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Connecticut Mental Health Services Guide

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 


While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.


When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?


Few private mental health providers are able to immediately serve people in crisis, while most state mental health systems, including Connecticut's, have crisis response teams that help people get mental health care quickly in an emergency. This usually makes public mental health programs the best option if you're having a mental health crisis and need help right away. The people who answer state crisis lines can provide caring attention and support as they help you determine the best response to a crisis, whether it's inpatient treatment or an appointment with a counselor.


Public community mental health programs in Connecticut are called local mental health authorities (LMHAs). In addition to affordable therapy, LMHAs provide specialized and intensive services that aren't available anywhere else or that are hard to find in private clinics, like case management, psychosocial rehabilitation, and day treatment programs. Consider going to an LMHA if you need intensive treatment, live in an area with limited mental health resources, or can't access mental health care in the private sector due to your diagnosis or financial situation.

Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Connecticut?


Connecticut's public mental health system focuses on serving people who have serious mental illness (SMI). Per the website for River Valley Services, a state-run LMHA, this includes people who "have, or appear to have, a prolonged severe mental illness or significant mental health service needs who cannot access services elsewhere."


The website for the state-run Capitol Region Mental Health Center provides another definition, stating that it serves "people who often do not have access to private behavioral health services and have severe psychiatric disabilities which result in challenges in the areas of social and occupational functioning, managing one's illness successfully, and living independently in the community."


Conditions frequently listed as serious mental illnesses include psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. However, other conditions may qualify as SMI as well. Serious mental health conditions are primarily defined by their impact on a person's functioning. If your mental health condition has made it extremely difficult or impossible for you to maintain employment or housing, for example, you may qualify as having an SMI.


Connecticut prioritizes public mental health services for people who have limited income and who qualify for Medicaid (HUSKY in Connecticut) or who have no insurance coverage. In most cases, public mental health programs refer people with private insurance "to community agencies who accept such insurance or to their insurance company for network providers." Exceptions are made for people whose private insurance plans "cannot adequately address" their mental health needs.


Some LMHAs in Connecticut are directly operated by the state, while others are operated by private non-profit programs that contract with the state to provide LMHA services. The state also funds independent non-profit programs who coordinate with LMHAs to deliver additional services. Depending on funding levels and on program-specific eligibility criteria, some publicly-funded programs may be able to serve people with less severe mental health conditions. 


The best way to find out if you can get low-cost counseling at a public mental health program in Connecticut is to call your local program and ask. Even if you don't qualify, intake staff can often give you free referrals to nonprofit programs and other affordable local providers. 

How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Connecticut?


The best way to find out about your local LMHA in Connecticut is to call the program directly. We've listed contact information for all Connecticut LMHAs, regional mental health crisis lines, and other state-funded adult mental health providers below. 


Connecticut has many excellent mental health directory and search sites. You can call 2-1-1 Connecticut or use their website to find out which public and non-profit mental health programs serve your area. You can call Mental Health Connecticut's Information Line (1-800-842-1501) for help getting connected with recovery-oriented mental health resources. The Connecticut Network of Care and Turning Point CT offer online directories and search engines designed to help people find local mental health services. 


Connecticut's Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers

Region One (Southwest Connecticut)


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 1 and 2: 
    • o   F. S. DuBois Center(Stamford)
      • Main Number: (203) 388-1600
      • Crisis Line: (203) 358-8500 or (800) 586-9903
      • Serving the towns of Byram, Cos Cob, Darien, East Norwalk, East Portchester, Georgetown, Glenbrook, Glenville, Green Farms, Greenwich, New Canaan, Noroton, Noroton Heights, Norwalk, Old Greenwich, Riverside, Rowayton, Saugatuck, South Norwalk, Springdale, Stamford, Weston, Westport, and Wilton


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 3 and 4:
    • o   Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center(Bridgeport)
      • Main Number: (203) 551-7400
      • Crisis Line: (203) 358-8500 or (800) 586-9903
      • Information Line: (203) 551-7507
      • Outpatient Services: (203) 579-7300
      • Serving the towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Nichols, Southport, Stepney, Stevenson, Stratford, and Trumbull



Region Two (Southern Connecticut)


