I’m very grateful to Westerly Town Council member Mary Scialabba for hosting a thoughtful Mental Health Forum on May 20th. We heard from Town Manager Shawn Lacey, who was also Westerly’s police chief, and he testified that the vast majority of the calls they responded to are mental-health related. We also heard from members of the community who’ve gone through mental health struggles as well as teachers who witness these struggles in their students or their students’ families. 

We also heard from Wood River Health’s Alison Croke. Although Wood River Health is in Hope Valley, they treat a lot of patients from Westerly and have a small operation in Westerly. With the Hope Valley expansion, they hope to increase their mental health offerings. As a state, we’ve invested in community-based mental health infrastructure and Wood River Health is a grant recipient.

As issues concerning mental health continue to rise, I will continue to push bills that will ensure that services are available in our community (for example, school-based mental health for students). Both of these bills passed in the House and Senate and became law this June.
● A bill I co-sponsored: S-0869 AN ACT RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES — MEDICAL ASSISTANCE — THE PROMOTING ACCESS TO INCREASED MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR ALL STUDENTS ACT – Directs that services provided by school social workers and certified school psychologists would be included as health care-related services eligible for federal Medicaid reimbursement
● H-5881 AN ACT RELATING TO STATE AFFAIRS AND GOVERNMENT — POLICE OFFICERS – COMMISSION ON STANDARDS AND TRAINING (passed by Senate) – Requires police training on recognizing the possible existence of mental health disorders and substance use disorders and requires certified crisis intervention team training for all officers