New Behavioral Health Center Serving Diverse Communities Opens in Pawtucket

The NEXO Center for Mental and Behavioral Health will offer services in Spanish, Creole and Portuguese.
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Representatives of Tides Family Services, Community Care Alliance and public officials celebrate the opening of the new NEXO Center for Mental and Behavioral Health.

As the urgent need for behavioral and mental health services continues to grow in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tides Family Services and Community Care Alliance are teaming up to open a new mental health hub serving the diverse communities of Rhode Island.

The two organizations on Friday announced the opening of the NEXO Center for Mental and Behavioral Health on Dexter Street in Pawtucket. The center is funded through the June Rockwell Levy Foundation and Papitto Opportunity Connection and will offer services in Spanish, Creole and Portuguese.

“We are excited to provide a community-based approach that addressed the unique needs of families and the community,” says Beth Lemme-Bixby, chief executive officer of Tides Family Services. “This approach is critical to reducing health disparities and moving toward health equity.”

During a ribbon cutting on Friday, Lemme-Bixby recalled the mission of Brother Michael Reis, a Catholic brother who founded Tides in 1983. The social services organization has since grown to serve families and children around the state.

“One of the primary goals has always been for Tides to focus on the underserved communities. Anyone who knew Brother Michael Reis, that was always his main priority,” she says.

The need is more present than ever, says Senator Jack Reed, who points out that nearly 140,000 children lost a parent, grandparent or other caregiver during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is critical that we have the ability to reach people in their own language and get them the proper care,” he says.

Also present for the ribbon cutting were Community Care Alliance President Ben Lessing, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien and state Senator Sandra Cano of Pawtucket. Cano says that for many Latino families, behavioral and mental health takes on a “taboo” status, and parents don’t understand the importance of addressing mental health needs for their children.

“That taboo needs to end,” she says.

The center will use evidence-based treatments to provide integrated care that addresses chronic and toxic stress. Dr. Ornella Potter, a board-certified pediatric psychiatrist, will lead the clinical team, and Ana Lopes will serve as the director of BIPOC behavioral health programs.

To make an appointment or speak with a behavioral health counselor at the NEXO Center for Mental and Behavioral Health, families can call 401-822-1360 or email contactus@tidesfs.org.

 

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