WHAT WE DO
Listen to Krissy on Kool Radio Spread Mental Health Awareness
Hear Krissy Dorsey, niece of Connie, talk more about how the CJK Foundation spreads mental health awareness through supporting research, individuals and families seeking treatment, and educational opportunities and what they're doing for Mental Health Month.
The CJK Foundation is hosting the second annual CJK Classic at Sloper in Southington on May 21st. The event includes yoga, a spike ball tournament, food, a DJ, a raffle with items from local businesses & more. All are welcome and we hope to see you there!
Reach In Campaign
Make the Call, Send the Text, Reach In.
Reaching out is often difficult for those in crisis — whether it be to a loved one, a therapist, or a hotline.
Our Reach In Campaign started off with a simple sticky note. In fall 2019, some of our CJK community were discussing how they would leave a sticky note on their fridge that simply said check and their daughter’s name. This reminded them to check-in, even when work and life got busy. After talking about their situation, and others similar to it, Reach In was born.
The campaign reminds friends and family to send a text, email, or call their loved ones who might be struggling, even when life gets busy. Reaching In is our way of reminding someone that we care and that they are important. It also helps caregivers, friends, and family notice changes in disposition and outlook.
Many people who go into crisis know that there are individuals and organizations to help them when they are feeling like their normal self — however, when they go through a dark period, the thought of reaching out even to someone they trust can feel daunting. Engaging those we care about to remind them they are valued may make a difference in recognizing the onset of a depressive period and alert loved ones to the need for immediate care. It also allows our personal connection to celebrate life’s positives.
Through Reaching In, more crises may be avoided and support systems will be strengthened and utilized consistently. Reaching In also reminds us that sometimes hard conversations need to happen and that one person can make a difference in a life.
Support One Family at a Time
Through our application process, individuals, families, and clinicians can contact CJKF to help get assistance with copays and other expenses associated with seeking treatment for a mental health diagnosis.
For those who are approved, payment will be made directly to their providers throughout treatment by the Foundation. Other types of assistance are available to individuals and families based on their needs.
Community Outreach and Support
CJKF works closely with other local mental health organizations to provide educational and outreach opportunities for schools, businesses, and groups.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The CJK Foundation has partnered with the Connecticut Chapter of AFSP to bring It’s Real and Talk Saves Lives to local groups and businesses.
Developed over years of clinical research alongside leading experts, these informative classes give individuals mental health basics and information on how to help those of all ages and backgrounds who may be in crisis.
For more information on these programs:
Mental Health First Aid
Identify. Understand. Respond.
The CJK Foundation was first introduced to the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program by a suicide loss survivor seeking a way to extend the legacy of her son, lost too soon to suicide. Through this meeting, the founders of The CJK Foundation recognized a direct way to raise awareness and increase responsiveness to the mental health crisis not only in their community, but in surrounding communities as well.
Established in Australia in 2001, MHFA was created with the hope of empowering individuals with the skills to identify and respond to someone developing a mental health condition or experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aid USA is an evidence-based program recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/faq/). It is the vision of MHFA to make their training as common and accessible as CPR and First Aid training.
As of October 2019, 27,032 First Aiders and 154 Instructors were trained in Connecticut, and more than 2 million First Aiders across the United States have been trained by over 15,000 instructors.
Through collaboration with Laura Coffin, LCSW, The CJK Foundation has now become a partner in sponsoring Mental Health First Aid Classes across Connecticut, as well as raising awareness of this valuable resource during community outreach opportunities. We hope that, through this partnership, more individuals will develop the skills, mental health literacy, and confidence to start the conversation about mental health or substance abuse concerns they observe in others.
(Include form for Mental Health First Aid Sponsorship Button)
For more information about Mental Health First Aid:
2018 MHFA Research Findings:
The CJK Foundation strives to support the continuation of innovative and client-focused research. To do so, it is vital to recruit and encourage professionals to dedicate their careers to understanding the underlying causes of mental illness, as well as developing evidence-based practices.
Often, those struggling with a mental health condition view ending their life as a solution to the problem of their chronic pain and suffering. With the continued development of more effective treatment options, those experiencing crisis may find hope in alternative solutions and care plans that better meet their needs and decrease the risk of future crises.
Yale Depression Research Program
The Yale Depression Research facility is host to several clinical studies and focuses its time on patients and positive patient outcomes. Through discussion of the different types of research conducted and how donations from The CJK Foundation will help further the progress of mental health research, the board determined that this is an important institution to support and aligns closely with the mission of the Foundation.
Statement from Dr. Sanacora | Director, Yale Depression Research Program
The Yale Depression Research Program has always been focused on attempts to use recent advances in neurobiology, medicine, and psychology to advance our understanding and treatment of mood disorders. Most recently, we have become highly focused on improving the ability to treat individuals struggling with suicidal ideation and behavior, especially through the use of treatments that may provide a rapid onset of benefits.
However, we do not believe the development of these rapid-acting treatments is the endgame. Our basic science laboratories are working to better understand the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis (causes) of mood disorders, and the mechanisms through which some of these novel treatments are working to relieve the symptoms, and hopefully improve resiliency.
Additionally, we are actively seeking federal, foundation, industry, and private support to help us expand our efforts in services research. This work will hopefully provide a means of more rapidly and efficiently disseminating the information obtained through these research efforts from the labs to the clinics, and allow us to pursue studies aimed more at prevention and longer-term treatment planning.
The Yale team has been a part of major developments in cutting-edge research for the causes and treatment of depression and other mental health issues. The CJK Foundation is happy to support the program to expand mental health education and research.
Massachusetts General Hospital PNGU Unit
The Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit (PNGU) at Massachusetts General Hospital is working to identify and characterize the genetic basis of these disorders and offer hope for improving treatment and prevention strategies.
Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders are common, costly, and often disabling conditions that affect individuals throughout their lives. Disability associated with neuropsychiatric disorders exceeds that of other medical illnesses, and psychiatric disorders are also associated with premature mortality. Familial and genetic factors are the most substantiated risk factors for a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders.
In 2020, The CJK Foundation decided to use our funds allocated for research to support the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. The research being conducted by the PNGU will help us better understand how mental health traits and conditions are passed genetically through families and hopefully lead to better treatment outcomes.
Abdul Majid Karim Hasan Islamic Center
In September of 2020, The CJK Foundation assisted the health and wellness committee of the Abdul Majid Karim Hasan Islamic Center in Hamden, CT.
“The committee had a goal to help individuals recognize the importance of becoming his/her own health advocate through education and practice, gaining the necessary tools to reach out and help our greater community,” said Tanya Howell, Health and Wellness Chair for AMKH. “It was important to accomplish this goal by funding our training in one of the most critical areas of health, Mental Health. We are proud to say that our entire health team, including our Imam, is now Mental Health First Aid Certified.”