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Connecticut Mental Health Center marks 50 years of community mental health treatment and research innovation

September 29, 2016

Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) celebrates its first half-century of service and innovation on Friday September 30th, fifty years to the day after its opening dedication on September 30, 1966.

A collaboration between the State of Connecticut and Yale University, CMHC delivers state-of-the-art mental health and addictions services to uninsured and underinsured people throughout the region.

People come to CMHC with severe challenges related to mental health and addictions problems. Their issues are often compounded by poverty, stress, trauma, incarceration history, grief, loss, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. (To learn more about CMHC clients and their experiences, click here and here.)

CMHC serves over 4,000 people annually, providing compassionate, evidence-based mental health treatment in its main building and at several satellite clinics including the Hispanic Clinic, Forensic Drug Diversion Program, Substance Abuse Treatment Unit, Specialized Treatment in Early Psychosis (STEP), and Young Adult Services at the West Haven Mental Health Clinic. The CMHC Wellness Center, a collaboration with Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, provides primary care to clients.

CMHC is also a research institution where multiple approaches to investigation—including basic neuroscience, clinical trials, neuroimaging analysis, qualitative research, program and policy evaluation—all share one fundamental goal: to alleviate the human suffering caused by mental health and addiction disorders.

Education has always been central to the mission of CMHC, a major clinical training site within the Yale Department of Psychiatry. Since 1966, hundreds of students and young professionals—including doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and researchers—have worked, learned, and studied at the center.

Fundamentally, we are celebrating a collaboration that embodies the best in public service.

Michael J. Sernyak, MD, Chief Executive Officer, CMHC

“We have made extraordinary progress in fifty years,” said Michael J. Sernyak, MD, CMHC’s Chief Executive Officer and a Professor of Psychiatry at Yale. “Our founding aspirations continue to this day: to improve lives, contribute knowledge, and strengthen community through clinical care, research, and education.”

50th Anniversary Celebration

Connecticut Mental Health Center: Celebrating 50 Years of Hope and Service, a special event, will be held on Friday September 30. Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro, State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, and Yale University Chaplain Sharon M.K. Kugler will speak at the sold-out event at Yale School of Management.

On September 30th, 1966 at the opening celebration of Connecticut Mental Health Center, Governor John Dempsey, Senator Abraham Ribicoff, and Yale president Kingman Brewster were among the honored speakers. Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin delivered the invocation.

“Our success over the years is due to the efforts of many people, including professionals, clients, and community stakeholders, who have worked together in very creative ways,” said Dr. Sernyak. “Fundamentally, we are celebrating a collaboration that embodies the best in public service.”

Submitted by Lucile Bruce on September 29, 2016