Mental Health, Mental Illness, on Block Island

advocating for services and support for those who are ill and education for mental health to all on Block Island

Agenda/ Minutes File July 2020 – Jun 2021

 The agenda and minutes are added here to keep a record available that is separate from the personal computer of the Secretary. A link to this file is added to the Annual report in each year.

NAMI BI Notes of Board Meeting, September 8th, 2020.                     

Zoom meeting, present: Jim Hinthorn, Kristin Baumann, Pat Tengwall, Beth Gaffett Tengwall, Socha Cohen, Elspeth Crawford, Will Young, Kyra Ernst, Alison Warfel, Gloria Redlich, Jill Seppa.

Apologies: Tracy Fredericks

JH opened the meeting at 8:31am and read the Mission Statement: NAMI Block Island is a nonprofit organization whose purposes are to advocate for mental health services being brought to the island, to enable education about mental illness and wellness in the community and to join others in supporting the families of persons with mental illness.

Minutes of August 11th, 2020 Meeting, accepted.

President’s Report: JH informed us of an email received from a NAMI college graduate Eugenie Kim, and said other items in his report are built in to the Agenda.

Treasurer’s Report: sent by email, an informal report. The current checking account balance is $21,172.44. Since our last meeting on 8/1, we received $200.00 from individual contributions (one was a memorial gift for Kelsey Gallant). There was one expenditure: – the $39.00 monthly payment to Community Software Solutions on August 2.

Case Manager’s Report: As TF was not present, there was no case manager report. The promotion of the Telepsych services for Children and Adolescents cannot be moved forward without TF’s conversation with BI school, this has not yet happened as far as we know. The first four items of Old business have nothing to report: feedback on funding from Roosa Fund?; 5 Year Strategic Plan Committee- KB, JS, PT, WY; Landowner List- WY, KB, JH; Contribution Report- PT, WY   The Informational Post cards have been delivered to the Med Center & Library. There are more – see suggestions for use below following the tragedy of a recent suicide.   New Business 2021 May Conference Planning: topic, Crisis Intervention, Committee for 2021 (KB, SC, AW, and KE. EC suggested that planning should begin now for a hybrid conference, same speakers who could be pre-recorded, for video or live presentation in the library, whichever was possible next May. Also as hybrid, depending on possible, there could be both physical and virtual attendees. As this requires technological skill EC further suggested that the committee explore locals who have the skills and pay them to create the recordings and necessary arrangements. It is a learning curve for everyone and it would be good to involve the young people in our community who might do the work. [EC suggestions Jake, Andre Miller, grandsons of SC and GR – think of more please]. The cost can be covered by our present bank account even if we do not get grants, though it is likely these can be obtained for such a specific project.   In relation to the conference JH and KE both said that Dr. Warcup would be a good person to involve, and to keep informed of NAMI BI activities generally. Others agreed and the planning committee will carry that and the hybrid planning forward.   Family Support: SC, BT, GR the family support trained facilitators had met with EC on Zoom to discuss the possibility of virtual meetings where EC could be the technical operator. They had decided that the group did not feel ethically able to manage the sensitive nature of encounters in virtual space, so that NAMI BI will not host a Family Support Group at this time. They do meet with another BI resident in an informal virtual group, which is safe as they already know each other, but because it is not open to anyone in the community it cannot be called a NAMI Family Support Group.   SC had attended the virtual training of NAMI RI “Family to Family” and she explained that the difference between it and Family Support was that Family to Family was mainly educational, offering materials and information that could help. She has obtained permission from Beth Lamarr at NAMI RI to share items from the materials [with attribution]. It was agreed that SC would regularly share these selections with the community on the Bulletin Board [BIBB], creating a title like “Did you know?” for the subject line and the attribution to NAMI BI and RI within the content, so that people would open up to read.   