In The News

New Opportunity for CT Schools to Strengthen Student Mental Health Supports

Published April 21, 2024   |   Updated July 11, 2024

CONNECT Logo.pngWhen it comes to student mental health, many schools and districts wish they had more time to plan, evaluate, follow up, and do more to prevent students' behavior and symptoms from escalating. But with youth mental health needs increasing nationwide since the pandemic, many schools and districts report feeling like they're stuck in "crisis" mode.
CHDI works with schools and districts in Connecticut and beyond to help them strengthen their mental health systems and supports using a Comprehensive School Mental Health (CSMH) approach. This proactive, team-based approach helps schools and districts strengthen collaboration with community-based services, increase behavioral health knowledge among all staff and students, implement trauma-informed, evidence-based supports, and build a culture that supports the well-being of the entire school community. 
We are currently recruiting Connecticut schools to participate in a new, federally-funded, multi-year CSMH initiative: CONNECTing Schools to Care IV Students. The goal of CONNECT IV is to expand and sustain the state's behavioral health system for children through expansion of trauma-informed, comprehensive school mental health supports, ensuring youth are linked to equitable and appropriate services and supports. 

Goals for Participating Schools Include:

Graphic illustrating goals of CONNECT IV schools as described in text of the news story.

Schools and districts can apply to participate at three different levels, based on their need and capacity:

Level 1 Schools will receive:

  • A School Mental Health Needs Assessment using the SHAPE System
  • Technical Assistance from CHDI
  • SHAPE Results Review

Level 2 Schools will receive:

  • All Level 1 components
  • An implementation plan with custom goals based on your SHAPE results
  • Behavioral health training opportunities for staff and families
  • Regional learning communities

Level 3 Schools will receive:

  • All Level 1 and 2 components
  • Ongoing technical assistance and support throughout the year
  • Quality improvement and evaluation support
  • Implementation of a peer support program (middle & high schools only)
Funding incentives are available based on the school's level of participation.
Schools participating in CONNECT IV will also have opportunities to incorporate other CHDI-led practices and initiatives into their school mental health plans over time, such as piloting a new peer support program, evidence-based practices like CBITS and Bounce Back, and the Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative.
Download our flyer for more details (or to share with your network)!

How to Apply

CHDI is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis from Connecticut schools and districts to participate in CONNECT IV. The first step is to contact us to discuss your school or district's need and capacity so that we can match you to the appropriate resources.
To learn more or apply, please contact Project Coordinator Mackenzie Wink:
Mackenzie Wink, Ph.D - Project Coordinator


CONNECT IV is the fourth phase of the state's Connecting to Care initiative, made possible through a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). CONNECT partners include CHDI, Carelon Behavioral Health, FAVOR, Inc., The Consultation Center at Yale, and DCF.

Learn more about Connecting to Care: