Recovery For All CT, a statewide coalition working to eliminate systematic inequalities in Connecticut, went to the State Capitol in Hartford on Wednesday, Feb. 23 to advocate for mental health services.
Recovery For All CT (@Recovery4AllCT) tweeted photos of the meeting from Wednesday night and explained their cause. They called for “deep investments in mental health and addiction services.” The group made their presence known, projecting their mission statements across the Capitol building in large, capitalized text:
“EXPAND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES.”
“NEED A LIFE-SAVING BUDGET.”
“EXPAND SERVICES TO SAVE LIVES.”
Members of Recovery For All CT stood in front of the messages, waving flags and holding signs. “Connecticut is in crisis,” Recovery For All CT said via Twitter.
According to Kaiser Family Foundation, Connecticut meets only 14.9% of its need for mental health professionals, compared to the national percentage, 28.1%, for needs met. KFF also found that 23.9% of Connecticut adults who have reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder had unmet needs for counseling or therapy.
CSU-AAUP, the union for the faculty of the Connecticut State Universities, promoted the meeting on their Twitter account (@CSUAAUP). Madeline St. Amour, the Director of Communications for CSU-AAUP, said the union works with Recovery For All CT as well as other local organizations on “many issues.”
St. Amour said that members of CSU-AAUP were unable to attend the meeting in Hartford due to scheduling conflicts, but the union fully supports their mission, hence why they advertised it on their social media. “We hope to become more involved over time,” she said.
Although CSU-AAUP mainly works to negotiate labor contracts for faculty, they also advocate for certain legislation to support not only their members, but also the students at each of the CSU. They asked their supporters to send letters to members of the Children’s, Public Health and Higher Education committees to call on them to “do something about mental health services for college students” in a post on Action Network.
In the post, CSU-AAUP said that most of the CSU do not meet recommended standards for student to mental health counselor ratio at colleges. They said that when colleges don’t have enough counselors, students may be unable to receive the services they need and they may experience “increased mental health issues.”
The union has met just over 70% of their goal with 9,028 of 12,800 letters sent. St. Amour said they have to wait for the legislative session to progress before they can determine if they have made an impact, but the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee has yet to include a mental health bill in its public hearings. “Hopefully in the future, all universities in the state will be required to meet the national counselor to student ratio recommendations, as this is what our students deserve,” St. Amour said.