The Kent Center News Archives 2005

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: December 29, 2005
Senator Walaska Presents Legislative Grant to The Kent Center’s Hillsgrove House
(Warwick, RI)On Thursday, December 29th, Senator William Walaska, (D-Warwick), presented a $1,000 legislative grant to The Kent Center’s Hillsgrove House, a clubhouse model of service that provides vocational and educational rehabilitation for adults facing behavioral health challenges. The grant will fund the purchase of new computer monitors, which will be used by clubhouse members who are working to attain employment and educational goals.

Photo (left to right): Jan Lorensen, Program Director, Hillsgrove House; Senator Walaska; Jean Callaway, clubhouse member; David S. Lauterbach, President/CEO, The Kent Center.

(Click on photo for larger view)

“Senator Walaska continues to be a wonderful champion for people with mental illness,” stated David Lauterbach, President & CEO of The Kent Center, “and we are so grateful for his understanding and his support of the programs and services that make a difference in their lives.”

Hillsgrove House is based on the internationally-certified clubhouse model of service, which strongly promotes the concept of membership, a sense of belonging and the right to self-determination for its members. Recent legislation, co-sponsored by Senator Walaska, will help to ensure funding for certified clubhouses in Rhode Island.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: December 16, 2005
Kent Center Appoints New Members to Board of Directors

Chad R. Bjorklund has joined the Board of Directors of The Kent Center, a community behavioral health organization, and will serve on its Finance and Pension committees. Bjorklund has been employed by Glover-Padula/Gencorp Insurance Group, Inc. as an Account Executive since early 2005. Previously, he was a Registered Representative for the Signator Financial Network where he provided long-term-care, disability, and life insurance planning for individuals and small businesses. Bjorklund is a graduate of Bryant University with a BS in Business Administration and a Finance Concentration and he is pursuing the CFP Designation.

Arlene McNulty has joined the Board of Directors of The Kent Center, a community behavioral health organization, and will serve on the Center’s Compeer Volunteer Program Advisory Committee. McNulty is President & CEO of the Chamber Education Foundation and its Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership. She joined the Foundation in 1993 as coordinator of the Feinstein/Warwick Mentor Program and was appointed President & CEO in July of 2004. She is a member of the National Mentoring Partnership’s States Caucus and the National Policy Council on Mentoring. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked in the banking field for 15 years. McNulty earned a degree in elementary education from Rhode Island College.

Janet M. Iovino has joined the Board of Directors of The Kent Center, a community behavioral health organization, and will serve on its Customer Service and Fundraising Committees. Since 2001, Iovino has held the position of Family Support Coordinator at The Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College. Iovino has also held positions in journalism, public relations and with not-for-profit organizations including the Humane Society of the United States and the Coalition to Approve the Open Space Act. Iovino also serves as a volunteer with organizations and committees including Kent County CASSP and is a gubernatorial appointee to the RI Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention. Iovino has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from The American University in Washington D.C.

Susan Chiariello, an attorney, has re-joined the Board of Directors of The Kent Center, a community behavioral health organization, and will serve on its Executive and Fundraising committees. Chiariello is the sole practitioner with a general civil private practice located in Warwick. Her areas of practice include predominantly family law; zoning, real estate, landlord/tenant; contract law; appellate work, and other assorted civil matters. She is a past attorney for the Rhode Island Legislative Council where she drafted legislation and legal opinions for the Rhode Island General Assembly. She attended the University of Rhode Island and the New England School of Law and is a member of the RI Bar Association, RI Federal District Bar, MA Bar Association and American Bar Association.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: October 25, 2005
Kent Center Honors Community and Business Leaders
In Celebration of the Community Spirit, awards were presented to Senators Stephen Alves and William Walaska; Cox Communications; Coastway Credit Union; and Chamber CEO Lauren Slocum

The Honorees: Lauren Slocum; David Lauterbach, President & CEO, The Kent Center; Senator Stephen Alves; Senator William Walaska; Stephen Tamborelli, Coastway Credit Union; John Wolfe, Cox Communications.

