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Support Comes from New Federal Grant

Windsor, Conn. – CHR, the state’s most comprehensive behavioral healthcare agency, is launching efforts to enhance services for veterans, members of the armed forces and family members who are experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. This effort, known as CT First, is part of a new and far-reaching federally funded initiative to expand mental health, substance use and integrated wellness services in the region.

CT First is the result of CHR being chosen by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to implement a $2 million plan to expand services in the region. A key goal of CT First is to provide intensive, community-based and integrated care to members of the armed forces, veterans and their families.

As such, CHR recently named Bryan Wade, Ph.D., as the agency’s first Veterans Services Coordinator.  In this new role, he will be responsible for staff and community training on the specialized needs of Veterans; ensuring that CHR’s services meet the expectations of the VA’s clinical guidelines for service providers; developing services that meet the specific needs of veterans; launching new wellness programs for veterans; consulting with staff in their work with veterans; building relationships with veteran organizations within our communities; and acting as a contact and resource for veterans and their families in need of CHR services.

“Bryan’s unique skills and perspective will help to link veterans and their families with a wide range of services within CHR and the larger community to help meet their needs for behavioral health, physical health and community support services,” said Heather M. Gates, President and CEO of CHR. “With Bryan’s assistance, our goal is to offer the full spectrum of integrated behavioral health and primary care to veterans and their families,” she said.

Wade is an 11-year Veteran of the United States Air Force (USAF) and Massachusetts Army National Guard who is a knowledgeable advocate for veterans’ healthcare, benefit eligibility, and access to community resources. He currently serves as a Clinical Program Director at CHR’s Enfield outpatient site overseeing several community-based programs for adults with substance use and mental health concerns.

Other key goals of CT First include:

  • Expanding 24/7 access to mobile crisis programs for children and adults by hiring overnight staff and continuing to work closely with local police departments.
  • Introducing primary care and screenings to CHR’s Enfield office and maintaining wellness programming in Manchester and Bloomfield, all with a goal of providing truly integrated care and measuring success with the help of new clinical staff and IT infrastructure updates.
  • Implementing smoking cessation programming for clients.
  • Expanding open-access services for people with substance use disorders/opioid use disorders.
  • Increasing the use of recovery coaches to help facilitate rapid implementation of treatment.
  • Launching a more formal agreement and liaison with the Veterans Administration and veteran groups in our region.

“As our nation celebrated Veteran’s Day, we are very proud to be moving forward and implementing all of the goals of CT First, including these important steps to assure improved services for men and women who have served our country,” Gates added.

To view or download the program flyer, please click here, Veteran Services.

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