Fundraising Appeal for 2020: JH, B and WY will meet and propose a strategy to present at the October meeting of NAMI BI Board. WY thought that without a Strategic Plan the previously discussed approach to Washington Trust for a grant was unlikely to be possible before this year’s deadline in November.   NAMI BI response to COVID -19: KB has resumed the COVID-19  communications to BIBB. EC reported that Coffee Chats had been held fortnightly on Saturday mornings, and would continue. She informally facilitates the discussions to enable hearing and sharing of BI concerns and activities whatever they might be, as far as possible developing emotionally reflective rather than complaining attitudes in the conversations, as the first is conducive to mental health while the latter is not. EC belongs to an international group Climate Psychology Alliance and brings that perspective as one of her own concerns. It is shared by the others, as are the mopeds and the masks etc and huge sympathy for the EMT service this summer. AS JH commented, BI has had a Wild West summer.   EC then spoke of a possible initiative to bring a virtual community together discussing Mental Health issues more directly. She proposed a virtual form of the previous summer’s successful library TED talks and discussions. Using BIBB, participants could be asked to pre-watch a TED or other short video, and then meet virtually once monthly to join in comment and discussion.   This led to lively and very valuable conversation around “What are we doing as an organization?”. JS proposed ideas for current stressors or “a topic of the month” like climate suicide so we came across as NAMI BI as well as offering education and help. She also suggested using another avenue of contact, social media, say by creating a private Facebook group. KB reported that the Instagram group had over 100 followers. As many of the Board do not know the detail of how social media works, JS said she could bring a demonstration of a private FB group to the next Board meeting, and EC says that Zoom screen sharing can be arranged to enable that. This was agreed, JS said it should take maybe 10/15 minutes plus comment time, and she will prepare it. The Board appreciates this. EC also thinks it is a great idea, but warned that to make it happen well, someone would be required to take on its regular implementation and management, including moderation of posts. She was very clear that she could not do this but hoped someone would be willing.     Succession planning: JH repeated his intention to stand down next June. He wants all to think about succession planning and also to think of community members who might be encouraged to join NAMI BI. He has spoken to Nancy Greenaway. GR said she would be very willing to join JH in a group to think about how to draw others in. EC confirmed the formal information she had given in a recent email when SC had been approached by someone unsure of how to support NAMIBI: the Board welcomes new people to our meetings, but as the Bylaws state, they cannot become Board Directors, nor vote, until after formal nomination and approval at the next AGM.       NAMI BI response to the recent suicide: JH reported the news of a young seasonal worker’s suicide at PPP. All agreed that NAMI BI should make a response of sympathy and support to those affected. JH agreed to send a message to BIBB and would include the contacts that people in stress can make. There was discussion regarding action NAMI BI might take towards prevention, as JH said be more aggressive, word change to assertive, pro-active. The early June employer/employee program that was cancelled this year because of COVID should be run next year, virtually, or hybrid, or physical as can be at that time. Even though the season is nearly over, it was agreed to act NOW, and make use of the remaining postcards. JH will bring them to the Library and all will collect a number to deliver to businesses, stating the specific area of Town or New Harbor etc. they can cover. KB will note this process. All on island agreed to do this.   The meeting adjourned at 9.55 AM.   The Next Zoom Meeting Date is Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 8.30 AM.   Submitted 09/11/2020, Elspeth Crawford  

