By: Amanda Pitts


EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- Rhode Island's first triage and call center for those suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse disorders is set to open next week.

The 24/7 center, called Behavioral Health Link, will welcome in people who need help coping with depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and everything in between. 

"When we open next Wednesday at 7 a.m., we will hypothetically never close until our services are never needed again."

From there, they'll be matched with someone on the center's professional team, who will then work to find them help by referring patients to services that best fit their needs.

The service is funded in part by federal block grants with the rest coming from the state.

"So many people wind up in the emergency room, wind up in prison, wind up at home struggling because they don't know where to turn. What we're saying is, this is a place to turn," said Governor Gina Raimondo.

Keri Giacomini is one of the center's Peer Specialists. She was thrown into the mental health system at age ten when doctors misdiagnosed her Crohn's Disease for an eating disorder.

“The trauma is still something I struggle with now, even though it was 25 years ago.”

She said she would have led a different life if a facility like this was around back then.

"I could have come in here, received help, and got connected to the resources I needed," said Giacomini.

She decided to put her trauma to use by working at the center, instilling hope in those who might walk in feeling alone and depressed like she was.

"Seeing somebody that's been through it, I feel like, makes it a little bit more easier for them to maybe be more apt to get the help they need."

The center is set to open Wednesday, November 14th, at 7 a.m.

BH Link's hotline is 414-LINK. Click here for more information.

(c) WLNE-TV 2018