(Warwick, RI)In recognition of their efforts to improve the quality of life of people facing mental health and substance abuse challenges, and their overall commitment to the betterment of our Rhode Island community, The Kent Center honored community and business leaders at an awards breakfast on October 25th at 8:00 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. The Kent Center presented the following awards:

Outstanding Legislator Awards: Senator Stephen D. Alves (West Warwick) and Senator William A. Walaska (Warwick), co-recipients. This award is given in recognition of courage and leadership demonstrated in Rhode Island or on a national level that leads to a better quality of life for people struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Both Senators Alves and Walaska have consistently demonstrated their support for the mental health community and most recently co-sponsored legislation to ensure that funding for ICCD (International Center for Clubhouse Development) programs will become part of the Rhode Island community mental health network and that they will be reimbursed by Medicaid. ICCD programs such as Hillsgrove House in Warwick provide a unique approach to assisting people with attaining their educational and employment goals.

Community Partner Award: Coastway Credit Union; Stephen Tamborelli, Vice President, accepted. This award is given to an organization that supports the services and programs of The Kent Center and helps to advance its mission in the community. Coastway was honored because of their support of The Kent Center’s substance abuse treatment program for women. Through Coastway Cares, a non-profit charitable foundation formed by Coastway Credit Union and staffed with Coastway employee volunteers, a donation of $13,000 was made to provide transportation and childcare services in order to assist women in fully participating in their treatment programs.

Media Champion Award: Cox Communications; John Wolfe, Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, accepted. This award is given to a media outlet that helps to raise public awareness about the importance of mental health and substance abuse treatment, and about the work of The Kent Center. Cox Communications, with a nomination from Senator Walaska, selected The Kent Center as one of the West Bay’s leading non-profit organizations to participate in their Community Spotlight Program. The program included $25,000 worth of television and print advertisements about The Kent Center and the importance of seeking treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Eleanor Briggs Award: Lauren E.I. Slocum, President & CEO, the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce. This award is named in honor of Eleanor Briggs, a longstanding Kent Center volunteer, who shared The Kent Center mission of improving the quality of life in the community. The award is given to an individual who upholds this ideal. Lauren Slocum is a strong proponent of the principle that what’s good for business is good for the community and if it’s not good for the community it’s not good for business. Lauren’s community involvement has earned her this award. She is actively involved as a City of Warwick Board of Canvassers, participating in the Federal Emergency Management Training Centers Initiatives to assist individuals who are victims of disaster, and as part of “Imagine Workforce Inclusion” devoted to hiring employees with disabilities and helping employers expand their customer base and reaching additional markets. She has also worked closely with The Kent Center to help raise awareness within the business community about the importance of good mental health for employees.

A keynote address was given by Dr. M. Tracie Shea of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder clinic at the Providence VA Medical Center, and Professor of Psychiatry at Brown University. She presented information on PTSD, its impact on soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how individuals and communities can prepare to help its veterans.

Helping to kick off the awards breakfast was Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty who brought greetings from the State and expressed his support for the work of the mental health community. Also in attendance was Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, West Warwick Town Council President Jeanne DiMasi, General John Enright of the RI National Guard, Kathy Spangler of the Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals, Warwick School Superintendent Robert Shapiro, and 140 other guests from business, non-profit, education and government segments.


How To Help Yourself and Those You Love
Cope With Your Emotional Reactions
There are many usual and common reactions to tragedies such as what is currently happening in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. Not everyone will experience all or even some of them; however, if you do, it is important to remember that for most people these reactions will diminish over time from a few days to several weeks or more. If they do not you should seek professional help.

