May 24, 2016 Milford, CT – Bridges’  Behavioral Health Home program staff held a Wellness Fair at the agency on Wednesday, May 24 to promote it’s Behavioral Health Home program and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month. Nearly 70 clients and staff at from the agency took part in activities ranging from blood pressure screenings to Tai Chi and Yoga classes. St. Vincent’s Hospital provide its’ mobile mammogrpahy van for the day and over a dozen women received a mammogram, some for the very first time.  Exhibitors included NAMI and NA. Genoa Healthcare, the onsite pharmacy at Bridges provided a healthy tailgate luncheon, with fresh grilled veggie burgers. Speakers discussed nutrition and tobacco cessation techniques. Therapy dogs visited throughout the day.

Behavioral Health Home is a State of CT project designed to address barriers to necessary medical care faced by low-income individuals with mental illness. Studies show 68% of people with mental illness have a least one chronic medical condition like diabetes or heart disease, and those with severe mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than the general population. The goal is to improve clients’ health and quality of life, extend their lives, and reduce hospital visits and lower health costs. Under the BHH program, Bridges’ staff coordinate all aspects of client’s mental health and primary care and provide wellness activities like healthy cooking classes. Currently more than 160 clients take part in the program at Bridges.