Thrive Hosts Legislative Breakfast to Discuss Community Mental Health Crisis and Upcoming Legislation to Combat It
Picture above: (From Left): Senator Michael McCaffrey; Dan Kubas-Meyer, President & CEO of Thrive Behavioral Health; Representative Joseph Solomon, Jr.
Warwick, RI (April 8, 2022): Thrive Behavioral Health invited Rhode Island State Representatives and Senators for breakfast on Friday, April 8th, to discuss the community’s mental health needs, the behavioral health workforce challenges, and the proposed legislation that can address these issues. The event took place at Thrive’s Hillsgrove Clubhouse located at 70 Minnesota Avenue in Warwick, which houses its program that provides people living with mental illness an employment-focused, recovery-oriented community where they can achieve social, education and vocational goals.
In attendance at the event were Senator Michael McCaffrey (District 29, Warwick), Representative Joseph Solomon, Jr. (District 22, Warwick), Representative Carlos Tobon (District 58, Pawtucket, and Thrive Board Member) and Representative Camille Vella-Wilkinson (District 21, Warwick) as well as multiple members of Thrive’s Board of Directors and Executive Management Team.
Dan Kubas-Meyer, President and CEO, of Thrive states, “We have a dire situation here in Rhode Island right now when it comes to the behavioral health industry. The need is skyrocketing, yet our workforce is shrinking due to low reimbursement rates to pay our behavioral healthcare staff. For the first time in our 46 year history, Thrive’s Youth and Family program has had to stop accepting referrals from the community because our waiting list is so long and we do not have enough staff to serve additional clients. There is a solution though – to pass this upcoming legislation which addresses Rhode Island’s behavioral health infrastructure, adoption of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model, and increased reimbursement rates to support our workforce.”
Barbara Lamoureux, VP of Youth and Family Services programs adds, “Rhode Island may not notice that we are here, but they will notice when we are gone.”
Pictured below: (From Left) Jean Gavigan, Thrive Board Member and Executive Director, Northeast State Sign Association; Fred Reinhardt, Thrive Board Member and President/CEO, Greenwood Credit Union; Representative Camille Vella-Wilkinson
Alarming statistics regarding the state of Rhode Islanders’ mental health were shared with the legislators to prove the need to address this mental health crisis and pass this upcoming legislation. Initial results of a Needs Assessment survey conducted by Thrive of 500 Rhode Islanders conducted in February and March of this year provided the following insights:
- 43% of RI Residents have felt there was something wrong in terms of their own mental well-being in the past year.
- 60% of RI residents have felt there was something wrong or were unsure if their child needed mental healthcare.
- When asked if their mental health needs were met, 34% of participants answered “No”.
- When asked if they felt there are sufficient community resources to meet their mental health needs, 44% of respondents answered “No”, and 25% answered “Sometimes”.
Statistics were also provided documenting the impact of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). Thrive Behavioral Health is one of the first Nationally Certified Behavioral Health Clinics in Rhode Island. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing reported in their CCBHC Impact Reports in May and October of 2021 that the impacts of CCBHCs on the community included:
- Decreased wait times for care
- Improved collaboration with criminal justice agencies
- Growth in the number of veterans served
- Decreased percentages of clients treated at Emergency Departments or Admitted to Inpatient Care
- Decreased all-cause readmission rates
The following proposed legislation addresses the needs of Rhode Island’s current mental health crisis.
H7858, S2469: Adoption and sustainability of Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers (CCBHC) Statewide
H7627: Behavioral health infrastructure enhancement which will authorize the use of American Rescue Fund Act (ARPA) dollars ($75 million) to establish a community mental health services revolving fund, to help fund the construction and renovation of facilities that provide mental health services.
H7180, S2311: Rate reform for behavioral health services which requires Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to provide recommendations for rate setting/ongoing reviews of reimbursements of social service programs.
Thrive encourages Rhode Island constituents to reach out to their legislators regarding these bills. An easy link to determine one’s legislators and instantly send them an email can be found at:
Pictured Below: Thrive Board Members and Executive Management Staff mingle at the Legislative Breakfast held at Thrive’s Hillsgrove Clubhouse, 70 Minnesota Avenue, Warwick.
Thrive Behavioral Health has provided services in Rhode Island since 1976. It offers comprehensive behavioral healthcare programs and services annually to over 3,700 children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Thrive is committed to improving its clients’ quality of life through an extensive range of community-based and outpatient mental health, substance use, educational, and housing services that are recovery-oriented, trauma-informed, and family-focused. Thrive is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Thrive is a federally Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic and is a founding member of Horizon Healthcare Partners (HHP), comprised of three Community Mental Health Centers (Community Care Alliance, Newport Mental Health, and Thrive), CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, as well as Tides Family Services, Child & Family Services and The Galilee Mission. For more information on its programs and services, visit ThriveBHRI.org or follow it on social media @ThriveBHRI.