Common Emotional Reactions

  • anxiety
  • fear
  • guilt
  • feeling irritable or angry
  • sadness
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • feeling numb
  • unwelcome thoughts or visions
  • avoiding people

Common Physical/Social Reactions

  • sweating
  • chills
  • sleep disturbances and nightmares
  • fatigue
  • startle easily
  • eating problems
  • assorted aches and pains
  • excessive dependence on prescribed drugs
  • increased use of alcohol and other drugs

What you can do to help yourself

  • Try to talk to others about your experience. If family or friends find this too upsetting, talk with professional counselors or clergy.
  • Maintain your social contacts and stay active. Try to keep your regular schedule.
  • Limit your use of alcohol and other controlled substances.
  • If sleep is disturbed, don’t toss and turn in bed. Read or watch TV.
  • Don’t try to “think away” feelings or flashbacks. They will lessen over time.
  • If your appetite is disturbed, try to eat small portions of healthy foods.
  • Try to get more physical exercise.
  • Engage in outlets that have value to you and bring comfort such as religion, reading, art, movies, games, hobbies.

For referrals or questions, call (401) 732-5656.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: August 30, 2005

(L-R) Russell Gaston, Connie Tu, David Lauterbach, Stella Hebble and Cynthia Mulder.
(Click on photo for larger view)

The Coastway Cares Charitable Foundation presented The Kent Center with a check for $13,000, which represented a portion of the proceeds from the Coastway Cares’ Third Annual Charity Golf Tournament.

Coastway Cares is a non-profit charitable foundation formed by Coastway Credit Union and staffed with Coastway employee volunteers. The group organizes a yearly tournament to raise money to improve the well being of the communities that Coastway serves. To date, Coastway Cares has raised $125,000 for charitable organizations like The Kent Center.

Funding provided to The Kent Center by the Coastway Cares Charitable Foundation will be used towards expansion of access to the Substance Abuse Day Treatment Program for women with children. Specifically, funds will be used for childcare and transportation, a lack of which often becomes a barrier to treatment for women. The goal of The Kent Center is to put specific services in place that will give women the support they need to attend all counseling sessions and to fully complete their treatment plans.

The check was presented to David Lauterbach, President and CEO of The Kent Center, Michael Lichtenstein, Vice President for Development, Cynthia Mulder, Program Manager of Substance Abuse Services, and Stella Hebble, Clinical Supervisor on August 30th by Charitable Foundation volunteers Russell Gaston, Vice President; Connie Tu, Assistant Vice President; and Kate Lowther, Corporate Marketing Officer.

The Kent Center joined with dozens of other Warwick businesses and organizations and over 1,500 residents for National Night Out festivities, held on August 2nd at Oakland Beach Commons. NNO is a unique crime and drug prevention event held in communities all across the country.

Staff from The Kent Center’s Substance Abuse Programs and Compeer, our volunteer/mentorship program, gave out vital information about substance abuse prevention and treatment.

The Kent Center  EDITORIAL: “Understanding Mental Illness”
Published in the Kent County Daily Times, Weekend Edition, July 9, 2005 and in the Warwick Beacon, July 12, 2005

By David S. Lauterbach, ACSW
President/CEO, The Kent Center

Understanding Mental Illness
Although I am certainly disturbed by the recent inflammatory comments made by Tom Cruise on national television about the efficacy of psychiatry and psychotropic medications, I have decided with this editorial to focus the spotlight in a positive direction and to use it as an opportunity to improve our community’s understanding of mental illness. Let’s look, however, to the experts to help us do so.

David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., former Surgeon General of the United States, stated in his preface to the first-ever published Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Illness, that the promotion of mental health for all Americans requires “the willingness of each of us to educate ourselves and others about mental health and mental illness.” So, what is mental illness?

