7 ways Newtown changed Connecticut’s mental health system

By Arielle Levin Becker, CT Mirror

The massacre at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School inspired a new focus on mental health in Connecticut and across the country. State lawmakers made several changes to the system in a high-profile gun control, school safety and mental health law passed in April. Here’s a look at what’s changing.

1. The state now tracks people who have voluntarily committed themselves and prohibits them from owning guns for 6 months.

Hospitals must report to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) the names of people who voluntarily commit themselves to psychiatric hospitals. The information is also shared with the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and the person is prohibited from owning a firearm or getting a permit within six months. The provision is controversial and has drawn criticism from psychiatrists and advocates for people with mental illness, who worry it could discourage people from seeking treatment. The post-Sandy Hook legislation also extended the period of time that people who are involuntarily committed by a probate court are prohibited from owning a firearm from one year to five.

Status: The tracking system, run by DMHAS, has been up and running since Oct. 1.

Funding: $645,000 per year

2. The state is getting five new teams to provide intensive support to people with serious mental illness.

Laura Magisano, team leader for an Assertive Community Treatment Team run by Community Mental Health Affiliates in New Britain

Connecticut already has four Assertive Community Treatment Teams, which work with people with serious, persistent mental illness, providing support that can help them live in the community…


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