Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton (BID-Milton) recently donated $4,000 to the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MSAPC). The donation will go towards implementing a behavioral health telephone referral service in Milton for residents seeking help for themselves or others who may be struggling with mental health or substance misuse issues.
According to Laurie Stillman, director of MSAPC, the referral service, called “Interface,” is a program of William James College and is used by numerous municipalities throughout the state. The referral service is staffed by trained clinicians who conduct an assessment over the phone. Based on the caller’s specific needs, Interface clinicians will search their database of screened mental health and/or substance misuse outpatient counselors for a suitable match and provide a referral to a local provider.
“We often hear from town residents that they do not know where to turn to get help for either themselves or a loved one with a mental health or substance misuse problem,” said Caroline Kinsella, BSN, RN, director of the Milton Department of Health. “Based on the success of the Interface Program in other communities, we believe the program will be of great value to Milton residents and the schools.”
Ms. Kinsella and Ms. Stillman said they expect the Interface Program to be ready for use by Milton residents by May.
BID-Milton President and CEO, Rich Fernandez, emphasized the hospital’s commitment to helping to address the health priorities of the local area. The hospital undertook a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment in 2016 which showed that behavioral health problems and lack of treatment resources were a significant health problem in the greater Milton area.
“The need for additional education and treatment resources for behavioral health issues have been well documented,” said Mr. Fernandez. “The Interface Program will be a significant step forward in helping to address this public health problem in Milton.”
The $4,000 donation to the MSAPC was through BID-Milton’s Community Benefits Program. The hospital maintains a robust program which provides healthcare services and resources for uninsured or underinsured patients, community health screenings and education as well as programs to meet public health needs. Last year, BID-Milton provided more than $230,000 in community benefits to the Town of Milton and its residents.
MSAPC is also receiving funding for the Interface service from the Milton Public Schools Department, the Milton Health Department and the Milton Police Department.