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

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

NEWPORT – Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., announced that Newport Mental Health Center will receive $201,000 in federal funding to assist youths and older adult residents with mental health needs.

“I want to thank Senators Reed and Whitehouse for championing the needs of people with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Jamie Lehane, CEO and president of Newport Mental Health Center. “These funds provided to Newport Mental Health address two of the largest unmet needs for mental health services in Newport County, those of children and our older adults. These age groups are experiencing the fastest-growing demand for our services.”

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

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

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“Accessing needed mental health services can change the trajectory of children’s lives and lead to positive outcomes,” he added. “We need to be proactive. We need to ensure people feel connected and can get the help they need and that means prioritizing mental health care and letting folks know that mental health check-ins are a positive, healthy thing to do.  Whether someone is diagnosed with cancer or a mental illness, they need access to health providers who can effectively treat them and people who will support their path to recovery.”

Whitehouse secured $101,000 for a project called Mental Health Care for Older Adults to Meet Growing Demand. Through this program, Newport Mental Health Center will increase outreach activities to better identify and engage older adults with substance use and mental health issues, and to provide evidence-based, age-appropriate treatment to at-risk seniors at their home or in their community.

“The pandemic took a heavy toll on Rhode Islanders dealing with mental health and substance use issues, especially those on the long, noble road of recovery,” Whitehouse said. “I am pleased to secure funding to support the important work of the Newport County Community Mental Health Center in expanding outreach to older adults at risk of substance use and mental health challenges.”

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com. 

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