The Block Island Times
http://block-island.villagesoup.com/p/1088754

NAMI BI discusses collaboration with B.I. School

By Gloria S. Redlich | Dec 17, 2013

In an update supplementing a recent Mental Health Task Force meeting, Caseworker Tracy Fredericks described a discussion she’s had with Block Island School Co-Principal Kristine Monje to collaborate on “possibilities between the school and the National Alliance of Mental Illness Block Island chapter.” (NAMI BI)

Fredericks noted that Monje identified family programming and counseling as among the greatest needs. Fredericks suggested that Tom Arcangeli of the South Shore Mental Health Center might make more options for family therapy available. Monje “stressed the need for mentoring and internship programs,” Fredericks said, especially for graduates who don’t go on to college. A number of leadership group programs that were offered in the past were no longer available, Fredericks added, because of cuts in funding.

Fredericks pointed out that she and Monje thought making mental health care and assistance available to the island families and children is a priority. Fredericks added that she was making plans to meet with other school staff, including social worker Summer Riker, health teacher Victoria Carson and special education director Mark Hawk — in order “to brainstorm some new programs.”

Fredericks explained that the telemedicine program she is coordinating is going well, with islanders still seeing physicians at Butler Hospital in Providence on a weekly basis. “Tom Arcangeli is also coming out every other week to do direct counseling,” she said. Because of the boat schedule, he is only available on Fridays. She said she can be contacted at (207) 229-6349.

Reviewing the Dec. 4 meeting, Rev. Stephen Hollaway, chair of NAMI BI said that Block Island Health Services (BIHS) Executive Director Barbara Baldwin had been present as the medical center representative. He noted that she “indicated that she will continue in that role.”

Hollaway said that Baldwin explained that a computer purchased by a donation from Michael Brownstein was not being used at the medical center, since telemedicine patients were being accommodated at a location in the Harbor Church. She said BIHS was giving ownership of the computer to the local task force and would also be sending a check to the group for whatever balance remained of the Brownstein gift.

Discussion followed on how best to use the computer and whether or not the computer might be used by the island school for student conferences with Brown University staff or with the school psychologist when he is on the mainland.

Hollaway said that the group was in the process of refining bylaws and also looking into launching a family-to-family program as soon as a trained facilitator can be found.

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