What’s in a name? For those running Riverdale Mental Health Association, its name no longer best expressed the services provided or the communities served. So last month, RMHA got a new name: Mosaic Mental Health.
“We are a mosaic of religions and cultures and ethnicities and languages and ages,” said Donna Demetri Friedman, Mosaic’s executive director.
While the program is housed on the second floor of 5676 Riverdale Ave., patients come from all over, including Upper Manhattan and Westchester County, Friedman said. In addition to counseling, the association offers programming like on-site clinics, consultations at local public schools, and vocational services.
Mosaic held a gala earlier this month honoring its mental health partners and supporters, but also served as a way to further introduce its new name to the community.
Even though the name is different, the organization still works to change the stigma that typically surrounds mental illness, which can affect people of all backgrounds and economic levels. Mosaic’s patients range from those with diagnosed illnesses to those struggling with problems.
Friedman also wants to erase the perception that mental illness automatically equals someone committing a violent act.
“One of our other taglines is ‘Mental health is a beautiful thing,’” Friedman said. “There is so much emphasis on wellness and physical wellness. We all know that if you are not mentally well, you are not physically well, and that we are one person.”
Local leaders of the Society of Ethical Culture founded what is now Mosaic in 1959 as a way to move people out of state hospitals and back into the community. The organization began with two staff members, and has since grown to 88 employees serving 1,000 patients annually, Friedman said.
“We are proud to have our roots in Riverdale,” Friedman said. “Riverdale is and will always be our home. But, we serve beyond Riverdale.”