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Bridging the Gaps Annual Conference

Registration is NOW OPEN for NAMI Rhode Island’s Annual Bridging the Gaps Conference
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Rhode Island College | Gaige Hall

NAMI Rhode Island’s Bridging the Gaps Annual Conference brings together heroes and allies in the mental health community. Discuss the issues side by side with consumers, family members, mental health professionals, advocates, legislators, volunteers and friends.

To register, visit:

Be sure to watch your email for updates as we get closer to the conference! 



KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  WILLIAM EMMET, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NAMI RI, “NAMI RI:  35 Years of Turning Challenges into Accomplishments”

ALSO FEATURED will be an update on the Governor’s Behavioral Health Plan, presented by Tom Coderre, Senior Advisor, Office of Governor Gina Raimondo





·      BH Link (Corinna Roy, BHDDH) is a new behavioral health facility designed to provide immediate assistance to a person in crisis by providing innovative crisis intervention services, and connecting people to ongoing treatment and care.  Learn more about the services BH Link can offer you, your loved ones and clientele.

·      Police Mental Health Response Teams (Maureen Gouveia & Warwick Police Department):  The Warwick Police Department Mental Health Response Team presents information on how officers and responders are trained, what to expect if the team responds to a call and more.

·      “Discrimination and Mental Health Parity:  Know Your Rights!  Parity is the Law” (Shamus Durac & Karen Malcolm):  Insurance companies are required to provide coverage for mental health, including substance use disorder services, at the same level they cover physical health services.  However, lack of mental health parity in insurance coverage is a form of discrimination that people with mental health and substance use disorders continue to experience.  This workshop will: inform attendees about existing parity law, guide attendees in spotting and responding to potential parity violations, provide tips and tools to help attendees for themselves or family members with insurers to obtain the mental health benefits they need.



·      “Refugees and Immigrants in Rhode Island:  the Asylum Experience for Unaccompanied Minors” (Anne Fortier & Dahaina Rodriguez, Dorcas International):  Refugees and asylum seekers are two specific types of immigrants in the United States.  This workshop will give a definition of a refugee versus an asylee, as well as an overview of the Refugee Resettlement Process as compared to that of Unaccompanied Minors, who are asylees.  It will then further discuss the trauma history of these populations, with a focus on the challenges faced by children and teens who seek asylum in the United States.

·      Family Story (David Sr. and Roseann Thatcher):  David Thatcher, Sr shares the story of his son’s mental illness and his family’s experience.

·      “We Ask Everyone:  Why your healthcare provider should know about your alcohol and drug use” (SBIRT Team):  This workshop will provide an overview of ways in which substance use may interfere with physical and mental health, describe the SBIRT process and evaluate outcomes from the RI SBIRT Project.

·      NAMI Smarts Advocacy Day Training (Beth Lamarre, NAMI RI):  This workshop will educate participants on the basics of telling your story to legislators – how to condense your story, how to target your message, and how to navigate an Advocacy Day at the State House.



·      “Improving Life Trajectories for Youth & Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Concerns” (Healthy Transitions Team):  This workshop will describe and evaluate outcomes for youth enrolled in the Healthy Transitions Program.  The Healthy Transitions Program, established in RI in 2015, addresses the needs of youth and young adults ages 16-25 with serious emotional disturbance, severe mental illness, and/or co-occurring substance use disorders.

·      Employee Assistance Programs (Judith Hoffman, Coastline EAP):  This workshop will discuss the services provided by Employee Assistance Programs and mental health/disability rights in the workplace.

·      “Addressing the Complex Physical, Behavioral, and Social Needs through Community Health Teams” (Linda Cabral, James Rajotte, Jamie Peiche, SBIRT team):  This session will describe the Community Health Team model, including partnerships in the community, roles on the team, how Community Health Teams incorporate Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)



·      Medicaid Reimbursement for Peer Services (Judith Fox, BHDDH):  This session will describe what is meant by Recovery Support Services, a brief history of the Peer Recovery Specialist workforce in RI, an overview of applying for Medicaid reimbursement for Peer Based Recovery Support Services and next steps.

·      “A Conversation for Families with Suicide & Suicidal Ideation” (Karen Hetzel & Kathleen Smith, RI College):  For those living with family members who have made suicide attempts, have persistent suicidal ideation or lost someone to suicide, it is difficult to manage the grief and myriad emotions that arise.  This workshop will utilize strategies to help family members assist loved ones (adolescents, adults and elders) and take care of themselves in the process.

·      “Recovery through Poetry in Motion” (Gabriella Torres-Steitz):  This workshop will discuss the meaning of poetry and its role in overall wellness, incorporating the Eight Dimensions of Wellness with an added Dimension for Creativity, and assist participants in creating poetry of their own.

·      “Health Coach for Me & Hillsgrove House” (Mark Maragnano & Hillsgrove House team):  Health Coach for Me, an interactive tech/mobile based software program, designed to assist individuals in their efforts to establish and maintain healthy lifestyles, was introduced as a pilot project at Hillsgrove House in 2018.  This session will present the findings of this successful project, share individual testimony of participant and discuss lessons learned.


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