The Mental Health Association of Rhode Island is the “watchdog” of the mental health community. We listen to and speak for the needs of consumers and providers. Through systems change, we promote mental health, increase consumers’ access to treatment and services, and improve the lives of people touched by mental illness.
We sit on the Governor’s Council of Behavioral Health, the Health Insurance Advisory Council, and the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force in Providence to work for positive change in Rhode Island. We are also a constant presence at the State House, advocating for the passage of laws to promote mental health and end discrimination.
Our Rhode Island Parity Initiative educates consumers and providers about their rights to mental healthcare treatment through health insurance. We work with the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner, insurers, community based organizations, providers, and consumers to ensure that mental health parity laws are followed. Learn more.
MHARI leads the Person Centered Community Integration Committee, which is a public workgroup overseen by the Governor’s Council on Behavioral Health. This committee advocates for a working Olmstead Plan Commission, which would ensure that Individuals living with mental illness and other disabilities have access to permanent supportive housing, employment opportunities, and transportation. Learn more here.
We advocate for prisoners’ access to mental healthcare while incarcerated and upon discharge. We support crisis intervention training for police and other first responders.
We promote children’s mental health by delivering educational talks in schools. We hope to expand our reach to families in the coming months.
During our annual event, May is Mental Health Month, we deliver an address called “State of the Mental Healthcare System,” which outlines Rhode Island’s strengths and weaknesses and calls on the State’s leadership to strengthen our system.
We work to end stigma by sharing our own stories of mental health struggles. We call out discrimination in all its forms. We educate the public on stigmatizing language and stereotypes.
Many people with mental health challenges suffer alone in isolation. Meaningful connection is integral for healing and recovery, and joy is our birthright. The Joy + Connection Club is MHARI’s real life social network. We are cultivating a community centered around joy, fun, and connection through monthly social gatherings. See our Calendar page for the next meeting.
“Change comes from power, and power comes from organizing.” – Saul Alinsky
Mental Health Voters League is MHARI’s organizing arm. This grassroots movement of mental health patients, family members, and providers serves as the “people power” behind our agenda. Through relationship-building and interest-based negotiation, we work with decision-makers to collaboratively find solutions to problems. When collaboration fails, and the stakes are high, we use community organizing to affect systemic change. To join the Mental Health Voters League, sign up to become a volunteer and answer “yes” on Question #16.