Dear Friends,

While 2023 marked the end of the Public Health Emergency surrounding COVID-19, the behavioral health crises stemming from the pandemic are far from over. At CHR, we remain focused on real solutions and effective care to meet the needs of children, families, and adults who are struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, housing insecurity, and much more. 

This report is a snapshot of our work to bring real solutions to Connecticut. As you will see, we are implementing new ways to respond to the opioid use crisis through community partnerships and our ongoing work with the Department of Correction, our collaboration with the Department of Children and Families to expand emergency mental health services for youth, and much more.

All of these innovative solutions are fueled by CHR’s amazing staff. Their commitment makes CHR a Top Workplace that is continually focused on becoming a more just and welcoming organization. 

We are also extremely grateful to our loyal friends and supporters who make our work possible. Thank you so much for your amazing generosity and guidance. Together, we will continue to innovate and find real solutions for our communities. 


Heather M. Gates, President/CEO

Cy Hess, Chair, CHR Board of Directors

CHR’s DE&I Work Moves Forward,Implements Roadmap

CHR’s journey to become a more just and inclusive agency moved into its third year, focusing on the implementation of an innovative DE&I Roadmap, created by CHR’s Action for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (AFEDI) Council, with support from our partners, Leading Culture Solutions (LCS). The roadmap establishes four priority areas and sets the stage for ongoing work: enhancing staff development; creating a just and inclusive culture; improving communication; and becoming a more diverse community. 

In the year ahead, the journey will continue with a range of interactive trainings for all staff and expanded roles for Employee Resource Groups, designed to provide allyship and inclusion among diverse groups. 

New Strategic Plan Adopted for Next Three Years

A new, three-year strategic plan for CHR prioritizes implementing the DE&I roadmap; supporting CHR’s workforce; enhancing organizational excellence and innovation; growing CHR’s services, especially to reach populations who experience health disparities; and building unrestricted revenue. The new plan reflects months of thoughtful input from CHR’s senior leaders and managers, as well as the Board of Directors. 

“The new strategic plan reflects our values and a realistic appreciation of CHR’s role in the post-pandemic world. Importantly, it sets inspiring yet measurable goals for our organization,” said Heather Gates, CHR’s President and CEO, noting that goals and objectives for the entire work-force will stem from the strategic plan.

Pulse Survey Shows Progress

A recent Pulse survey among CHR employees showed progress in comparison to the 2021 survey, administered at the beginning of the DE&I journey. For example, the new survey shows nearly 90% of CHR employees reported a sense of belonging at CHR, an increase from 84% in 2021. In addition, we saw significant growth (more than 10%) in the number of staff who reported:

  • I feel empowered to affect change in my organization.

  • I see diversity used to create innovation in this organization.

10 for 10: CHR is a Top Workplace for the 10th Year in a Row!

CHR was named one of the Top Workplaces in Connecticut among large employers for the 10th year in a row! We also continue to be the highest-ranking human services provider in our employer category, and Heather Gates, CHR’s President and CEO, won Top Leader among large employers for the 3rd time! The Top Workplaces distinction is meaningful because it is based on objective data collected through anonymous surveys in workplaces across the state.

Advocating on the State and National Stage

CHR continued its long tradition of advocating for individuals and families with the most serious mental health, substance use, and housing needs in 2023. Led by Heather Gates, CHR’s President and CEO, who was elected to the 2nd Vice Chair of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and Vice Chair of the CT Nonprofit Alliance, CHR participated in dozens of advocacy events designed to increase support for behavioral health servicesk

A New Resource for Children and Teens

CHR is collaborating with the State Department of Children and Families to open a 24/7 Subacute Crisis Stabilization Center in eastern CT to help address children’s mental health crises and expand timely access to care, particularly in light of ongoing overcrowding in CT hospital emergency departments. The new Subacute Crisis Stabilization Center is expected to open in the fall of 2024.

CHR Awarded National Accreditation from The Joint Commission and the NCCHC

CHR earned accreditation from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) for its Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) program for incarcerated men and women in six CT prisons and jails.

“We began this work to help reduce the staggering number of overdose deaths among men and women who are recently released from prison,” said CHR’s President and CEO Heather Gates, noting that this was CHR’s first NCCHC accreditation process.

Gold Standard Accreditation

CHR’s behavioral health services for people of all ages also once again received accreditation in 2023 from The Joint Commission, the gold standard for all healthcare practices, along with accreditation for CHR’s two Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs and the Behavioral Health Home.

CHR Celebrates Completion of Renovations to Putnam Campus

CHR completed a series of renovations on its Putnam campus, including an expanded footprint for the Pathways MOUD Program, as well as renovations to the dining hall for the women’s residential substance programs.

Together with Community Partners, CHR Launches Innovative Program to Reduce Overdose Deaths

CHR is part of an innovative pilot program designed to reduce opioid deaths, reduce repeated overdoses, decrease hospital readmissions, and connect individuals with long-term care through CHR. The Prehospital Suboxone program is a collaboration with Somers Fire Department Paramedics, CHR, and Trinity Health New England and is a model of care to provide the addiction suboxone at the scene of an overdose, immediately after an individual is revived by Narcan. This approach is designed to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms and prevent another overdose before individuals are linked to ongoing care.

Kindness Hero!

Turkessa Antrum, CHR’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief DE&I Officer, was recognized in August as the Hartford Yard Goats & Liberty Bank Community Kind-ness Hero of the Game for her work in Diversity, Equity & inclusion at CHR. Each season, the Hartford Yard Goats, in partnership with Liberty Bank, honor Community Kindness Heroes, who are individuals making a difference in the space of DE&I.

CHR Launches Real Life, Real Hope Podcast!

CHR was awarded three prestigious federal grants to meet the needs of children, families and adults in the aftermath of the pandemic. CHR competed nationally for all three grants, each of which is administered by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA).

Awards included two Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grants, in North-Central and Northeastern CT, as well as grant to provide trauma-treatments to children and teens in CHR clinics, including school-based clinics. k

CHR is the most comprehensive, non-profit behavioral healthcare agency in Connecticut, offering a broad array of services for adults, children and families whose lives have been touched by mental illness, substance use, trauma and more. CHR has offices throughout eastern and central Connecticut and was named a Top Workplace for the last 10 years in a row.

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