a better job of communication [youths] for mental health support, and federal funding is part of that effort.

“Access to needed mental health services can change the trajectory of children’s lives and lead to positive outcomes,” she added. “We must be active. We need to make sure people feel connected and can get the help they need, and that means prioritizing mental health care and letting people know that mental health checks are a positive, healthy thing. Whether someone has been diagnosed with cancer or a mental illness, they need access to health care providers who can effectively treat them and people who will support them on their road to recovery.”

The Whitehouse provided $101,000 for a program called Mental Health Care for Seniors to meet growing demand. Through this program, Newport Mental Health Center will increase outreach to better identify and engage seniors with substance use and mental health issues, and provide evidence-based, age-appropriate treatment to at-risk seniors in their home or community. .

“The epidemic has taken a toll on Rhode Islanders dealing with mental health and substance use issues, especially those on the long, honest road to recovery,” Whitehouse said. “I am pleased to provide funding to support the important work of the Newport County Community Mental Health Center to expand outreach to seniors who are at risk of substance use and mental health issues.”

Claudia Ciappa is a PBN staff writer. You can reach him at Chiappa@PBN.com.

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