NAMI BI Notes of Board Meeting, August 11th, 2020.              

Zoom meeting, present: Jim Hinthorn, Kristin Baumann, Pat Tengwall, Beth Gaffett Tengwall, Socha Cohen, Elspeth Crawford, Will Young, Kyra Ernst.

Apologies: Gloria Redlich, Jill Seppa, Alison Warfel, Tracy Fredericks

JH opened the meeting at 8:31am and read the Mission Statement: NAMI Block Island is a nonprofit organization whose purposes are to advocate for mental health services being brought to the island, to enable education about mental illness and wellness in the community and to join others in supporting the families of persons with mental illness.

Minutes of July 9, 2020 Meeting, accepted with minor amendments, typo and apology from Jill Seppa.

President’s Report: JH had communicated with Dr. Warcup re his weekly COVID bulletin, suggesting the regular inclusion of information about the mental and behavioral health services available to people on BI. 

Treasurer’s Report, sent by email, no income since last month, only outgoing the regular payment $39 to Community Software Solutions [database]

As TF was not able to be present, there was no case manager report. The promotion of the Telepsych services for Children and Adolescents cannot be moved forward without TF’s conversation with BI school. As school is not yet open, and COVID-19 makes opening problematic, this item has to wait.  For the same reason, requesting funding previously available from the Roosa Fund has also to be put on hold. Other old business, the Strategic Plan, the creation of the landowner list and reports re contributions are without progress in the present uncertain circumstances.   It was however noted that the family of Martha Smith, via obituary in BI Times, had requested that in lieu of flowers donations should be made to the BI Rescue Squad or to NAMI BI. KB remarked that this is, as far as we know, the first time such a request for donation of this kind to NAMI BI has been made, and it may reflect the way in which PR work with the community has been carried out and raised the NAMI BI profile.   PR work, discussed at various times during the meeting, will continue. KB will continue with regular postings, and EC continues with Zoom Coffee Chat. JH had spoken with Lars Trodson of BI Times re PR, again he is supportive if we send material. WY had more of the postcards that had been produced and posted to residents earlier, so some had already been sent to Vin Carlone, and it was agreed that others would be delivered to the various public spaces, starting with the Library. JH would also take cards to other places, such as the Medical Center.   JH reported that he had sent the NAMI BI Annual report to Dr. Warcup, Ken Lacoste [First Warden], Molly Fitzpatrick [Town Clerk for circulation], and Lars trodson. He said he would be meeting with the new Town Manager, Maryanne Crawford [no relation to EC] and would give the report to her also. It was suggested that other island organizations, such as churches and Police, might also be given a copy. As Vin Carlone had recently commented on Mental Health and the effects of pandemic restrictions, to respond by passing on our report would be a non-critical engagement.   JH then asked that we look again at the 2021 May Conference Planning and Crisis Intervention. Discussion suggested that although the work done for 2020 would allow the idea and speakers etc to be quite easily resurrected for 2021, the way so many things had moved opened up the possibility of thinking of a different format, maybe a hybrid format, part physical presence, or part online activity. Many of us have now taken part in both live online groups, and also accessed recordings of activities. When NAMI national held their conference online, some members of NAMI BI Board had attended some of the events via Zoom, and all the events are now available as recordings. The discussion about conference format led to more general thoughts such as regular hosting of Zoom meetings, the online equivalent of the work done in previous summers via physical TED talk presentation and discussion. This needs thinking through, and all are asked to bring ideas. We can be creative, even build up a bank of recorded events!   The online, physical or hybrid way of meeting was also part of discussion about other items on the Agenda. The Kiley Hall online presentation at the library had been excellent but was not recorded. We will need help with technical learning. The Family Support Group is not meeting as an open support group, although its members continue to support each other. SC and BT will discuss with GR the possibility of being more online open if technical back-up and help can be obtained from NAMI RI. Another possibility is joining and then promoting an RI online group, again to be discussed with RI. SC and BT agreed to meet and report back.   KE gave a brief report of her perspective from the Medical Center, stressing that it was her perspective, not a Medical Center official view, of COVID-19 and its effects on BI. Unfortunately the numbers are not something we can take security in. The RI R-number is greater than 1, so cases are still rising within the state, and almost certainly also on BI. JH commented on the major concerns of non-compliance and visitors who are non-engaged, and obviously careless “on holiday”. This echoed what EC has learnt from Coffee Chat concerns. These are real concerns about health, and real losses experienced such as not being able to host grandchildren in one’s own home, only see them at social distance. All were aware of the accidental death that had occurred on the island. The families of those young visitors must be devastated, and BI emergency services, responding time and again daily, are very over-stretched. There is a rising concern for mental health, so the COVID-19 induced concerns and the concerns raised by EC of effects of climate crisis on mental health is something that should remain on the agenda for NAMI BI to work out how it can respond. All were also asked to think about how or when we proceed with a fundraising appeal.   JH ended the meeting with a repeat that he intended to resign from the presidency at the AGM of June 2021, so the matter of succession planning needs to be considered. He would still be part of activities, for instance, if by next summer a Fun Run was a viable option he would again organize and manage it. . JH was very clear that his reasons for resigning were about self-awareness of his own strengths and limitations, and his understanding that a group such as ours was healthy when “new blood” came to the fore. Although developing a Strategic Plan is not a useful way forward when external circumstances are so very uncertain, there is nevertheless and need for NAMI BI to think about the kind of direction it will pursue in the next few years. During the discussion, there were only six members of the Board present as both PT and KE had to leave early for work commitments. We all know that the summer season is happening, that there are often clashes of commitment, and we all know that BI has not yet got good internet access, so for various real reasons our last few meetings have had low attendance and several apologies. The day of meeting has been changed to Tuesday to try to avoid some of the clashes, but may still be difficult. Everyone is encouraged to try to attend the next meeting, as the direction in which NAMI BI moves forward will be stronger and more in touch with our community with input from all of us.   The Next Zoom Meeting Date is September 8, 2020, 8.30 AM BI time. [We know PT has to leave early, his input is offered via frequent contact.] The link will be sent just before.   Submitted 08/12/2020, Elspeth Crawford

