November 2022

In This Issue:
  • Gratitude and Mental Health
  • Food and Mood! An interview with Dr. Michael Greger
  • MHARI In Action: Patient Privacy
  • CCBHCs Are Coming to Rhode Island! Guest Contributor Dawn Allen
  • Applications Open for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Internship Stipend Awards
  • Increasing Access for Multilingual Communities: Latino Policy Inst. with the Latino Mental Health Network of RI to host panel 'Addressing the Mental Health Pipeline'
  • With Gratitude...To the Organizers & Sponsors of October's Tennis Tournament
  • Requesting Your Input!
  • Trainings for Mental Health Professionals
  • Calling All Providers: OHIC's Administrative Simplification Workgroup Needs Your Input
  • Join Our Team!
Gratitude and Mental Health
Understanding how gratitude can improve our lives gives deeper appreciation for what it should truly mean to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The simple act of expressing gratitude has been shown to positively impact important areas in a person’s life including relationships and connectedness, emotional well-being, and physical health.

Gratitude magnifies positive emotions by helping us to appreciate the value in something; thus gaining more benefit from it. Gratitude helps block toxic, negative emotions such as envy, resentment, and regret — emotions that can destroy happiness. And, gratitude fosters resiliency and promotes self-worth. Gratitude can have positive effects on physical health too. Studies suggest that people who express gratitude often have fewer physical symptoms, less pain, and more energy and vitality.

And so, as we approach Thanksgiving, we at MHARI celebrate and express our gratitude for each of you for your support. We send our best wishes to you for a sense of thankfulness and gratitude to carry you throughout the year.
Food and Mood!
In addition to gratitude, there are many other factors that affect one’s mental health: genetics, trauma history, sleep, social connection, life circumstances, chronic stress, and nutrition.

Wait! Does food really affect our mood? Yes! In fact, a new field of study called nutritional psychiatry examines the effects of dietary patterns and nutrients on the development and treatment of mental health challenges. The connection between food and mood makes perfect sense when we understand that some foods cause inflammation, and inflammation can cause depression.

Watch this fast-paced and interesting conversation between physician Dr. Michael Greger and Laurie-Marie. Dr. Greger is a sought-after lecturer and has presented at the Conference on World Affairs and the World Bank, testified before Congress, and was invited as an expert witness in Oprah Winfrey’s defense in the infamous “meat defamation” trial. He is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine.

For the latest in nutrition research delivered in easy to understand videos, blog posts, and podcasts brought to you by Dr. Michael Greger, visit Learn about the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island at
MHARI In Action!
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CCBHCs Are Coming to Rhode Island!

By Dawn Allen, Director of Special Projects
Thrive Behavioral Health

Rhode Island is embarking on a transformation of the behavioral health system, adopting the highly effective Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model. What does that mean for providers and consumers of mental health and substance use disorder treatment?

CCBHCs offer providers an opportunity to assess the needs of their communities and provide high quality mental health and substance use disorder services to all community members regardless of their ability to pay. In return, the provider is given a cost-based reimbursement, from Medicaid, for providing a comprehensive range of services to meet the complex needs of the community.
For the past five years, CCBHCs have been growing throughout the country either through a federal demonstration project or federal grants awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). CCBHCs have proven to increase access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, improve care, reduce recidivism through partnerships with law enforcement and courts, reduce emergency department visits, and prevent hospital re-admissions.

According to the CCBHC Impact Report, conducted by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in May 2021, CCBHCs reported the following:

  • CCBHCs are serving an average of 17% more people
  • Wait times for getting into treatment have drastically decreased with 50% of CCBHC providing same-day access, 84% seeing clients within one week, and 93% seeing clients within 10 days (average wait times prior to CCBHC implementation was 48 days)
  • An average of 117 new staff were hired at each CCBHC demonstration and staff retention has increased
  • Access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) increased, now offered by 89% of CCBHCs, up from 56% who offered MAT prior to CCBHC implementation
  • 91% of CCBHCs are engaged in a partnership with hospitals and first responders to provide crisis response in the community
  • 95% of clinics are engaged in partnerships with law enforcement, jails and courts to reduce incarceration and prevent recidivism
  • CCBHCs have increased care to minority groups and have helped reduce health disparities
This past June marked a turning point in Rhode Island for behavioral health. The General Assembly passed the state budget which included $30 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be invested in building the infrastructure of CCBHCs. In addition, during this current year, the state and providers will be working together to design a sustainable CCBHC model which will be funded in the next fiscal year budget. 

