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To promote the recovery of people with severe and persistent mental illnesses by evaluating existing and proposed state funded mental health programs and services under state mandate (CGS 17a 463-464) and by educating the public about mental health and illness.
Mental Health System Change: The Regional Boards play a unique role in program oversight, through a mechanism that is unique to Connecticut. A state-funded non-profit, we were created by the General Assembly in 1974 to evaluate state funded mental health programs. We have only two permanent staff, along with our first-ever summer intern, and depend heavily on the power of our volunteer members from the 39 towns within our region. Their commitment makes it possible for us to conduct site visits to the countless programs in our region, including outpatient clinical services, the Community Support/Recovery Pathways Programs (CSP/RP), Young Adult Services (YAS), clubhouses, and many others, to assess strengths and unmet needs in each, and make recommendations to the programs themselves, as well as the the Office of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services, for improvements. Our process has led to many improvements in the state-funded system over the years: expanded Young Adult Services, and more police officers training in Crisis Intervention Team training, to name just two. The efforts of our volunteer members are integral to this process.
Advocacy: This word, defined on dictionary.com as "the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal," means different things to different people. For some, it’s as basic as learning how to communicate needs and preferences to a provider, or helping a loved one get what he or she needs. For others, it’s telling a personal story to help others, including legislators, understand how policies affect real people. All forms of advocacy have the power to improve services and impact state policies, and advocates gain a sense of empowerment and self-respect that is invaluable. We can help you learn whatever style of advocacy is right for you, and ensure that your voice is heard in the right place.
Changing Attitudes: Regional Board community outreach and education activities promote better understanding in our local towns about what mental illness is--and what it isn’t. By showing our community members that people living with mental health challenges are just like them--or may even BE them--with the same hopes and dreams, we combat discrimination and prejudice. We hope that people who are afraid to reach out for help will learn that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Our ultimate goal is to change the way people think about and talk about mental illnesses and recovery.
- Jennifer Gross
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