Torrington Residents, Lawmakers Discuss Protecting Mental Health & Addiction Services

November 21, 2017



On November 17, Senator Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), Representative Dave Wilson (R-Litchfield), Representative Michelle Cook (D-Torrington) and Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone joined in a Mental Health and Addiction Forum at Torrington City Hall. The participants discussed the importance of mental health programs in the region and how the new bipartisan state budget impacts funding for those programs.

Hosted by the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network and other local nonprofit mental health and addiction programs, the meeting gave Litchfield County residents an opportunity to share their  concerns about protecting the future and quality of mental health and substance abuse services.

The state budget that recently passed with bipartisan support preserves services offered by the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network and does not cut mental health and substance abuse treatment grants.

“Even in a challenging budget year, when the state was facing historic budget deficits, it was a priority among lawmakers to ensure the state is properly funding mental health and substance abuse treatment grants,” said Sen. Witkos. “In addition, at a time when the opioid crisis is so devastating throughout our state we have to work together to make sure state policies help people access treatment and focus on preventative methods to stop the epidemic in its tracks. Thousands of people across our state struggle with these issues on a daily basis. It is something that touches all of us, directly or indirectly. It is also something that we need to talk about more. We need to eliminate the stigma, and we need to continue the conversations about how we can help people who are suffering.”

“I am proud to say that in Northwestern Connecticut, we are at the forefront of helping people get the services they desperately need,” said Rep. Wilson.  “Having experienced some personal family tragedy around mental health, I am familiar with the struggle that families face in supporting loved ones, and the need for accessible treatment and services. There is still much work to do and needs to fill. Coordination of resources and continued funding remain priority issues that I will continue to fight for. It is my hope that in the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers  can  work to shift funds from overfunded areas to core services, like mental health and addiction services.”

“The Northwest Corner offers high quality public and private treatment options for people struggling with mental health and addiction issues, and we need to continue working to connect these resources in a way that increases access for residents,” Rep. Cook said. “Progress happens when we recognize addiction as a disease that requires treatment just like any other medical issue. We need to work with insurance companies, service providers, and all of the other resources available to provide all-encompassing quality care that will help those who are struggling rebuild their lives.”