The Surgeon General’s report referenced above defines mental illness as, “the term that refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders. Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” Serious mental illnesses include disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression (which was the illness that set off the recent fire-storm), bi-polar disorder, Alzheimer’s, mental and behavioral disorders of children, and a broad range of other mental disorders. The etiologies (or causes) of many of these illnesses is currently unknown, (as is the case with many physical illnesses), but thanks to the extraordinary pace and productivity of scientific research on the brain over the past few decades, progress is being made in this area. What is already clear and indisputable, based on this research, is that mental disorders are real health conditions of the brain, and that mental health is fundamental to overall health.

Where science has made amazing progress is in the area of treatment of mental illness. Today, a range of safe and effective treatments exists for most mental disorders. Two broad types of treatment include psychotherapy (or counseling) and psychotropic medication, and they are most effective when combined.

Scientific research is also helping us to understand the scope of the problem of mental illness. The World Health Organization reported that 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability are mental disorders. About one in 4 Americans experience a mental disorder in the course of a year with major depression alone being the leading cause of disability. And in Kent County, there are estimated to be over 10,000 people who have a serious mental illness, according to national statistics.

Science is providing us with the information we need to treat the millions of people around the world and close to home who suffer from mental illness. Yet critical gaps exist between those who need service and those who receive service. This is due in large part to the lingering stigma of mental illness, which prevents us as a society to recognize, as stated in the Surgeon General’s report, “the inextricably intertwined relationship between our mental health and our physical health and well-being.” Rhetoric such as that engaged in by non-scientists does not help to narrow the gap or to encourage those in need to seek treatment.

As a community, let’s resolve to learn all we can about mental illness which will help us to achieve for ourselves and our neighbors optimal mental health, which is the springboard of thinking, learning, emotional growth, resilience and self-esteem.

For a copy of the Surgeon General’s report, call me at 738-1338, x701. For additional resources and to learn more about mental illness, log onto The Kent Center’s website at and click on Resources. The American Psychiatry Association provides fact sheets and pamphlets on mental illnesses that are very informative.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: June 8, 2005
On May 17th at The Kent Center’s Hillsgrove House, leading proponents of the clubhouse model of service for persons with mental illness presented information on the efficacy of the model, including compelling employment statistics, and the national and international expansion of the model. Guest speakers included Kevin Bradley, Executive Director of Genesis Club, a clubhouse training center located in Worcester, MA; Colleen McKay, Director of the Project for Clubhouse Research at UMASS Medical School; and Joel Corcoran, Executive Director of the International Center for Clubhouse Development, located in New York City.

Read The Clubhouse Model of Service for Adults with Mental Illness: An Overview for summarized information from the presentations:

MS Word Format (28K)
PDF Format (105K)

Kent Center staff members, including Darlene Bruce, RN, and Kristen Brown, an outpatient services clinician, set up at the Warwick Mall, providing stress assessments.

The Kent Center ASSESSING STRESS: May 14, 2005
In honor of Mental Health Month and to help the public achieve a greater appreciation for the importance of good mental health for overall physical health, The Kent Center provided free stress assessments, as well as information on a wide-range of mental health issues, at the Warwick Mall on May 14th.

Over 60 mall shoppers stopped by to take the stress assessment, to just talk with a Kent Center mental health professional about home or work stress, or picked up information about how to cope with unhealthy stress.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: April 7, 2005
A rousing rendition of That’s Amore brought to a close Hillsgrove House’s 6th Annual Spaghetti Dinner. Led by staff member and event co-coordinator Darlene Rousseau, the song was a fitting conclusion to an evening of good food, good friends and good cheer.

Left to right: Joe Devenish, Kent Center Board Member; Jan Lorensen, Hillsgrove House Program Director; Mary Medeiros; Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian; Jeri Schey; David Lauterbach, President/CEO, The Kent Center

Hillsgrove House, which is a division of The Kent Center, hosted their annual fundraiser at the West Valley Inn in West Warwick on March 30th. Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event of the year for Hillsgrove members, staff and their supporters, this year’s Spaghetti Dinner was also the most successful thus far. With generous donations from Wal-Mart and Sovereign Bank, raffle prize donations from thirty local businesses, and record ticket and raffle sales, the event raised $5,500. All proceeds will support Hillsgrove House’s educational and employment programs for adults facing behavioral health challenges.

