Providence Children’s Museum receives $150,000 for new mental health program

PROVIDENCE RI (WPRI) – The Providence Children’s Museum is launching a new “play therapy” program that would help children “explore their feelings” and improve their mental health.

The museum said it will partner with local organizations to provide greater access to mental health resources and workshops for children and families, including those living in the foster care system, struggling with grief or living apart from their incarcerated parents.

The program is supported by federal funding of $150,000 guaranteed by Senator Jack Reed, who visited the museum on Wednesday to discuss the program.

Reed said emergency hospital visits for children with mental health issues increased from nearly 6% to 30%.

“We don’t have the staff or the facilities unless we collaborate and cooperate to deal with this issue,” Reed said.

The program has been ongoing since several local pediatric organizations declared a state of emergency for child and adolescent mental health due to the pandemic.

“This is an institution trusted and valued by all of us,” Reed said. “It is decided to be a key community partner in solving critical issues, mental health being one of those issues.”

Ryan H. Bowman