Rhode Island’s behavioral health system has struggled for far too long to meet the needs of Rhode Islanders. This legislation is a start towards building a system that is accessible, eliminates treatment barriers, fills treatment gaps, provides high quality services, while building a sustainable workforce. A recent community needs assessment conducted by Thrive Behavioral Health found that 43% of Rhode Islanders thought there was something wrong in terms of their mental health and 50% thought their children needed mental health care. Of respondents, 67% stated they either did not know how to access treatment, the wait list was too long or treatment was not affordable. The pandemic made mental health difficulties more noticeable and people are struggling. Now is the time to invest in the mental wellbeing of all Rhode Islanders.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Applications Open!

The Mental Health Association of Rhode Island (MHARI) aims to help increase the availability of mental health providers from diverse backgrounds in Rhode Island by offering two internship stipends of $7,500 to Rhode Island College graduate students, one each in the School of Social Work and the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.

Supporting today’s students will diversify tomorrow’s mental health professionals, thus increasing access to treatment and services for under-represented groups. Statistics show, “Paid internships are 52% more likely to result in a full-time job offer than unpaid internships” (Boskamp, 2022). It also shows that diverse students have a hard time obtaining internships.

We encourage eligible students to apply for the internship stipend because we know that it can be difficult working full-time and going to school full-time and that a stipend can help students focus on their internship by reducing the stress and worry of financial obligations.
Deadline to apply is November 18, 2022
Internships will be awarded annually
Questions? Email them to Eunice David at
Increasing Access For
Multilingual Communities

On November 15th, 6pm at RI College (Gaige Hall), the Latino Policy Institute in partnership with the Latino Mental Health Network of RI will host a panel titled: Mental Health in RI: Addressing the Mental Health Pipeline.
Experts from different sectors will discuss barriers that make it difficult to train and retain a workforce that can meet Rhode Islanders’ diverse mental health needs, specifically within the Latino and multilingual communities.

With Gratitude...
for tennis tournament
sponsors and organizers!
Ace Sponsor

Advantage Sponsor

Love Sponsor
Betsy Brenner
Special thanks to Dave’s Marketplace and Seven Stars Bakery for
in-kind donations. And, deep gratitude to MHARI Board Member Terry Charles, who organized the event and made it a success.
Thank you, Terry! 
Requesting Your Input...

What do you think about RI’s behavioral health system?

The RI Dept. of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH) is seeking YOUR input. They want to hear from patients, clinicians and family members of people seeking mental health and/or substance use disorder services. Please tell BHDDH about your experience. Your feedback will help the state identify gaps in our continuum of care. The survey ends on January 15, 2023. Click here to take the survey. 
Calling All Professionals!

OHIC’s Administrative Simplification Work Group needs your input

Our healthcare system is complicated. This Fall, the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) will reconvene the Administrative Simplification Task Force, a diverse group of stakeholders, to develop processes, standards and guidelines to streamline healthcare administration. This year's focus will be on prior authorizations. The Task Force will gather input and make recommendations on insurers’ prior authorization requirements and processes. To learn more, visit OHIC. 

The meetings are open to the public. See details below to participate. Contact Courtney Miner to be added to the meeting list. 

Upcoming meetings:
  • November 15th
  • December 13th
Location: State of Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 73-1, Cranston, RI 02920-4407
Trainings for mental health professionals!
The Substance Use Mental Health Leadership Council (SUMHLC) offers a number of useful trainings for providers. Click here for a listing of training opportunities available, and check back periodically as new classes are added. 
Work with us! We are seeking a full-time Development Manager. 
The position is largely remote, with occasional in-person meetings/events.
To apply, send a cover letter, resume and one writing sample to as soon as possible.
The Mission of the
Mental Health Association of RI (MHARI) is to promote and nourish mental health through advocacy, education, and policy development.

Our website is filled with resources to help those living with mental health challenges. Please feel free to visit the site as often as you need. Your shares of relevant pages on your social media could offer just the help that someone needs. Thank You!
The MHARI Team
Laurie-Marie Pisciotta
Executive Director
Karen Malcolm
Project Manager, RI Mental Health Parity Initiative
Eunice David
Bridging the Divide: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Mental Healthcare
Program Coordinator
The Mental Health Association of RI (MHARI) is a private, 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is 100% funded by grants and donations.
Won't you consider supporting MHARI today?