As a Local Mental Health Authority, Rushford Helps People Find a Path to Independence

Having a mental health issue, even a serious one, does not necessarily mean you can’t maintain a meaningful and independent lifestyle.

As the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) for the Meriden/Wallingford region, Rushford works with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to provide comprehensive treatment and support programming to those suffering from serious mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and others.

The LMHA designation is given to select agencies across the state which receive state funding to meet the full range of needs for those suffering from severe and persistent mental illness – including clinical treatment, counseling and assistance with housing, food, employment and other basic needs.

“In our role as LMHA, we make sure each of our clients receives the level of personalized care they need to help treat their disorders and ultimately build an independent life for themselves,” said Monika Gunning, LCSW, Rushford’s director of adult services. “It’s really about reaching out to those with severe mental illness disorders, and giving them the resources they need.”

One of Rushford’s primary focuses in its role as LMHA over the past year has been programming for young adults. The organization’s Young Adult Services program works closely and comprehensively with young people 18 and over, most of whom have spent much of their childhoods raised under the supervision of the state Department of Children and Families. Once they turn 18, these young people are no longer under state supervision, and LMHA’s such as Rushford are charged with helping them transition to a more independent lifestyle while making sure they continue to get the clinical care they need. The Rushford program received initial funding for the Young Adult Services Program in 2015, and it has continued to grow both in reach and impact.

  • “In our role as LMHA, we make sure each of our clients receives the level of personalized care they need to help treat their disorders and ultimately build an independent life for themselves.”

    - Monika Gunning, LCSW, Rushford’s director of adult services

Gunning said clients in the program receive help with everything from finding a place to live to getting a driver’s license to helping with their grocery shopping. At the same time, staff regularly check up with clients to make sure they do not miss appointments for clinical care and counseling.

Another prominent focus of Rushford’s LMHA designation is an effort to help reduce medical costs associated with caring for adults with severe mental illnesses, which averages about $10,000 a year per patient in Connecticut. A program at Rushford called Behavioral Health Home encourages clients to focus on taking part in wellness and prevention programs to help them avoid regular visits to hospital emergency rooms or other acute care centers. The program has already proven to be highly successful in helping patients take basic steps to prevent serious health issues from developing down the road, Gunning said.

Services provided by Rushford under its LMHA designation

Community Support Program which function as case management services for clients in need
Mobile Crisis Services
Respite Beds to prevent clients from being hospitalized
Social clubs
Supportive Housing

Community-Based Initiative
Shelter Plus Homeless Outreach Program
Residential Housing – located at Camp Street and Parker North in Meriden
Kuhn Employment Services