Fairfield family who lost son to mental illness now answers the call to help community

Health

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)– As we come out of the pandemic, you may think anyone who has been struggling mentally will feel better naturally. But sadly, it’s far from over. We revisited a Fairfield family who lost their son and now say they’re answering the call for help in their community.

It’s been three months since their son Kevin lost his battle with mental illness, taking his own life in their Fairfield home.

RELATED: Youth in Crisis: COVID pandemic isolation has created mental, physical struggle for youths, teens

“We have days that are bad and days that are not as bad as the day before,” said Kuczo.

And it’s been three months since Jim and Kristin Kuczo have been left to realize their own new purpose in life.

“Kristen and I talked to every young child that we could .. and there were some that said ‘yes, I’m going through mental issues myself,'” said Kuczo.

Over the last three months their phone has been busy. They’ve answered the call to speak publicly at youth sporting events, like before a lacrosse game, about mental illness. And they’ve become a shoulder to lean on individually.

“‘Hey Jim, we’re running into some psych issues with our daughter. You’re the first person I thought of,'” said Kuczo.

And taken private calls for help..

“I’m starting to look at my own kids health issues in a different way, you’re making a difference,” said Kuczo.

While he may be making a difference, he knows real help is needed.

“Right this second we are concerned and we have seen an increase in suicidal ideation,” said Tim Marshall.

Tim Marshall, with the Department of Children and Families says kids are a high-risk right now coming out of a pandemic and going back to school, so if you need help immediately call 211 today.

“We have the Child Mobile Crisis Intervention service system in Connecticut,” said Marshall. “When you dial 211, you will be prompted on two occasions to hit 1…and then hit 1 again. The crisis counselors will generally pick up the phone within a minute or less.”

There’s more help available in your community if that’s not what you’re looking for. Kuczo says whatever you do … don’t wait.

“The quicker you can start doing all this stuff. And it’s not easy, it’s not easy. Getting these doctors, getting the right medication.The sooner you start, you might be able to save your child’s life,” said Kuczo.

That’s 211 you want to call … then hit 1…and 1 again when prompted. That will get you directly to help. It’s all about seeking help.

Tonight at 11 p.m., we’ll walk you through more options in your community. Also throughout the month, News 8 is partnering with Mental Health Connecticut – if you need information or to be connected to services you can call the number on your screen 1-800–842-1501.

Resource and information links:

  1. Mobile Crisis Intervention Services for Children

Dial 2-1-1 prompt 1 prompt 1 – https://www.mobilecrisisempsct.org

  1. Child Guidance Centers or Outpatient Clinics
  1. Care Coordination (funded by DCF)

See attached 2021 Care Coordination teams:

Family Resources In CT | WrapCT Family Care Coordinators (connectingtocarect.org) or https://www.connectingtocarect.org/families/

  1. Youth Service Bureaus

Find A YSB (ctyouthservices.org) or https://www.ctyouthservices.org/Find_A_YSB/

 RED FLAGS: Know the Warning Signs | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

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