NAMI-BI Agenda August 11, 2020 Virtual Zoom Meeting, 8:30 AM

Call to Order

Mission Statement

Minutes of July 9, 2020 Meeting

President’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Case Manager’s Report

Old Business

  • Launch of Telepsych services for Adolescents- TF conversation with school?  PT feedback on funding from Roosa Fund?
  • 5 Year Strategic Plan Committee- KB, JS, PT, WY
  • Landowner List- WY, KB, JH
  • Contribution Report- PT, WY
  • PR Work with BI Times & Community Organizations- All

New Business

  • 2021 May Conference Planning (topic, Crisis Intervention Team)- Committee for 2021 (KB, SC, AW, and KE)
  • CIT Subcommittee Report on Tasks- KE, AW, KB,  and TF
  • Josh’s Yellow Benches Proposal (Suicide Prevention Awareness)- JH
  • Fundraising Appeal for 2020- All
  • COVID-19- BI Status & Communications resumed- All and KB for any reaction from community?
  • Climate change and its effect on mental health- EC
  • Annual Report- sent to Molly F. (TNS), Lars, and Dr. Warcup
  • Kiley Hall Presentation on August 4th– KB
  • Family Support Group Meetings sponsored by NAMI-BI- on hold?
  • Information to Police Chief- JH
  • Dialing for Dollars or Let’s talk succession planning- All
  • Big “Thank You” to our International Host- EC

Adjournment- Next Zoom Meeting Date – September 8, 2020

NAMI BI Notes of Board Meeting, July 9, 2020.           

Zoom meeting, present: Jim Hinthorn, Kristin Baumann, Pat Tengwall, Beth Gaffett Tengwall, Socha Cohen, Elspeth Crawford Will Young, Gloria Redlich.

Apologies: Alison Warfel, Kyra Ernst, Tracy Fredericks, Jill Seppa

JH opened the meeting at 8:37am and read the Mission Statement

NAMI Block Island is a nonprofit organization whose purposes are to advocate for mental health services being brought to the island, to enable education about mental illness and wellness in the community and to join others in supporting the families of persons with mental illness.

Minutes of June 18th, 2020 Meeting and the Annual meeting were approved with amendments. EC informed the Board that all files are now available online. Items of Presidents report are in the Agenda.

