Panel Discussion on Youth Mental Health Crisis – 11/3/21

October 27, 2021

Youth Mental Health Crisis: 

A Community Conversation on Children’s and Teen’s Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19

Expert Panel Moderated by State Sen. Tony Hwang

Wednesday, November 3rd, 7:00pm – in person**

Sacred Heart University (Location to be Determined)


Required EventBrite Registration:


Connecticut is in the midst of a mental health crisis among youth: Emergency rooms are struggling with a surge of children needing psychiatric care. Mental health clinicians have seen rates of youth anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation soar in the last year. Nationwide and here at home mental health issues have come to a head for many young people during COVID-19’s isolation and uncertainty.

What is the extent of this crisis?  What are the solutions? How can we help within our community and within our homes?

Connecticut State Senator Tony Hwang will moderate an expert panel on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, to share expert insight and answer these questions. This free community informational event: Youth in Crisis: A Community Conversation on Children’s and Teen’s Mental Health in the Age of COVID-19, will be held at the SHU Community Theater on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. Teens, young adults, parents and community leaders are encouraged to attend. 

Panelists include and subject to change:

  • Cay White, MD, Medical Director of The Child & Family Guidance Center (CFGC)
  • Jeffrey Vanderploeg, PhD, President of the Child Health & Development Institute of Connecticut
  • Tim Marshall, LCSW, Director, Office of Community Health, Connecticut Department of Children & Families
  • Michael Patota, MS, MSW, President/CEO The Child & Family Guidance Center

 “This forum is a rare and timely opportunity to bring key experts to the table and go beyond rhetoric,” Sen. Hwang said. “These panelists are leaders of agencies and organizations on the front lines of this. Their experience and insight is key to finding solutions.”

One of the organizations involved in the panel, The Child & Family Guidance Center (CFGC), has shared with Sen. Hwang the struggles many families have been facing in the last two years, in particular. CFGC is a nonprofit that provides mental health and substance use treatment and support services to children and families, regardless of their ability to pay. 

“We’re grateful to be part of a conversation, as it impacts each one of us living in Connecticut and Fairfield County,” said CFGC President & CEO Michael Patota. “When our children and youth are supported and receive the services and treatment they need, our communities get stronger as a whole.”

EventBrite Registration Link;

With questions on this forum, please contact the office of State Senator Tony Hwang, email: [email protected] or call his office 860-240-8805.


** Senator Hwang encourages everyone to be vaccinated against Covid-19 virus. Per CT Covid Health Regulations, capacity restrictions for gatherings and social events are eliminated. Masks are no longer required outdoors. Vaccinated persons are not required to wear a mask at indoor events. Unvaccinated individuals are still required to wear a mask indoors.