New Behavioral Health Non-Profit Launched

JohnCarl McGrady •

Nantucket has a new behavioral health non-profit. Community Solutions for Behavioral Health, the new organization, was announced Tuesday by The Nantucket Behavioral Health Initiative, a leadership committee formed in 2021 to redesign the island’s behavioral healthcare system and improve communication between the various groups involved in behavioral healthcare on island.

Community Solutions will not provide patient services, instead functioning as an independent organization designed to facilitate collaboration and encourage the expansion of the existing system, much the same role filled by the Nantucket Behavioral Health Initiative in recent years.

“We have learned a lot over the past two years about what can be accomplished when we work collaboratively,” Jason Bridges, Executive Director of Fairwinds, said in a press release. “Taking this next step will ensure that we have a sustainable system for addressing issues that are bigger than any individual organization can solve.”

In that spirit of collaboration, the board of directors for the new nonprofit will include representatives from Fairwinds, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, The Community Foundation for Nantucket, Nantucket Public Schools, the Town of Nantucket, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Cape Cod and the Islands, as well as an independent therapist and a community representative.

“The town has been an advocate for some time for greater collaboration to address the community’s biggest health and human services challenges,” Town Manager Libby Gibson said in a press release, “the level of engagement on this initiative has been impressive and we are looking forward to the next phase of this public/private partnership.”

The Nantucket Behavioral Health Initiative has already taken some significant steps to address the numerous gaps it identified in the island’s behavioral healthcare system, including unifying Nantucket’s system for responding to mental health crises by having Fairwinds designated as a Community Behavioral Health Center by the state. They believe that behavioral healthcare on the island has improved since 2021 and that the next step to filling the remaining gaps is forming Community Solutions.

The start-up funds for Community Solutions were provided by the Community Foundation for Nantucket, Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and the Peter and Elizabeth Tower Foundation.

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