ROCKY HILL, Conn. —September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. Together with our state and community partners, United Way of Connecticut is committed to raising awareness about important mental health and suicide prevention resources. New funding from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and Department of Children and Families (DCF) will allow United Way of Connecticut 211 to double the size of the crisis team and thereby ensure expanded availability to help Connecticut residents in need.
“If you are looking for help, information, or access to mental health resources, our 211 Connecticut Crisis Intervention Team is available 24/7,” said Lisa Tepper Bates, President & CEO of United Way of Connecticut. “The crisis team offers help to callers in emotional distress or expressing suicidal ideations. This support is more important now than ever before, given the continued stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that mental health concerns are up by as much as 300% nationally in the wake of the pandemic and its impacts.
“Our state has come together to build a robust system dedicated to suicide prevention. The crisis team at United Way of Connecticut 211 stands ready to respond with empathy and support to those struggling and serves as the front door to our state’s mental health resources and mobile response teams, working in close coordination with DMHAS and DCF,” said Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
“As our state works to double down on its commitment to suicide prevention and mental health services, especially at this stressful time as the national pandemic response continues, we are pleased to work with 211 to expand the resources available to help Connecticut residents in need,” said Acting Commissioner Nancy Navarretta of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“The support of the 211 crisis team for children and youth in need of support, and for their parents and caregivers, is critically important in our efforts to ensure that help is always available – any time of the day, any day of the week. We are excited about our continued discussions underway with United Way of Connecticut to expand our work to go upstream on mental health – and expand our work with younger children and their caregivers to promote mental health awareness and enhance self-care knowledge,” said Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, Department of Children and Families.
"We are proud to partner with the Department of Children and Families, through which we serve as the point of entry and triage for Youth Mobile Crisis Intervention Services, and through our work together with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, for which we serve as the Adult Telephone Intervention and Options Network, or ACTION Line," said Tanya Barrett, Senior Vice President of 211 Health and Human Services at United Way of Connecticut.
In 2020, 33% (122,507) of all calls handled by 211 Contact Specialists were from callers in crisis. During 91% of adult crisis calls, callers reported that their state of crisis diminished while they were on the phone with a 211 contact specialist. Less than 1% of callers required an active rescue or medical emergency response from 911.
The Connecticut 211 Contact Center is accredited by the American Association of Suicidology for crisis intervention and handles Connecticut calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-SUICIDE and, will provide response to Connecticut calls to the new 988 mental health and suicide prevention line.
Suicide is preventable. We encourage anyone struggling with anxiety, depression, or facing mental health issues to engage pro-actively with existing support resources – including through 211.
For more information about mental health resources in Connecticut visit the Mental Health Page on the 211 Connecticut website (www.211ct.org
Additional resources include:
Youth and Elementary
Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health Guide: Learn more about an innovative, upstream approach to support the mental health and wellness of youth: https://www.gizmo4mentalhealth.org.
Teens and College
Help is available!
If you or a loved one is struggling, please remember that you are not alone. Dial 2-1-1 any time, day or night, to talk with a trained professional who cares about your safety and welling being and is ready to listen and help.