Screening for Mental Health, a national non-profit that provides screenings and educational resources for mental health disorders announced that on May 1, it will officially merge with Riverside Community Care, a behavioral healthcare and human services organization.
Riverside’s deep roots in community mental healthcare combined with Screening for Mental Health’s innovative use of technology to educate and connect people to services promises to create a powerfully effective and comprehensive new approach to the diagnosis and treatment of those with mental illness in Massachusetts and beyond.
Since 1990, Screening for Mental Health has utilized technological innovation to make mental health screening and educational resources widely available to the general public and specific populations such as youth, colleges and community service providers.
Riverside, under the leadership of Founder and President/CEO Scott M. Bock since 1980, has grown from a single, small program in Newton, MA, to one of the largest providers of community-based behavioral healthcare and human services in the state.
According to Bock, “Mergers with like-minded organizations allow us to provide new methods and services, like this one. Together, we will be able to provide more support for more people in need.”
The merger between SMH and Riverside paves the way for new innovative solutions to the growing problem of increasing demand in mental health services combined with dwindling mental health service providers. According to a study by Antioch College, the country will need to add 10,000 mental health care providers by 2025 to meet the expected increased demand in services. Yet, the number of people training in the field is actually decreasing, creating a service gap that will only continue to widen.
As Bock puts it, “Education, prevention and early diagnosis are key factors in our ability to effectively meet this demand and provide the best mental health services possible. The online and in-person screening and educational materials SMH provides will help us to reach people and help those in need earlier.”
The average delay between when mental illness symptoms first appear and intervention is 8-10 years. Mental health screenings allow for early identification and intervention and help bridge the gap, leading to much better outcomes and less need for long-term care.
SMH CEO (now Riverside’s Vice President of Behavioral Health Innovation) Norm Gorin says, “It’s a perfect marriage. Screening for Mental Health’s Preventive approach to mental healthcare provides an excellent complement to Riverside’s services. We are delighted to join their team.”