CRANSTON — A survey of more than 1,000 Rhode Islanders has found that a great majority of respondents believe the importance of seeking help for addiction or mental-health issues.
A solid majority also believe that mental-health conditions are as serious as physical conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
“These survey results show that Rhode Islanders are rejecting the discriminatory attitudes long associated with mental and substance use conditions, and instead are displaying genuine interest and compassion,” Kathryn Power, director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, said in a media release announcing the survey results.
She added: “This awareness, coupled with the desire to help, confirms that we are heading in the right direction as we encourage individuals to seek treatment and focus on the hope of recovery.”
The survey of 1,075 people was conducted in January by the department, in partnership with Horizon Healthcare Partners and BHLink, the state’s 24-hour behavioral triage center and hotline, which has played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the key findings of the survey:
◘ “91% of Rhode Islanders believe that a person should not feel ashamed to get
help for their behavioral health crisis.”
◘ “The majority of Rhode Islanders know or have known someone who struggled
with behavioral health issues.”
◘ “The majority of Rhode Islanders want to help those struggling with behavior
◘ “While there exists compassion and sympathy for those struggling with
behavioral health issues, more education is needed about evidence-based,
best practices for recovery and behavioral health treatments.”
The survey report notes that “there remains more work to be done,” and listed several recommendations, including:
◘ “Build on the high level of compassion that Rhode Islanders have for those
struggling with behavioral health issues, and use that as the foundation to
educate Rhode Islanders about evidence-based, best practice interventions.”
◘ “Create more coordinated public awareness campaigns aimed at highlighting
evidence based, best practices for recovery and behavioral health treatments.”