By Mikeala Porter, Hartford Courant:
Leaders of a nonprofit in Manchester created to provide mental health assistance to first responders are looking to secure grant funding to ensure that police officers, firefighters and veterans can continue their therapy without worrying about making payments.
Licensed clinical social worker Phyllis DiGioia created The Honor Wellness Center in May 2017. In the last two years, she said about 300 first responders have come to her for care, most coping with trauma, addiction and mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.
“What we saw was a good number of officers, troopers, were struggling with a lot of different things including addiction, addictive behaviors that ramped up after Sandy Hook,” DiGioia said. “There were no uniform services or programs in Connecticut to address trauma, mental health and addiction for first responders. We would end up sending people out of state for in-patient treatment and [they were] coming home to nothing, or coming home to clinicians with one or two hours a week of treatment compared to seven days a week of treatment. They were set up for failure.”
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