Health and Human Service Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Department of Mental Health Cape & Islands Crisis Hotline

Elder Abuse Hotline
1-800-922-2275 (V/TDD)

Child-At-Risk Hotline

Baby Safe Haven Hotline
866-814-SAFE (7233)

Transitional Assistance Fraud Hotline
800-FRAUD-99 (800-372-8399)

Request Emergency Interpreter
800-249-9949 (V/TTY)

Disabled Persons Protection Commission Hotline

Safelink: Domestic Violence Hotline
877-785-2020 - 877-521-2601 (TTY)

Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-8255, Press 1

POSTPONED: Point-in-Time Count and Homeless Youth Survey

Due to extreme blizzard conditions, several Continuums of Care (CoC) across Massachusetts – including on the Cape and Islands – have requested an exception to the Point-in-Time count date requirement set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Point-in-Time count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. HUD requires that Continuums of Care conduct an annual count of homeless persons who are sheltered in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and other safe havens on a single night. The night for the 2015 count had been scheduled for this past Wednesday, January 28th.

Organizers hope the count will be officially postponed until late February, most likely February 25th. The separate Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Count (also originally scheduled for this week) will be moved to late February too, in order to keep it connected to the Point In Time count.

More information will be released as soon as it is available. Volunteers and other community organizations who agreed to help with the PIT and the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Count are asked to not distribute or complete any surveys this week.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Paula Schnepp, Coordinator of the Cape and Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness at

Cancelled: Tonight’s Screening of What Happened Here

In the interest of safety, the Wednesday, January 28th screening of What Happened Here: The Untold Story of Addiction on Cape Cod at the Cultural Center has been cancelled.

The event, co-sponsored by the Cape and Islands Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Regional Substance Abuse Coalition of Barnstable County, and the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, will be rescheduled at a later date.

Cape Cod Prepares for Annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count

Organizers Looking for Volunteers to Assist in Effort

Barnstable County is looking for volunteers to assist with the annual point-in-time homeless count. Those interested in doing so can contact Elizabeth Albert, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Human Services, at or 508-375-6626.

A training session for those taking part in the January 28th point-in-time count is on January 26th from 3 to 4:30 pm at the Innovation Room in the Open Cape Building on the Barnstable County Campus at 3195 Main Street in Barnstable.

How many homeless people are living on Cape Cod? It’s a question that human service professionals will attempt to answer on Wednesday, January 28 as part of the annual point-in-time count.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) dedicates the last week in January to the count which is done across the nation to get an accurate sense of the homeless population. HUD uses those figures to best determine how to allocate funds to help address homelessness in America.

At the local level, this year’s count will see several changes starting with Barnstable County Department of Human Services overseeing its implementation, taking over that responsibility from the Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & the Islands. Assisting the County in its planning efforts are consultants Paula Schnepp, Coordinator for the Cape & Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness, and Dr. Lee Hamilton, an adjunct professor of sociology at Cape Cod Community College.

The count identifies homeless people who are staying at shelters on Cape Cod, including those in motels paid for by the state, as well as those who are unsheltered and staying on the streets, in a vehicle, an abandoned building, the woods, a park or elsewhere.

Continue reading Cape Cod Prepares for Annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count

Funding Announcement: Barnstable County Receives $550,000 for Opioid Prevention Award

We are pleased to announce that the Barnstable County Department of Human Services on behalf of the Barnstable County Regional Substance Abuse Council was awarded a five-year $550,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Health Bureau of Substance Abuse Services to support an Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative.

Barnstable County’s Substance Abuse Council (SAC) was established in January 2014 by the County to coordinate a regional public health approach to substance abuse across the continuum of prevention, criminal justice, treatment and recovery. The purpose of SAC is to establish a communication infrastructure across municipalities; identify needs and addresses gaps and disparities in the service system using SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model; maximize interagency and inter-municipality collaboration; and maximize funding and resource opportunities to address the problem of substance abuse in our region.

The grant award will support a Barnstable County Opioid Abuse Collaborative (OAC) and will be structured as a working committee of the SAC with a specific emphasis on planning and implementing opioid prevention strategies. The funding will allow the region to build upon existing collaborations among members of the SAC and enhance, expand, and formalize collaborations between participating municipalities.

Suicide Prevention Efforts are Everyone’s Responsibility

Cape Cod Times
December 9, 2014
by Cape Cod Times Staff

Every late fall for the past three years, we have written at least one editorial about the high rate of suicide on the Cape and Islands. As we approach the holidays, it appears some people just can’t bear the pain of depression or addiction any longer.

Mental health experts can only speculate as to why Barnstable County has the second highest rate of suicides in the state, after Franklin County. Representatives from the Cape and Islands Community Health Network Alliance report that 95 percent of individuals who commit suicide suffer from mental illness. Further, they note that loneliness, loss, addiction, and lack of treatment can all contribute to someone taking his or her life.

The latest spike in suicides has hit Nantucket, where five island residents have died in the past two months. We hope as many people as possible can attend a community meeting Dec. 15 at the high school. Beginning at 6 p.m., the meeting will include representatives from the state Department of Mental Health, the Cape and Islands Suicide Prevention Coalition and Family and Children’s Services of Nantucket.

Continue reading Suicide Prevention Efforts are Everyone’s Responsibility