Rhode Islanders now have 24 hour triage for mental health services

Erica Clark – Assistant News Editor

Rhode Island’s first Behavioral Health Link Triage and Call Center is now open 24 hours a day for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

BH Link opened their center and hotline this past Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 a.m. Located at 975 Waterman Ave in East Providence, this is not a hospital or a rehabilitation center, but rather a center with small individual rooms with recliners. It’s designed for patients to stay there no longer than 23 hours.

BH will employ an estimated 50 people, including certified counselors, registered nurses, psychiatrists, peer specialists and phone screeners. This triage is designed so those dealing with mental health issues don’t have to wait hours in an emergency room. This will provide immediate attention to behavioral healthcare in a community based setting, 24/7.

The stated purpose of BH Link is to ensure stability, provide to individuals who need ongoing care and to reduce the use of hospital-based services.

Jim Ryczek, who is the CEO of Horizon Healthcare Partners stated,  “Most people will be stabilized and then moved on either to a higher level of care in hospitals or the adult-acute stabilization units or sent home if they’re stabilized or into the community for referrals.” This gives first responders the capability to have their patients assessed immediately.

  Ryczek said, “First responders will seek out people either through calls with the 911 system, or encounter them on the streets in Providence or anywhere else, assess what’s going on and call us and say, ‘Can we bring them in for assessment and treatment?’”

BH Link will be offering appointments and drop-ins for immediate attention. The license provider, Community Care Alliance, accepts all insurance providers, and those without insurance will not be charged for services.