We are pleased to provide this annual report, which offers those who know Bridges well and those who wish to get to know the agency, facts and highlights of our 2015 fiscal year.
Our programs and services continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community. We know that many disorders begin to emerge in the teen years, yet are often undiagnosed and untreated until a crisis develops. Early identification and treatment can change the course or severity of a mental illness or addiction. The lives of the affected person, their family and others may be significantly less disrupted when quality care and support is provided in the early phase of an illness or addiction.
Bridges is proud to be one of three agencies in our state to offer CT STRONG - Healthy Transitions, an initiative that engages and connects young people ages 18 – 25 to high quality behavioral healthcare, with the goal of improving housing stability, health and mental health, education and employment for teens and young adults. The agency also received state funding to establish a drop-in resource center for transition age (18-25) young adults, who are having difficulty progressing to the independence and responsibilities of adulthood. The drop-in center will offer a safe and private, non-clinical space for young adults to meet with peers and staff to discuss concerns, make connections to health or behavioral health services, and access assistance for educational and employment opportunities. The center will open at the end of 2015.
In FY’ 2015, Bridges provided direct services to 1,683 adults and 470 children in our area. When combined with services for family members in a treatment plan, and all other programs including prevention, community and employment support and young adult services, Bridges touched the lives of over 9,000 people in the past year alone.
Following a year when Bridges faced one of the most significant financial challenges in our 59 year history, we can report that we have stabilized our budget and further reduced our operating costs to meet revenue forecasts. While cost-cutting measures often mean diminishing the level of services, our fiscal health is the foundation for everything else we do at Bridges, and must be managed accordingly.
To that end Bridges’ joined an important advocacy campaign, #PeopleMatter. Organized by the CT Community Providers Association, this initiative was created to raise awareness of how all people are harmed by uninformed budget cuts to the mental health, addictions and other services that help thousands of people live safe and healthy lives.
When faced with the reality that cutting vital services would almost certainly result in lives lost and families broken, Governor Malloy and our CT State Legislators restored $17 million of the $25 million in proposed budget cuts to the Governor’s 2016-17 biennial budget. At Bridges, we breathed a short-lived sigh of relief and got on with our mission to help people recover and achieve their goals. We could not do this without the support of the many individuals, businesses and community partners that help sustain this agency year after year.
Our legislators are still trying to remedy decades of financial missteps and the Governor has proposed budget rescissions once again. We continue to remind them that #PeopleMatter. We know the answers aren’t easy, but the solution cannot come at the cost of our most vulnerable citizens. The chronic underfunding of community behavioral health providers like Bridges impacts all residents of our area, and throughout the state.
We look forward to a new year and would like to note that in 2017, Bridges will celebrate 60 years of providing services in our community. We are planning a series of educational and community events on current trends and issues in mental health services and will recognize the many who support us in our mission. We hope you, our loyal and generous supporters and community members will join us as we honor our past, celebrate our present and prepare for a strong future of helping children, families, adults and young adults live healthy and productive lives.
With our best wishes for a healthy 2016!
Click the link below to download / view the full Annual Report