  Treasurer’s Report: PT had submitted three files “FY 2020 End of year Treasurer Report”, “FY 2020 Profit & Loss” and “P&L COMPARISON FY 2020 & 2019”. Discussion agreed that the main differences were due to the Case Manager relocation at the Medical Center and the necessary adjustments to both income and expenditure created. It was also noted that in both the years 2019 and 2020, there had been no mailing for fundraising. Pt was thanked and the reports approved. Case Manager’s Report: not given, TF absent.   Launch of Telepsych services for Adolescents:  PT gave feedback from the Roosa Fund saying that as the previous grant application had been to pay for the extra time needed for case management, now Medical Center responsibility, NAMIBI should re-apply for this for materials to support the launch. EC commented that not only was there little promotion of the new adolescent and child service, the BIHS website had no information provided about any of the Mental Health Services. There is no mention under any heading of the avaiablility of Telepsychiatry for adults or young people, no mention of the services of Peter Oppenheimer, psychologist or any of the Counsellors to whom referrals can be made. EC had emailed AW about it but not received a reply and did recognize that the Medical Center had many commitments at the moment due to the pandemic. JH said he would speak to AW.   5 Year Strategic Plan Committee: KB, JS, PT, WY – JH asked that this committee meet as the matter should come to the fore this year. The final conflict of Interest form from GR is in the mail.   Data Base Report: WY asked that this matter be separated into the Landowners list for mailing which needs attention and the wider question of Fundraising. The data-base is up and running, and can add donors as and when necessary.   PR Work with BI Times: The Board congratulated PT on his new job of manager with the BI Times. EC asked that promotional work be considered more widely, to include BIHS, the Chamber Calendar etc. JH responded that this item could be PR work with Community Organizations. This is connected with need for promotional material.   2021 May Conference Planning cancelled this year because of COVID -19 restrictions would be about “crisis” in 2021. It was clarified that the conference planning committee was KB, SC, AW and KE, and there was overlap with the Crisis Intervention Training committee KB, AW, KE and TF. That committee had not reported. SC suggested that because of COVID-19 there might be a need for more of a hybrid plan as neither group had met recently. EC suggested that one difficulty since restrictions had affected everyone was that the groups, like the Strategic Planning group, did not have a convenor so the meetings did not get set up. JH said that he would talk with these groups about the best way to move forward.   Concerning Josh’s yellow benches this is Suicide Prevention Awareness, needs to stay on agenda..   Fundraising Appeal for 2020: JH said he would take the lead and put a plan together. WY and KB would join him and report back to the Board.   COVID-19: JH reported that Police Chief Vin Carlone had made comments at a recent Town Council meeting about mental health. KB had responded at the time. Considering what more NAMI BI could be doing it was agreed that KB would continue with BIBB postings, and the Instagram posts that now had 64 followers, would also keep going. She would refer to the NAMI national help available, and other sources. EC will continue the Zoom Chat meetings.   Climate change: EC reported that COVID was not the only crisis. While COVID seemed to have more deleterious effect on older people, not just in being more dangerous physically but also in separation from social needs, the climate crisis appeared to affect children and young people, and that their anxieties were a realistic response to the realization that their future was threatened. EC belongs to a group Climate Psychology Alliance with international membership, and one of the problems they reported was that the effects of climate emergency on young people could be misidentified as the young person’s problem rather than their valid response to a planetary problem. This is a more hidden crisis, where the pandemic is a very public one. The Board agreed to keep this in mind.   Annual Report 2019 -2020 was accepted, with thanks and congratulations to EC for producing it. JH thought it should be sent to various groups in the community such as Town Council, who do not really know what NAMI BI does. The Board agreed and suggested it be sent with a covering letter to the Town Council members, Town Clerk Molly Fitzpatrick (so that it would be inserted in the council record as a letter received), new Town Manager Maryanne Crawford, our donors, the Roosa Fund, BIHS, BI Times and BI school superintendent. JH will do this. EC will put it on the website and send to the friends Google group.   KB asked that social services funding be brought the fore, especially in the present atmosphere nationally where “defunding police” was being talked about. She pointed out one Bi example – that a police person might be in the school at lunchtimes, but the school did not even have a school nurse. Better Social Services funding should be part of our advocacy. EC and GR agreed.   The Dates of Future meetings were discussed as KE & AW have a conflict with BIMC staff meetings on Thursdays, and their input to NAMI BI is important. It was noted that PT might not be able to attend because of his new post at BI Times, or would have to leave early to begin his work at 9am. This would apply whatever day was chosen. JH suggested the second Tuesday of each month, so it was agreed:   The next meeting (Zoom or in person) will be August 11, 2020 at 8.30am.   The  meeting adjourned at 9:47 am.

Submitted 07/09/2020, Elspeth Crawford

NAMI-BI Agenda July 9, 2020 Virtual Zoom Meeting, 8:30 AM

Call to Order

Mission Statement

Minutes of June18th Regular and Annual 2020 Meeting

President’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Case Manager’s Report

Old Business

  • Launch of Telepsych services for Adolescents- TF conversation with school?  PT feedback on funding from Roosa Fund?
  • 5 Year Strategic Plan Committee- KB, JS, PT, WY
  • Conflict of Interest Forms- was mailed to Gloria
  • Data Base Report- WY, KB, JH
  • PR Work with BI Times- KB, WY

New Business

  • 2021 May Conference Planning (topic, Crisis Intervention Team)- Committee for 2021
  • CIT Subcommittee Report on Tasks- KE, AW, KB, TF & Peter Preiser
  • Josh’s Yellow Benches Proposal (Suicide Prevention Awareness)- JH
  • Fundraising Appeal for 2020- All
  • COVID-19- what more should we be doing from a mental health perspective- Carlone’s comments at recent TC meeting
  • Climate change and its effect on mental health- EC
  • Annual Report- All, comments
  • Dates of Future meetings- KE & AW conflict with BIMC staff meetings on Thursdays

Adjournment- Next Meeting Date (Zoom or in person)- August 13, 2020 subject to change