Rescue funds could rebuild RI’s broken mental health care


J. Clement Cicilline

J. Clement Cicilline is former CEO of the Newport County Community Mental Health Center. Contributing to this commentary are Thomas D. Romeo, former director of the Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals; Richard C. Antonelli, former CEO of South Shore Mental Health Center; Charles E. Maynard, former CEO of The Providence Center; and Richard H. Leclerc, former CEO of Gateway Healthcare.

Society’s need for mental health services has been extant since the beginning of civilization. But, it would take many years before even the most primitive care was available. Over time, people with mental illness would be sent to asylums, which sadly became “warehouses of humanity” that often resulted in the exacerbation of the illness.  

In the earlier years, Rhode Island was no better than other states, providing only marginal treatment to individuals with mental illness. It was either institutional care or languishing on the streets.

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