Thomas Morton Center educates residents on behavioral health for National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Johnathon Garcia is a volunteer at the nonprofit, which he says is helping to educate the public about schizophrenia.

Abby Del Vecchio and Frank Recchia

Jun 30, 2023, 4:48 PM

Updated 290 days ago

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As National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month begins Saturday, a Bridgeport man with schizophrenia says a local nonprofit has helped him tackle life with schizophrenia and also help others along the way.
Johnathon Garcia, of Bridgeport, says he is finally on a good path in life thanks to the Thomas Morton Center.
"There's definitely a stigma and misunderstanding," says Garcia. "I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2014."
Garcia is a volunteer at the nonprofit, which he says is helping to educate the public about schizophrenia.
Garcia says he does not like to term it mental illness. He prefers to say behavioral health.
"It needs to be understood better," he says.
Executive director Bill Colson says he faces a major obstacle when it comes to getting people in Bridgeport to seek treatment for behavioral health issues.
"Because there's such a stigma about getting services through mental health in communities of color," said Colson.
During National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month this July, Colson has a simple but powerful message about behavior health.
It's the same as having any other health care issue," Colson says.
The new multimillion-dollar Thomas Merton Family Center is set to open on the West End by Christmas.


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