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


The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Block Island

NAMI Block Island is the new name for the Mental Health Task Force. Now affiliated with NAMI Rhode Island and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, NAMI Block Island is able to provide more programs for islanders, and donations can be tax deductible. The Mental Health Task Force began just over four years ago in the wake of the tragic death of a resident with mental illness who could not receive services on island. As NAMI Block Island, our purposes continue to be the same: to work to bring mental health services to the island, to educate residents about mental illness, and to provide support for families of persons with mental illness.

We have been able to accomplish several significant things:

  • We offer free telemedicine conferences with psychiatrists at Butler Hospital and the Brown University medical school. This year we have arranged more than 60 appointments.
  • We offer face-to-face conferences with a therapist from South Shore Center available on island for the first time ever. We expect more partnerships with this agency.
  • Each year we plan a variety of talks and discussion groups. In previous years we have held public programs on neuroscience, depression, bipolar illness, attachment and parenting, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction.
  • We have sponsored Mental Health First Aid, a 12-hour class on how to respond to a person in crisis.

We work to create more openness about mental illness on the island. We will soon offer a support group for persons who deal with mental illness in a child, parent, spouse, or sibling. We welcome inquiries, keep in touch. Look out for our program information posters and bulletins listed in the BI Times and on the BI Bulletin Board.

Recovery is a Journey

It may not mean returning to the same life as before the onset of a mental illness. However, with services tailored to their needs, many people can significantly reduce the impact of their illness and live satisfying lives. Recovery is a process. It needs patience.

One of the biggest impediments to recovery, wellness and return to a working world is social STIGMA

We look forward to a day when openness replaces shame and secrecy, when the signs of illness are seen with sympathy. This is doubly important as with effective and timely care, relapses can often be prevented.

If you would like to become a member of NAMI Block Island and help us in our work, call Steve Hollaway at 401-536-4609.

If you know of someone who wants an appointment to speak with a psychiatrist or therapist [telemedicine or face-to-face] call Tracy Fredericks 207-229-6349.

An anonymous donor has offered to match gifts made to NAMI BI this year. You can help provide services and support on Block Island with a donation to NAMI Block Island, PO Box 508, BI RI 02807. If you give $100, we will receive $200 to provide services. To operate we need a minimum of $12,000 annually. All gifts are fully tax deductible.