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NCRMHB, the City of Hartford, and Hartford City Councilmen Anderson and Deutsch hosted this “Health and Wellness Symposium” to provide information, resources and encouragement to Hartford residents who, due to barriers such as cultural norms, language differences, poverty, etc., struggle with limited access to behavioral health care and supports, poor health and quality of life.

In his keynote presentation, Dr. Gary Rhule, MD, MPH, challenged some of the myths and negative attitudes held about people who suffer from mental illness and addiction disorders in our communities, offering hope that recovery is possible and worth the investment of our entire community.

Four Hartford residents shared stories of their journey to wellness -- of the things that helped them get their lives back, the things that got in the way, and the things that were unique about their Asian-American, Latino, African-American, or Veteran’s experience. Local service providers shared resources and  Dr. Robert Painter moderated a discussion between the presenters, members of the audience and a panel of Hartford service providers to consider lessons we might  take away from their stories to help us foster greater health equity in our communities. 

NCRMHB and Community Renewal Team (CRT) hosted this “Veterans’ Behavioral Health Forum” in Hartford to showcase local resources and options available for veterans who have returned home from deployment, including mental health services, readjustment counseling, housing, career options, family support and federal benefits. 

After returning home from deployment, veterans can experience a number of debilitating mental health issues, including depression, addiction to alcohol or substances, suicide ideation or attempts, or posttraumatic stress disorder.  Unfortunately only 39% of veterans seek out the help they need when they return from war either because of stigma or because they don’t know where to turn. Strategies and skills that were necessary for survival in combat often hold them back from acknowledging and seeking help, hindering their readjustment to civilian and family life.  In addition to the emotional adjustment issues, returning veterans struggle with finding work, procuring housing and obtaining income and healthcare benefits. 

The forum was targeted towards educating and enlisting members of our communities, community leaders, human service workers, and local churches who encounter these veterans and their families who need help. 

Partial funding supporting this event was secured through a GroupOn Grassroots campaign.  GroupOn Grassroots uses a social media platform to enlist local community support for projects that address community issues. For more information about GroupOn Grassroots go to