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Connecticut Child Welfare Agency Funds Mental Health Treatments Arising From COVID

mental health scared eyes
Image by Nabiru Alby from Pixabay

Connecticut’s child welfare agency is funding access to over 60 mental health care providers who offer evidence-based practices to help children cope during the pandemic.

One woman, Jennifer, who asked to withhold her last name to protect her daughter's privacy, said her daughter struggled with anxiety before COVID-19.

Jennifer sought virtual treatment through The Village for Families in Hartford over the last year. Jennifer said her daughter connected with her therapist, who was also a woman of color.

“It’s challenging enough to go and ask for help when you’re experiencing mental health issues. And so it gave us peace to know that there was someone that mirrored my child and I think that she was more comfortable being with someone that looked like her and resembled her,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer said as a Caribbean Latina she understands the stigma around therapy in communities of color. She encourages parents to pay attention if their child is sleeping a lot or acting out, and consider reaching out for virtual mental health services by dialing 211 or visiting chdi.org/ebt.

Vanessa Dorantes is the commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families. She said the challenges of the pandemic might be hard on children.

“For families who may need some help, helping them navigate this on the other side of the pandemic. There is help, and there is strength in asking for help. Evidence based practices help provide a predictable roadmap for parents to count on and rely on,” Dorantes said.

Dorantes said the state is funding training and administration of over a dozen therapies to reduce outcome disparities between white children and Black and Latinx children. Many of them involve cognitive behavioral therapies with diverse therapists via telehealth.

Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.