A highlight of the evening was the attendance of Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. The Mayor addressed the guests and expressed his support for the important work of Hillsgrove House.

Jan Lorensen, Hillsgrove House Director, stated, “The success of the evening is attributed to the participation of Hillsgrove House members, the overwhelming response of their family and friends, our dedicated employers, and The Kent Center Family. And just wait until next year!”

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: March 1, 2005

Three Masons’ Chapters — Calvary Commandery, Providence Council and Providence Royal Arch Chapter — made donations totaling $2,000 to The Kent Center at their monthly dinner meeting on February 17th. The funds will help to support The Kent Center’s general outpatient clients who do not have insurance.

Pictured here (left to right) are Hirum Jamiel, II, Commander of Calvary Commandery; Raymond Hassell, Thrice Illustrious Master of Providence Council; Michael Lichtenstein, VP for Development at The Kent Center; Dr. Tamra Ringeling, Outpatient Clinician at The Kent Center; and Douglas Channon, King of Providence Royal Arch Chapter.

The Kent Center PRESS RELEASE: February 11, 2005
Senators visit a unique service model for adults facing behavioral heath challenges; express their support for expanded funding.

Craig Stenning, Executive Director, Division of Behavioral Health, MHRH; David S. Lauterbach, President/CEO, The Kent Center; Jan Lorensen, Director, Hillsgrove House; Senator William Walaska; Senator Teresa Paiva-Weed; Senator Alves

On February 10th, State Senators Stephen Alves (D-West Warwick), Teresa Paiva-Weed (D-Newport) and William Walaska (D-Warwick) visited Hillsgrove House, a clubhouse model of service for adults facing mental health and substance abuse challenges, located on Minnesota Avenue in Warwick. The Senators toured the clubhouse, spoke with members and staff, and learned about the many educational and employment services offered through the clubhouse.

Hillsgrove House is a division of The Kent Center for Human & Organizational Development (formerly Kent County Mental Health Center). Established in 1991, Hillsgrove House is based on an international clubhouse model of service, which strongly promotes the concept of membership, a sense of belonging and the right to self-determination for its members. Hillsgrove House is the only certified clubhouse in Rhode Island. “It is crucial to the future of community mental health services,” explained Hillsgrove House staff member Lori Cragan, “that we show our legislators what services are working to help people with mental illness in their recovery.” David Lauterbach, President/CEO of The Kent Center added, “Senator Walaska has been a true champion of Hillsgrove House and we are so pleased that he has helped us to introduce Senator Alves and Majority Leader Paiva-Weed to the clubhouse. We are grateful to have their support in seeking increased funding.” Currently, The Kent Center cannot bill Medicaid for many Hillsgrove House services and 2/3 of its members are not funded.

“I realize the importance of this facility in helping people transition back into employment,” Senator Alves, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee stated, “and we are going to put together a proposal for expanded funding.” Majority Leader Paiva-Weed added, “This program is incredibly impressive; it’s practical and makes a lot of sense.”

In attendance for the Senators’ visit were Elizabeth Earls, President and CEO of the RI Council of Community Mental Health Organizations, and representatives from the Department of Mental Health, Retardation and Hospitals (MHRH), including Craig Stenning, Executive Director, Division of Behavioral Health; Steve Pastore, Administrator, Financial Management; and Janet Whelan, his assistant. MHRH employs members of Hillsgrove House in transitional employment positions. Members work in one of MHRH’s mailrooms under the direction of Mr. Pastore and Ms. Whelan. Mr. Pastore described the experience for the Senators: “The transitional employment program has been a rewarding and successful one for Hillsgrove members, my staff and myself. Their work skills have contributed to the workflow in our office and with their renewed confidence, their personalities start to shine.”