Your place for CONNECTing news and updates
Mental Health Awareness Month - May 2021
Mental Health Awareness Month events
Gizmo's PAWSOME Guide to Mental Health
Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health is a fun, flexible, turn-key curriculum for elementary youth that utilizes an animated Power Point, implementer discussion guide, and unique activities for youth.
31 Days of Wellness
It has never been more important to recognize that mental health is an essential component to one’s overall health and wellbeing. 
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, please see our Connecting to Care, “31 Days of Wellness Calendar”. The wellness calendar reminds us to take a moment each day for our own health and wellness and to inspire others to do the same. 
Please join us in each day’s wellness activity. You can print out the calendar or follow the activities on our Facebook or Instagram pages.
Stay tuned for Early Psychosis Basics trainings coming up in May and June
Laura Yoviene Sykes, PhD, psychologist at the program for Specialty Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) and Director of the Connecticut Early Psychosis Learning Health Network leads trainings and discussions on early psychosis for providers and families.
Goals of the trainings are to:
  • Increase awareness and understanding of early psychosis
  • Learn to recognize early warning signs of psychosis
  • Understand the importance of connecting to treatment
  • Develop awareness of assessment tools and strategies
  • Get an overview of the Connecticut Early Psychosis Learning Health Network
Care Coordination Corner
What does Care Coordination look like in real life?
We interviewed a youth who used Care Coordination and the positive outcomes they experienced, starting with this question:

What changed since the declaration of the pandemic emergency in March of last year?
"I was very bored, been at home all day and I was feeling very sad. I started to miss going to school and being around other people and kids. The days seemed to never end. [...]
Youth/Family Spotlight

Written By: Lisa Girard, Favor Family Systems Manager, Eastern Region

A group consisting of the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective (MMAC), the North End Action Team (NEAT), a collective of university students, and several Middletown community members answered that question during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MMAC discussed what the future looks like for building a community where love and care are the foundation. While coming from different backgrounds, group members share the goal of creating a world where everyone has their basic needs met. From this foundation, a collaborative project bloomed, first imagined by two young adults and realized through collaborative effort. Behind the scenes, MMAC meetings fueled hard work, research and planning. On November 16, 2020, the group was instrumental in opening The Middletown Community “Fridge”. [...]
Family Care Connections
Strong Communities - Healthy Children - Better Care
Across Connecticut, continuous progress has been made to ensure we are caring for children’s behavioral health needs as part of their overall well-being. The current pandemic has shifted our world in numerous ways, highlighting what we already knew: many children are experiencing behavioral health challenges that deserve to be identified early, treated effectively, and prevented if possible. Providers all around our state have made important strides to innovate and enhance connections to helpful behavioral health services. Communication is critical to coordinating services for families and this is where the Connecting to Care initiative intends to offer support.

Through an approach called Family Care Connections, we are seeking to enhance connections to community-based behavioral health services from pediatric primary care and schools, so that families can get the care they need, when they need it.

Our goal is to improve the children’s behavioral health system in a number of ways, including examination of the following:

       Screening, referral, and linkage to community-based behavioral health
        Professional development and capacity building
        Case consultation, care integration, and provider communication
        Data sharing, integration, and evaluation

Network of Care Managers are currently conducting outreach to schools, pediatric, and behavioral health providers. Some of the first steps include
1) identifying existing relationships; 2) identifying promising practices for improving collaborative care; 3) and sharing information about local community-based behavioral health services with pediatric primary care providers and school staff.
If you would like to learn more about Family Care Connections or get involved, please contact your regional Network of Care Manager.

Data Stories
CONNECTing to Care Data Stories are short, easy-to-read reports that tell a story about information collected during the CONNECTing to Care initiative. They are designed to share data with interested community members, families, youth and professionals to help facilitate a collective understanding of aspects of the network of care. Data Stories are created by The Consultation Center at Yale, our evaluation team for the CONNECTing to Care grant.

Data Story Highlight: Wraparound Care Coordination
Wraparound is a process for improving the lives of children with complex needs and coordinating care to meet these needs. Youth and caregivers reported that youth's functioning significantly increased after six months in care coordination.
Data Series - update
The four-part CONNECTing to Care data series workshop that took place during the month of February was a success. The series had a diverse range of participants including family leaders and providers and was available in English and Spanish. It was very interactive and provided families with the tools necessary to feel confident reading and working with data.

Participants learned what data is and why it is important; as well as how to collect it, read it and interpret it. They explored the differences between quantitative and qualitative data and demonstrated how data is involved in our lives. Most importantly, this workshop provided participants with methods to use data to make informed decisions in their everyday lives.

At the end of the series many of the participants reported that they felt empowered by information they can apply to their lives. One family leader reported she had begun to apply the training to a scheduled surgery by requesting data on the procedure's success rates for individuals her age. The more one understands data, the easier it is to self-advocate.
Feelings stressed, anxious, alone?
Let's take care of ourselves and each other!
Upcoming Meeting Dates:
The Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Committee (CBHAC) meets on the first Friday of the month, from 10am-12pm. The next meeting is May 7, 2020.
CBHAC's mission is to promote and enhance the provision of behavioral health services for all children in Connecticut. Appointed members and community guests attend monthly meetings to address these needs across the state. This committee must submit an annual report that provides recommendations concerning behavioral health service delivery.
CBHAC is open to the public. If you are interested in attending or receiving email communications from the CBHAC, please contact your regional Network of Care Manager or Family Systems Manager.
Your Ideas!

If you have an idea or suggestion for other topics to include in our newsletters, don’t hesitate to contact Daniela Giordano at
Thank you!
If you are receiving this CONNECTing to Care Newsletter because you Joined Our Mission – thank you! If you are receiving this newsletter because you are a Children's Behavioral Health Advisory Committee (CBHAC) member and have not yet Joined Our Mission, please consider doing so now:
Watch the video to learn more about Connecting to Care.