Mayor Elorza Signs Proclamation Declaring May “Mental Health Awareness Month” at Providence Safe Station
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3), Director of Providence’s Healthy Communities Office Laurie Moise Sears, Director of Acute Care at The Providence Center Jacqueline Mancini Geer, LMHC, CRC, QMHP, Providence Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Zachariah Kenyon, Providence Fire Department Assistant Chief of Administration Kevin Dolan and Providence Police Department Major Kevin Lanni today announced the City of Providence has selected The Providence Center to implement the City’s behavioral health crisis response program.
As the selected provider for the Providence Alternative Integrated Response and Emergency Diversion (PAIRED) initiative, The Providence Center will provide clinicians to expand the City’s existing co-response efforts to include the fire department and increase the City’s capacity to provide mental health guidance and intervention when individuals dial 9-1-1.
“The City is committed to providing better services for people experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis, and this rings especially true as we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “The Providence Center has demonstrated they are committed and knowledgeable partners in this work, and I am greatly looking forward to expanding the work we have done on this program.”
The Providence Center was selected through a request for proposals process that was announced in March 2022 and approved by the City’s Board of Contract and Supply on May 9, 2022.
“In July of 2021, The Providence Center was honored to be chosen to work with the City and other community stakeholders in the effort to reimagine behavioral health crisis response. We are even more excited now to have been chosen for the implementation of our collective vision,” said Jacqueline Mancini Geer, LMHC, CRC, QMHP, Director of Acute Care at The Providence Center. “As leaders in community-based behavioral healthcare, it is our promise to work with the City’s Office of Healthy Communities, Public Safety Department, community partners and residents to ensure the most appropriate behavioral health response to those in need of emergency mental health and substance abuse treatment. We aim to ensure equitable access to quality care that fosters physical as well as psychological safety for all.”
The Providence Center’s team will join two Healthy Communities Office staff members dedicated to the implementation of the program: Silaphone Nhongvongsouthy, the Behavioral Health Program Manager, and Rachel Ferrara, the program’s Data and Evaluation Manager. In addition, members from the Providence Fire Department and emergency medical services teams have already begun preparing for the program’s launch, including attending crisis intervention team training.
“This is critical work for members of our community who need additional support, and the Healthy Communities Office is ready and excited to continue our partnership with The Providence Center,” said Laurie Moise Sears, Director of the Healthy Communities Office.
In addition, Mayor Elorza was joined by members of the African American Ambassadors Mental Wellness sub-group and the Mayor’s Coalition on Behavioral Health to sign a proclamation declaring May as “Mental Health Awareness Month,” which has been observed in May nationally since 1949.
Today’s announcement took place at the Providence Fire Department Branch Avenue station, a Providence Safe Station. All twelve of Providence’s fire stations participate in the Providence Safe Stations program, where individuals experiencing substance use disorder can be connected to treatment support and services. There is no cost to access Providence Safe Stations and services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The Providence Fire Department has long recognized the challenges facing our community when it comes to mental and behavioral health, especially involving substance use,” said Providence Fire Department Deputy Assistant Chief Zachariah Kenyon. “Through our Safe Stations program, we are committed to connecting individuals with recovery resources and supports, and we now look forward to expanding our on-the-ground supports when responding to calls for assistance.”
The Healthy Communities Office (HCO) is the City’s lead agency for health policy, health promotion and substance use disorder prevention. The HCO works to ensure that Providence residents have equitable access to the resources they need to lead healthy lives.
To learn more about Providence Safe Stations, visit https://pvdsafestations.com/.