Block Island mental health group
The Mental Health Task Force met Friday, March 7, to discuss finances and the current challenges they face. Case Manager Tracy Fredericks and President Steve Hollaway told The Block Island Times that a challenge of the group remains one of confidentiality. In such a small community, prospective clients or patients may think maintaining confidentiality is a difficult task, and “they assume the stigma is so great that their stock would fall if anyone found out,” Holloway said. The Mental Health Task Force is brainstorming and working on outreach programs to help people understand the nature of mental illness, “that it’s an illness and not a weakness,” Fredericks said. “We’re trying to figure out what we can do to change that fear,” Fredericks told the Times.
As Hollaway put it, “We’re mainly here for people who can’t make it to the mainland to see a doctor, or for people who just don’t want to spend all day traveling to see someone.” There was only one case they know of a client expressing discomfort seeing a doctor on Block Island through the Mental Health Task Force, for fear of others becoming aware of it, but “it’s a conversation we’ve been having for the last few months or so,” Hollaway said.