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 5:
    1. BHcare - Valley Office(Ansonia)
      • Main Number: (203) 736-2601 or (203) 800-7177
      • Crisis Line: (203) 736-2601
      • Serving the towns of Ansonia, Derby, Seymour, and Shelton


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 6:
    1. Bridges Healthcare(Offices in Milford, Orange, and West Haven)
      • Main Number and Crisis Line: (203) 878-6365
      • Serving the towns of Milford, Orange, and West Haven


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 7:
    1. Connecticut Mental Health Center(New Haven)
      • Main Number and Crisis Line: (203) 974-7300
      • Mobile Crisis Intervention Team: (203) 974-7713 
      • Alternate Crisis Line: (203) 974-7735
      • Serving the towns of Bethany, Hamden, New Haven, and Woodbridge


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 8: 
    1. BHcare - Shoreline Office(Branford)
      • Main Number: (203) 483-2630 or (203) 800-7177
      • Crisis Line: (203) 483-2630 or (203) 483-2650
      • Serving the towns of Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, and North Haven


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 9:
    1. Rushford Center(Offices in Meriden, Avon, Glastonbury, and Middletown)
      • Main Number: (203) 630-5280 or (877) 577-3233
      • Crisis Line: (800) 567-0902 or (203) 630-5305
      • Serving the towns of Meriden and Wallingford


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 10:
    1. River Valley Services(Offices in Middletown and Old Saybrook)
      • Main Number: (860) 262-5200
      • Crisis Line: (860) 344-2100 or (860) 262-5220
      • Middletown Office: (860) 262-5200
      • Old Saybrook Office: (860) 395-5040
      • Serving the towns of Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Middlefield, Middletown, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook



Region Three (Eastern Connecticut)


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 11 and 12:
    1. Southeastern Mental Health Authority(Norwich)
      • Main Number: (860) 859-4500
      • Crisis Line: (860) 886-9302
      • Serving the towns of Bozrah, Colchester, East Lyme, Franklin, Griswold, Groton, Ledyard, Lisbon, Montville, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Preston, Salem, Sprague, Stonington, Voluntown, and Waterford


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 13 and 14:
    1. United Services, Inc. (Offices in Dayville and Mansfield)
      • Main Number: (860) 774-2020
      • Crisis Line (Dayville): (860) 774-2020
      • Crisis Line (Willimantic): (860) 456-2261
      • Crisis Line (Columbia): (860) 228-4480
      • Dayville Office: (860) 774-2020
      • Mansfield Office: (860) 456-2261
      • Serving the towns of Ashford, Brooklyn, Cantebury, Chaplin, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Hampton, Killingly, Lebanon, Mansfield, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Scotland, Sterling, Storrs, Thompson, Union, Willington, Windham, and Woodstock



Region Four (Northern Connecticut)


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 15 and 17:
    1. Community Health Resources(Offices in Windsor, Bloomfield, Danielson, East Hartford, Enfield, Hartford, Manchester, Mansfield, and Willimantic)
      • Main Number: (860) 731-5522 or (877) 884-3571
      • Crisis Line: (877) 884-3571
      • Assessment Center: (877) 884-3571
      • Service Locations:
        • Bloomfield Office: (860) 243-6584
        • Danielson Office: (860) 774-7179
        • East Hartford Office: (860) 730-8811
        • Enfield Office: (860) 253-5020
        • Hartford Charter Oak Health Center: (860) 550-7559
        • Manchester Center for Health and Wellness: (860) 646-3888
        • Mansfield Office: (860) 456-0038
        • Willimantic Office: (860) 456-7200
      • Serving the towns of Amston, Andover, Bloomfield, Bolton, Broad Brook, Buckland, East Granby, East Hartland, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Granby, Hartland, Hazardville, Hebron, Manchester, Melrose, North Granby, Poquonock, Rockville, Scitico, Somers, Somersville, South Windsor, Stafford, Stafford Springs, Staffordville, Suffield, Talcottville, Thompsonville, Tolland, Vernon, Warehouse Point, Wapping, West Granby, West Suffield, Wilson, Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Windsorville


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 16:
    1. InterCommunity Health Care(Offices in East Hartford, Hartford, and South Windsor)
      • Main Number and Crisis Line: (860) 569-5900
      • Number for All Offices: (860) 569-5900
      • Serving the towns of East Glastonbury, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Maple Hill, Marlborough, Newington, Rocky Hill, South Glastonbury, and Wethersfield


