NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to educate people about mental health issues and to reduce the stigma surrounding this widespread issue.

CT Style Host Natasha Lubczenko recently met with Alison Friar, Vice President of Family Support Services at local nonprofit, The Connection, who shared information about the many ways people are experiencing challenges with their mental health, and where to find support:

•           Currently, 1 in 5 Americans are suffering with mental health symptoms

•           There can be as much as an 11-year difference between when someone experiences their first mental health symptoms and when they actually receive or seek treatment.

•           Untreated mental health issues can negatively impact physical wellness, causing
diseases such as COPD, diabetes, even obesity.

•           In the past, there has been a stigma surrounding mental health issues, and people were uncomfortable talking about it. Now, with the impact of COVID-19, the silver lining is that people have begun talking more openly, about how isolation and illness has affected their mental health.

•           Treatment of all types is readily available across the state of Connecticut.
The Connection runs the Center for Behavioral Health, located in Norwich.
There, they offer treatment for substance use and mental health symptoms.

•           To raise awareness and reduce stigma, The Connection is hosting its Motorcycle Ride for Recovery on May 22nd. The event begins in Hartford and ends in Middletown. For additional information and to register or support, please visit their website.

•           To  learn more about local programs available to support your mental health, visit
The Connection’s website:                       

The Connection operates more than 40 programs across the state of Connecticut that help people with the complex challenges surrounding homelessness, substance abuse treatment, behavioral healthcare, child welfare, and people returning to their communities from incarceration.