As a non-profit, mission-driven community behavioral health provider, we are heartened by the recent articles on behavioral health in The Riverdale Press. The most recent article, in last week’s edition of The Press, described Parachute NYC*, an innovative alternative to hospitalization for people experiencing emotional crises. We are proud to have been designated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as the sole provider in the Bronx to participate in Parachute NYC. In a landscape of increasing need for services paired with decreased funding, Parachute is an inspiring call to action, a research-based model that, compared to traditional hospitalization, provides more effective treatment and follow-up at vastly reduced cost.
Since its inception nearly two years ago, Parachute NYC has provided community-based options that focus on overall wellness, recovery and hope. It is staffed largely by peers who, having experienced their own mental health challenges, are able to serve as mentors to Parachute guests. The RMHA Parachute Crisis Respite Center, housed in the Joyce Pilsner Community Residence on West 232nd Street, serves 10 guests for stays up to two weeks. Guests have private rooms and access to common living spaces, maintain their own schedules, are able to attend school and work, and to interact with other guests and staff. The CRC offers a warm and supportive environment, access to recovery and relapse prevention skills, and access to trained Peer Specialists. A Support Line (646-741-HOPE) is also available for those experiencing emotional distress.
Our goal in Parachute NYC, as in all of our programs at RMHA, is to support those who seek help, to decrease suffering, lessen the likelihood that an individual will require costly and isolating hospitalization, and instead provide a compassionate setting free of stigma. When barriers to good treatment are lowered, those who need help are better able to access high quality care.
We invite you to get to know RMHA better by scheduling a visit to our main clinic or to the Parachute Crisis Respite Center. We also welcome you to join us at our sixth annual Healthy Minds/Healthy Bodies 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, April 26 at 11 a.m. at the Tortoise and the Hare statue in Van Cortlandt Park. Details on our programs and events are at www.rmha.org.
*Parachute is supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1C1-12-0001 from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Robert M. Brewster is the executive director of the Riverdale Mental Health Association.