Stamford police spotlight Mental Health Awareness Month with 2nd annual community fair

They provided community resources, access to therapy dogs and activities for attendees.

Tom Krosnowski and Robyn Karashik

Apr 28, 2024, 10:19 PM

Updated 28 days ago


Stamford police got a jump-start on May’s Mental Health Awareness Month by hosting their second annual community fair.
The Stamford Police Department has maintained a behavioral health unit since 2020. It’s a collaborative effort between officers and social workers.
“We’re ensuring that we’re not criminalizing mental health,” said Carolina Grijalba-Rodriguez, of Recovery Network of Programs. “When we say we work side by side, I was in the police department 40 hours a week, working every waking moment with them together.”
Sgt. Adriana Molina of the Stamford Police Behavioral Health Unit said officers are well-versed in identifying mental health calls of and when to refer them to the unit.
“We assure the safety of the social workers and they provide the services,” said Molina.
Sunday afternoon’s mental health fair was all about spreading that message.
“We’re all looking to try to provide services for individuals and to minimize the suffering and the isolation,” said Molina. “The more we can go out and talk about it, the more we can address the issue.”
The roughly 40 vendors outside Stamford Police headquarters are just a sample of all the partnerships they’ve made over the last several years. They said the key to breaking down the stigma is events like these, so people know where they can turn to.
“We have many different agencies and we are all on the same page,” said Molina.
“I’m from this community, and I’m very aware that, even three years back, this service wasn’t available,” said Ariella Mendoza, a social worker with the Stamford Police Department. “I know that there’s a lot of families that we encounter that don’t need a police presence, they need a social worker. But the only number they know to call is 911. We’re here to bridge that gap.”
Anyone in need of services can contact the Stamford Police Department Behavioral Health Unit at (203) 977-1730.

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