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Local groups provide funding to keep South Shore mental health program going

Marshfield Mariner - 12/20/2017

A public service that connects local residents to mental health services will continue through 2018, thanks to a collaborative effort of local officials and organizations.

Since launching in 2014, 2,000 South Shore residents have utilized South Shore INTERFACE, a helpline organized by William James College that provides callers information on mental health services based on their needs, location and insurance.

Funded in fiscal years 2015-17 through state budget items sponsored by State Rep. Jim Cantwell, D-Marshfield, funding was set to end this year. This prompted Cantwell to call a meeting last month to figure out how to keep the program going.

State Sen. Patrick O'Connor, R-Weymouth, Marshfield Town Administrator Michael Maresco, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz, Kiwanis, the Freemasons, MarshfieldFACTS, Marshfield police and citizens all attended to discuss INTERFACE and explore solutions.

Since that meeting, necessary funding has been identified from Marshfield Public Schools, Marshfield Kiwanis and DA Cruz's office, allowing the program to continue through the 2018 fiscal year.

"This is a grassroots victory, driven by local champions for mental health services and suicide prevention," Cantwell said in a statement. "This program was brought to our community because people came together around a cause. Now again, the program is being sustained because of local leaders like Superintendent Granatino, Town Administrator Maresco, the DA, MarshfieldFACTS coalition and Kiwanis."

Eight other South Shore towns have access to the service, which is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"It's great to see so many stakeholders come together to find a solution to a problem that could have had a truly detrimental impact on our community," said Granatino.

"The support provided to our schools and our community through William James College's INTERFACE is immeasurable and I'm thrilled that we will continue to have access to this valuable resource."

To use the South Shore INTERFACE, residents can call 888-244-6843.

Follow James Kukstis on Twitter at @MarinerJamesK.


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