Bridges’ Supporting Our Students project staff include (from left to right) Meredith Lall, LPC, Coordinator of School-Based Services, Melissa Jacob, LCSW, Director of Child Outpatient Services & Care Coordination and Rebecca Halbert, LCSW, Project Coordinator.

Bridges Healthcare Receives Federal Grant for Expanding School-Based Trauma Treatment

Bridges Healthcare Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a five-year $600,000 annual grant by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through the National Child Trauma Stress Initiative (NCTSI).  Bridges has been selected as one of 28 agencies nationally to receive this funding.

SAMHSA’s NCTSI improves treatment and services for children, adolescents, and families who have experienced traumatic events. Its goal is to transform mental health care for children and adolescents affected by trauma by improving the quality of community-based trauma treatment and services and increasing access to effective trauma-focused interventions.

“Bridges Healthcare is very excited to have received funding from SAMHSA through the National Child Trauma Stress Initiative to best respond to the increasing mental health needs of youth in the Milford and West Haven communities,” says Bridges CEO and President Jennifer Fiorillo.  “Having a greater presence in the schools will increase the likelihood that kids will access necessary treatment to address trauma and resulting emotional and behavioral issues that we have seen a spike in throughout the last several years since the COVID pandemic.  We look forward to expanding our partnerships with the West Haven and Milford school systems.”

Through this Supporting Our Students project, Bridges will offer evidence-based treatment services for children and teens who have a history of trauma (which can be caused by a variety of things, including abuse, grief, loss, accidents, and natural disasters) at West Shore Middle School and Jonathan Law High School in Milford and Carrigan-Intermediate School and West Haven High School in West Haven. The schools chosen will allow Bridges to expand its care presence in the Milford and West Haven school systems and serve more students by meeting them where they are, reducing barriers to care.

Another component of the grant is trauma screening and training, which will be developed in collaboration with the Child Health and Development Institute so school staff or social workers can identify students suffering from traumatic stress and refer them to this program.

According to Melissa Jacob, Bridges’ Director of Child Outpatient Services and Care Coordination, “This grant gives us an opportunity to expand our school-based services and allow for a greater number of children in West Haven and Milford to receive evidence-based practices (EBPs). These EBPs have been used in Connecticut for many years and have shown wonderful outcomes. What we know is that when kids are able to manage their symptoms, they are better able to focus in school, and peer relationships improve. We are excited to be able to offer these services to more children and families in our local communities.”

The evidence-based practices include TFCBT (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy), EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing), CBITS (cognitive behavioral intervention for trauma in schools), and MATCH (modular approach for treatment of children with depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and trauma).  The grant funding will allow Bridges to reach 100 children/teens in the first year, scaling up to 160 in years 2 through 5 for a total of 740 students served over the course of the grant.

The grant provides funding for four full-time clinicians (one at each school), a case manager, and a project coordinator. Staff hiring and training are underway, with a target implementation of February of 2024.

Should you have additional questions about this announcement or would like to learn more, please contact Allison Csonka in our Communications Department at 203.878.6365 ext. 337

Bridges is Hiring Clinicians for School-Based Services

Bridges is seeking clinicians to provide school-based services in Milford and West Haven schools. If you or anyone you know may be interested in one of these openings, please click the link below to apply and become a valued member of our community of caring, skilled, and reliable professionals.