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About the Task Force

About the Advisory Group

Members of the Advisory Group met with MA Senator Edward Markey to discuss behavioral health priorities on Nantucket.


  • We are a community group of over 130 volunteer members

  • Our members represent the “key players” involved in behavioral health on-island

  • Our meetings are open to the public. Anyone who believes in our mission and actively follows our work can become a member!

  • Meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month beginning March 2021! All monthly meetings will begin at 12:00 p.m. via zoom. If you'd like to join please email to request the zoon link. 


Our purpose is to work towards an effective and collaborative behavioral health system on Nantucket through the following core activities:

General Membership Meetings:

Our meetings are an opportunity for dialogue and collaboration. We typically have a guest presenter each meeting and discuss current mental health and substance use challenges. 

Our members are concerned citizens of all backgrounds and many are affiliated with the following organizations:

The Nantucket Cottage Hospital

The Nantucket Police Department

The Nantucket Health Department

Fairwinds Counseling Center

Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP)

National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI)

Gosnold on Nantucket

Children's Cove

and More!

Ad Hoc Projects:

These are the steps we are taking towards community projects that make a positive impact in the community:


1) The Task Force identifies a behavioral health need in the community (for example, a gap in care and resources)

2) The Task Force collectively decide on an appropriate, actionable solution

3) The Task Force chooses an organization who can "own" the solution with financial and operational support


The Resources page of this website provides a comprehensive list of behavioral health resources available to the Nantucket community. 

Letters of Recommendation (LOR's):

Organizations and individuals applying for grant funding can pitch their ideas to the Task Force. The Task Force will then vote on whether to provide a letter of recommendation that can be submitted along with their grant application.



The Nantucket Behavioral Health Task Force was founded in 2011 by Bonnie Kester, who worked as the head nurse at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and a small group of people determined to address the gaps in behavioral health services on the island. Led by Bonnie, the group submitted a grant application to the Tower Foundation to bring an evidence-based, health care service to the island called SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, and treatment services). The Tower Foundation responded that they would like to give the task force more money than they had requested! 


Seeing the pressing need for mental health and substance use services in the community, Tower Foundation staff came to Nantucket to lead a two-day workshop to generate a needs assessment. They awarded the Task Force $400,000 to support a variety of community initiatives that you can read about on our Grants Recipients page


In 2019 it was decided by the General Members to merge with NAMI Nantucket, a 501 (c), because both NAMI and the Task Force share similar goals and approaches to solving Nantucket behavioral health issues. As a 501 (c) moving forward, it will allow for further growth which will include paid administrative support, a vital position for a non-profit, and the financial underpinning of NAMI with a proven track record of raising funding on Nantucket for Nantucket. 

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