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Catholic Charities’ Behavioral Health provides options

|   By Ellen McGinness
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DANBURY—For over 50 years, Catholic Charities of Fairfield County (CCFC) has provided affordable and accessible mental health services to individuals and families from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The program, called Behavioral Health Services, is one of the only providers of subsidized mental health services in the region.

Since Behavioral Health Services keeps two medical physicians on staff, the program is able to run a medication management group. Therefore, any clients who are prescribed medication by one of the doctors must attend monthly meetings so that a clinician can monitor them and make sure they are taking the medication properly. Having both clinicians and physicians on the staff is impactful for the clients because it provides full circle care.

Another large sector of Behavioral Health Services is individual therapy for adults. Two major areas are treating women who are victims of violence and helping parolees reintegrate into society. The program has a strong nexus with the Women’s Center of Danbury, an organization that seeks to end violence against women and children. The Women’s Center refers females who are in abusive relationships to CCFC’s Behavioral Health Services for treatment. In terms of parolees, the state requires that they attend regular treatment sessions when they are released from prison, which Behavioral Health Services provides.

The program also treats adults with anxiety or depression. This was the case with Brian, who is currently a 24-year-old aspiring medical student. When he was in high school, Brian was bullied and physically abused as well as threatened with a gun by an employer. After being referred to Behavioral Health Services, Brian has been a client for more than three years. His clinician, Jennifer McNamara, is helping him work through the anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression he struggles with due to his childhood experiences. McNamara has been impressed with Brian’s commitment to his health saying, “Brian is an enthusiastic participant and will work hard for his recovery.”

Every year, CCFC’s Behavioral Health Services provides about 15,000 counseling sessions to children and adults. But since about 90 percent of the clients are Medicaid or Medicare recipients, it is always difficult to cover the costs.

Brian, for one, could not be more grateful that Behavioral Health Services exists. “Through my treatment, I have learned so much about myself and what I can do with my life,” he explained. “If you need help, you should come to Behavioral Health Services. It has been one of the best experiences of my life.”

(Behavioral Health Services is accredited by the Council on Accreditation and licensed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the Department of Children and Families. To learn more about this program, contact Richard Madwid at rmadwid@ccfc-ct.org or 203.743.4412, ext. 226.)