Recovery Network of Programs and Mayor William Finch welcome guests to Bridgeport Library to learn the importance of addressing mental health disorders #B4Stage4
Bridgeport, CT, May 22, 2015 — Recovery Network of Programs (RNP) was pleased to host Mental Health Awareness Day at Bridgeport Library on May 21, 2015. Opening remarks and a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month were made my Mayor Willian Finch. Stated Finch, “Every family in this country has been touched by mental health disorders or addiction, and it is time to get over the stigma and discrimination and honestly discuss these issues. I know that recovery is possible for everyone, and we thank Recovery Network of Programs for giving hope to so many in our community.” RNP CEO John Hamilton echoed Finch’s remarks, adding a sobering statistic: “There are over 45 million Americans living with mental health disorders of addiction. Sadly, 2/3 of these individuals have not been diagnosed. Like cancer or diabetes, these illnesses can be progressive and debilitating, and can even shorten one’s live expectancy by an average of 15 years.” Hamilton continued, “Early intervention offers the most help in recovery, but regardless of when and where we intervene, recovery IS possible for everyone.”
RNP implemented Mental Health America’s theme for this year, “B4Stage4,” to call attention to the importance of addressing mental health symptoms early, identifying potential underlying diseases, and planning an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. Mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process — before Stage 4.
“When we think about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat them,” said Marlene Orr, Division Director of Residential Services at Recovery Network of Programs. “We start before Stage 4 — we begin with prevention. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
“This Mental Health Month, we are encouraging everyone to learn the signs, ask for help if needed, address symptoms early, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.”
RNP conducted screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders, held informational sessions and poetry readings, displayed art and posters depicting mental health disorders, and had massage and reiki sessions, all free of charge.
“When feelings and emotions get overwhelming, it’s hard to know what to do,” Orr said. “Sometimes, these early symptoms might not ever become serious. Like a cough, they often go away on their own, and are nothing to fear. But sometimes, they are a sign of something more severe and shouldn’t be ignored. Taking a screening is the first step to protect your mental health, and addressing mental illness before Stage 4.”
Research shows that by ignoring symptoms, we lose ten years in which we could intervene in order to change people’s lives for the better. During most of these years most people still have supports that allow them to succeed — home, family, friends, school, and work. Intervening effectively during early stages of mental illness can save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illness.
“Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work,” concluded Orr. “When you address symptoms before Stage 4, people can often recover quickly, and live full and productive lives.”
Recovery Network of Programs is a behavioral healthcare provider based in Bridgeport, CT. Founded in 1972, their mission is to restore hope, health and well-being for individuals and families in a recovery environment that embraces compassion, dignity and respect. Please visit www.recovery-programs.org for further information on their programs and services.
Recovery Network of Programs initiates pilot program to offer treatment, rather than incarceration, to non-violent offenders living with substance abuse and/or mental health disorders.
Bridgeport, CT, April 22, 2015 — Recovery Network of Programs (“RNP”), in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Correction and Connecticut Judicial Branch, is implementing an innovative, uniquely designed pilot program to divert non-violent offenders living with substance use and/or mental health disorders. The program is made possible by a grant from the Public Welfare Foundation.
The ‘Treatment Pathway Program’ is located in the Bridgeport Superior Court, and provides immediate assistance and assertive linkage for those individuals who are more appropriately served by treatment than incarceration. The proposed program will have a significant impact in reducing the number of individuals jailed unnecessarily in a prison system that is faced with overcrowding and rising costs.
States RNP CEO John Hamilton, “RNP is confident that this program will allow us to demonstrate that positive impact of providing appropriate treatment and services in lowering recidivism and re-arrest rates.” Adds Jennifer Kolakowski, RNP’s Chief Clinical Officer and author of the grant, “By addressing the root causes of criminal behavior, we will now be able to provide alternatives to incarceration in an effort to reduce the number of individuals unnecessarily jailed, the majority of whom are better served by substance use and mental health treatment.”
One of the unique factors of the proposed program includes identifying persons at the front end of the criminal justice system, i.e., those being held in lieu of bond that meet program criteria. In cooperation with Connecticut Bail Services, RNP staff will submit to the court an alternative to incarceration treatment-based recovery plan.
RNP is a behavioral healthcare provider that has been serving the Greater Bridgeport community since 1972. RNP has an extensive history of employing innovative strategies to create measurable and sustained impact in communities through the following programs: emergency, transitional and permanent housing for individuals who are homeless or formerly homeless; advocacy, education and prevention services for young adults; extensive outpatient and intensive outpatient services for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders; medically managed detoxification treatment; co-occurring (mental health and substance use) residential treatment; outreach and community case management for individuals living with HIV/AIDS; syringe exchange services; community housing and case management for individuals with severe and prolonged mental health disorders; psychiatric rehabilitation and housing services; recovery housing for women with co-occurring disorders; Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), including an innovative, licensed MAT program within the Bridgeport Corrections Center and, most recently, a uniquely designed program to outreach and engage African American and Latina women who have substance use problems and are at risk of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.
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