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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Ann Varna Garis named to Mental Health Association of R.I. board of directors

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

Dighton, Mass. resident has long record of service

KINGSTON, R.I. – April 9, 2010 – Ann Varna Garis, director of URI’s Psychological Consultation Center, has recently been elected to serve on the board of directors for the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island.

“The board is a diverse group of individuals, but together we get things done,” said Scotti DiDonato, president of the board of directors for the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island. “Ann has been elected to the board because of her work regarding mental health on the academic level at the University of Rhode Island.”

As a board member, Varna Garis is focusing her attention on partnerships with cooperating agencies to expand mental health services.

“I feel strongly about helping underserved populations gain access to mental health who otherwise wouldn’t,” says Varna Garis. “Various issues such as poverty, lack of insurance, and cultural issues make it less likely that particular populations receive assistance. I look forward to changing that.”

The Dighton, Mass. resident hopes to expand mental health training to interested individuals in the community who are not in a higher education setting. This would provide resources currently in short supply to non-English speaking families in the community. In addition, other modes of service-delivery, such as psycho-educational programs, may be useful to provide mental health services to these populations.

Varna Garis has served as director of the Psychological Consultation Center at URI and has overseen the research facility since 1994. The center provides clinical training for graduate students working under the supervision of faculty and consulting psychologists. The students provide therapy and other mental health services to clients from Rhode Island and nearby areas.

By operating on a sliding scale, the Psychological Consultation Center commits to providing affordable services to the community.

The Mental Health Association of Rhode Island, an affiliate of Mental Health America, provides education and services to the public to prevent mental disorders and offer affordable mental health care for all Rhode Islanders.

For more information about the association or help with mental illness, visit www. mhari.org. For information regarding URI’s Psychological Consultation Center, please call 401-874-4263.