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


THIS IS A PAGE FOR OFFICIAL STUFF: How we are organized and accountable.

Our full name:

The Block Island Substance Abuse Prevention and Wellness Coalition

The Town of New Shoreham has authorized the creation of the Coalition and acts as the fiduciary agent. The Coalition is its own entity, independent of the municipal government, with the power to control the programs and funds from the Rhode Island Substance Abuse Prevention Act and any other State, Federal or Private funding. We are funded according to the rules and regulations for Substance Abuse Prevention Organizations in Rhode Island [see under Finance in the menu above].

The coalition membership is comprised of its employees and voluntary directors from all sectors of our community who share a passion for supporting and enhancing wellness. The coalition currently has two employees – Jill Seppa is the Wellness Coalition Coordinator and Grant Supervisor, Kathy Mulshine is Assistant Grant Supervisor. The Directors and Employees are held accountable by the By-Laws.

Everything we do is tied to a [research based] system of Risk & Protective Factors.

Risk factors are those factors that exist within a community that increase the possibility of drug or alcohol abuse in an environment. Some examples of risk factors (and there are hundreds)

  1. Easy youth access-this means that a community has easy youth access to a substance which can exist for many reasons such as there are local package stores who do not take underage carding laws seriously.
  2. Below average middle school math grades – evidence shows this is a risk factor that can lead to early use (due to resulting low self-esteem).

Local risk factors are identified every 3/4 years through consultancy and community needs assessment. The Needs Assessment is a public document that is registered and available at the Town Hall.

Protective Factors are those factors that exist within a community that increase the resistance to drug and alcohol use in an environment. Some examples of protective factors are (and there are hundreds)

  1. Strong Parenting Bond – nurturing, safe and committed relationships between parent and child substantially reduces the possibility of underage drug and alcohol use.
  2. Positive School Environment – a non-shaming school system which focuses on the positive attributes of individual children reduces the possibility of underage drug and alcohol use.

The Wellness Coordinator has responsibility to create an annual program plan within the budget provided, based on current local community needs, report that annual plan to the State and implement the plan throughout the year.

The Directors offer their expertise, their local knowledge and their time in every way they are able to do, from background research that informs policy to assistance with execution of current program tasks. They attend monthly meetings (all months except July and August).