Bridges: Sixty Years of Community-based Mental Health

For sixty years, Bridges in Milford has provided mental health care in the community.

At a time when mental health funding continues to fall short of meeting the need, Bridges remains more committed than ever to treating people, regardless of their income levels, who suffer from opioid addiction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental health disorders.

"We look forward to further expansion of our healthcare system as we respond to increasing difficulties on the behavioral health horizon, including the opioid epidemic and rising suicide rates," says Bridges President & CEO Barbara DiMauro. "While the continuing budget crisis in the state has been of great concern to us, our goal, as always, is to remain a premier provider of healthcare services over the next six decades, and beyond."

Now sixty years old, Bridges began as a guidance clinic for small children and has grown to a mid-sized mental health agency with 17 programs that yearly serve about 5,000 patients ranging from children to adults. Programs include comprehensive mental health and addictions services and primarily serve low-income residents living in Milford, Orange, and West Haven, with several programs reaching residents from Ansonia, Bethany, Derby, Seymour, Shelton, and Woodbridge.

At the heart of every Bridges program is a focus on person-centered support. This individualized approach encompasses a wide range of services including 24-hour mental crisis support, tobacco cessation programs, vocational training, psychiatric services, and more.

One in five Americans live with a mental health condition, yet a majority (60 percent) received no mental health services in the past year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Bridges, with its focus on people with low incomes, works to remove cost as a barrier to mental health treatment. While most Bridges clients are insured by either Medicare or Medicaid, the reimbursement rates typically cover only half the costs of delivering services, according to Bridges. The clinic also depends on funding from the Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services, state and federal grants, town funding, individual contributions, and grants from foundations.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is a longtime funder of Bridges and has granted more than $267,000 to the organization in the past five years.

For more information about Bridges Healthcare, visit its profile on

Did you know?

125,000 Connecticut children have unmet mental health needs according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.