Individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems live, work and contribute to our communities.
Opening the conversation around these issues in Granby and in the Farmington Valley can lead to healthier, happier and more just communities. In order to do this, Granby needs clear, measurable action on community resources and mental illness prevention and treatment. A community resource center could be a catalyst for community participation and engagement for those who are marginalized here, in our own community of Granby.
In 2019 in Granby alone, 178 people received treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. In Connecticut treatment was most common for the following drugs: alcohol, heroin and marijuana. For the State of Connecticut, the most common diagnoses included: substance-related and addictive disorders, depressive disorders, schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, and bipolar and related disorders. We need to create a strong community network for those affected by mental illness so that we can provide a safety net for those who need it the most.
A community resource and health center could provide adult education, counseling, internships, help for job seekers, and community participation through volunteer opportunities and non-competitive employment. The subsidized health services that could be included would not be limited to mental health, but could be extended to visiting doctors, nurses, and resources for dental and vision not covered under insurance. Outreach and advocacy for those facing legal trouble could be provided. Religious services for individuals of all faiths could be held. The center would be a hub of community engagement and outreach.
This resource center for adults is best placed in a school. The Kearns School building is an opportunity for the Town of Granby to revitalize its community services. Our town has an obligation to support those who are in poverty, homeless or affected by mental illness. Many times, people are experiencing a combination of these issues at the same time.
It is not enough to expect private charity and community organizations to uphold our values. Our local government needs to step in for the ones who are most in need. We have services for youth, seniors, great police and fire departments, yet no one is there for the people who get left behind.