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Areas 18 and 23:
    1. Capitol Region Mental Health Center(Hartford)
      • Main Number: (860) 297-0800
      • Crisis Line: (860) 297-0999
      • Intake and Referral: (860) 293-6363
      • Serving the towns of Avon, Canton, Canton Center, Collinsville, Elmwood, Farmington, Hartford, Simsbury, Tariffville, Unionville, Weatogue, West Hartford, and West Simsbury


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 19:
    1. Community Mental Health Affiliates(Offices in New Britain, Torrington, and Waterbury)
      • Main Number: (860) 826-1358
      • Crisis Line: (860) 224-3331
      • Adult Outpatient Services (New Britain): (860) 224-8192
      • Counseling Centers:
        • New Britain: (860) 223-2778
        • Torrington: (860) 482-8561
        • Waterbury: (203) 596-9724
      • Serving the towns of Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, East Berlin, Kensington, Marion, Milldale, New Britain, Pequabuck, Plainville, Plantsville, Plymouth, Southington, and Terryville



Region Five (Western Connecticut)


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 20:
    1. Western CT Mental Health Network – Waterbury Area(Waterbury)
      • Main Number: (203) 805-5300
      • Crisis Line: (866) 794-0021 or (203) 805-5480 or (888) 447-3339
      • Serving the towns of Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Lakeside, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oakville, Oxford, Prospect, South Britain, Southbury, Thomaston, Union City, Waterbury, Watertown, Waterville, Wolcott, and Woodbury


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 21:
    1. Western CT Mental Health Network – Danbury Area(Danbury)
      • Main Number: (203) 448-3200
      • Crisis Line (Danbury Hospital): (203) 739-7799
      • Serving the towns of Bethel, Botsford, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Brookfield Center, Danbury, Gaylordsville, Hawleyville, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Redding Center, Redding Ridge, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sandy Hook, Sherman, and West Redding


  • Local Mental Health Authority for Catchment Area 22: 
    1. Western CT Mental Health Network – Torrington Area(Torrington)
      • Main Number: (860) 496-3700
      • Crisis Line: (888) 447-3339 or (860) 482-1560
      • Serving the towns of Bantam, Barkhamsted, Canaan, Colebrook, Cornwall, Cornwall Bridge, Falls Village, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Kent, Lakeville, Limerock, Litchfield, Marble Dale, Morris, New Hartford, New Preston, Norfolk, North Canaan, North Kent, Northfield, Pine Meadow, Pleasant Valley, Riverton, Salisbury, Sharon, South Kent, Taconic, Torrington, Warren, Washington, Washington Depot, West Cornwall, West Goshen, Winchester, Winchester Center, and Winsted



Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Connecticut. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 


How Does Connecticut's Public Mental Health System Work?

In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. Many states' public mental health programs trace their origins back to this period.


While Connecticut founded its state Department of Mental Health in 1953, and opened the Connecticut Mental Health Center in 1966, it did not shift the focus of its public mental health system to building a statewide network of community-based services until 1977. One reason Connecticut took a little longer than some other states to make this shift was that it had already developed a robust private mental health system by the time President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act in 1963. 


Fueled by productive partnerships with Yale University, private mental health services in Connecticut were widely regarded as some of the best in the country in the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, its public system has caught up and is frequently at the top of national mental health rankings like Mental Health America's. Yale University continues to play a role, collaborating with the state to operate one of its largest LMHAs, the Connecticut Mental Health Center, and providing publicly-funded services in many other university-run clinics.


Public outpatient mental health services in Connecticut are managed on the state level by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). Some of Connecticut's 17 LMHAs, or public mental health agencies, are directly run by the state, while others are independent non-profits that contract with the state. In addition to the LMHAs, a diverse network of private non-profit agencies receive public funds and deliver public mental health services in Connecticut. The state's remaining inpatient psychiatric facilities are also directly operated by DMHAS.


According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 48 percent of people in Connecticut who have mental health conditions get treatment for them. One reason for the care gap is that people aren't aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including LMHAs and other publicly-funded clinics. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using your local mental health resources to get the care you need.

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