AN AFFILIATE OF MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA | 401-726-2285

INTEGRATION FOR ALL

INTEGRATION FOR ALL

For too long in Rhode Island, people with serious mental illness; physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities; older adults and youth have been needlessly institutionalized or isolated. Many have been educated in segregated schools and classrooms, lost their children when they could parent, spent their days in day programs instead of being gainfully employed, or have been arrested and incarcerated for behavior related to their mental illness or cognitive disability, especially people of color.  Others are homeless, continually cycling between emergency room departments, prison and shelters. In fact, Rhode Island’s Homeless Management and Information System (RI-HMIS) reports that people with behavioral health and/or physical disabilities account for 63% of our homeless population.

RHODE ISLAND NEEDS & DESERVES AN OLMSTEAD PLAN

Olmstead refers to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1999 landmark ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which found that segregation of people with disabilities is discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The court decided that states have a legal obligation to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the opportunity to live, work, and receive services in the community in the least restrictive setting permitted by their disabilities. The Court’s decision also noted that compliance with the ADA could be achieved if a state could show that it had a “comprehensive and effectively working plan” for moving people out of restrictive settings into the community. So far, 26 states have created “Olmstead Plans,” and 18 states have published alternative strategies. Seven states (RI, FL, TN, ID, NM, SD, and DC) have neither.

WHAT WOULD AN OLMSTEAD PLAN DO FOR RHODE ISLANDERS?

It would assess the strengths and weaknesses of our State’s ability to meet the needs of populations at risk of institutionalization. It would set goals for the development of housing options and community supports. It would help the State to coordinate and secure services and resources. And it would compel the State to put permanent funding strategies in place.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Sign up for the Mental Health Association of RI’s Action Alerts.

 

Send us a video of yourself explaining what an Olmstead Plan would do for you or your loved one.
We will share your stories with elected officials and post them on our website and social media pages.

Videos must not be longer than 12 seconds in total. Email your video to: video@mhari.org by November 7.

 

Contact The Governor. Ask her to issue an Executive Order establishing an Olmstead Plan. Explain why it would help you or loved one.

 

Tips on Communicating with Your Elected Officials

  1. Write, call or schedule a meeting with your elected officials.
  2. Provide your full name and contact information so they can follow up with you.
  3. Share your story. Explain what an Olmstead Plan would do for your or your loved one. Speaking from personal experience builds empathy, increases understanding, decreases stigma, and humanizes the issue.
  4. Limit your call or verbal testimony to 2 minutes.
  5. If you write a letter, limit it to one or two pages.
  6. Be professional, courteous, positive, direct, clear, concise, factual, credible, and specific.

 

Register for our next “Integration For All” Town Hall on November 17 to discuss how other states have established, funded and implemented their plans.

 

Additional Information:

A Crisis is the Perfect Time to Chart a New Course

Americans With Disabilities Act

Watch “The Criminalization of Mental Illness”

Watch “Integration For All: Why RI Needs an Olmstead Plan”

Watch Integration For All: How to Establish, Fund and Implement an Olmstead Plan