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New Mental Health Initiative to Launch on Nantucket in January 2023

Nantucket Cottage Hospital and Fairwinds are joining efforts and expertise to offer a new and valuable service to our island community. On January 3, 2023, they will launch a new integrated system of community-wide mental health crisis response. The collaboration, which has been in development for months, grew out of the work of the Nantucket Community Behavioral Health Initiative, which identified the fragmented system of mental health crisis response to be one of the key gaps in its 2021 assessment of behavioral health systems on Nantucket Island. 

As of midnight on January 3, the new island-wide mental health crisis number is 508-221-3315.  Fairwinds, which has been designated the Community Behavioral Health Center and Crisis Responder for Nantucket by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will respond to crisis calls 24/7 365 days a year.  In addition to addressing crisis calls in the community and in the schools, Fairwinds clinicians will provide crisis evaluations in the hospital emergency department and provide consultation for treatment of patients waiting for discharge to on-island outpatient services or transfer to an off-island in-patient facility.

“When the state came up with its new approach to community crisis response, we were well-positioned because we were already at the table working collaboratively to make it better,” said Amy Lee, President of Nantucket Cottage Hospital.  “When Fairwinds applied for and was selected to be the CBHC (Community Behavioral Health Center) for Nantucket – which was a big step and a huge commitment – it just made sense for the community for it to be one integrated system that we all commit to support.”

While the state’s guidelines and contracts only apply to Mass Health patients, the new system on Nantucket will be “payer blind,” giving every person access to the same system regardless of insurance status.  Patients who need in-patient care will get placement in an off-island facility through Mass General Brigham’s central access program, which provides a single team to manage all behavioral health inpatient placement throughout the MGB system and beyond.

Jason Bridges, Executive Director of Fairwinds, added “this collaboration between Fairwinds and the Nantucket Cottage Hospital will provide better care for those in crisis while significantly improving the overall behavioral health care for our island. Driving towards one integrated system with first responders, the schools, human services organizations, and the broader community will put people first and improve our overall level of care and well-being.”

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital and a member of the Mass General Brigham system. It is the only hospital on the island, which it has served since 1911. The hospital is resolute in its mission of working together with our community to achieve whole-person wellness through health and related services. Our vision is an island community that enjoys physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual wellness.

For more than half a century, Fairwinds has provided confidential, quality professional care to adults and youth on Nantucket who seek mental health and addiction services. Fairwinds is 501(c)3 community mental health clinic: all are welcome, regardless of ability to pay. 

The Nantucket Behavioral Health Initiative is a coalition of providers, community members, and key stakeholders dedicated to improving behavioral health and wellness for all residents of Nantucket Island.  The mission of the Nantucket Behavioral Health Coalition is to “collaborate to deliver an inclusive and interconnected system of prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery that helps our community get well and stay well.” 

Articles by Date from 2012