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Wellmore Behavioral Health School Crisis Staff ‘Stand Down’ In Newtown

Eighteen months after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Wellmore Behavioral Health will now ‘stand down’ from its intensive, crisis response and school-based recovery effort but will remain a part of the plan for longer term community support. 

The Waterbury-based Wellmore Behavioral Health was among the earliest responders on site on December 14, 2012, sending nearly two dozen mental health professionals through its Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service (EMPS), a program funded by the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families. 

Since the moments after the shooting, Wellmore has served over 700 children, parents, educators and families through on-site counseling, home-based outreach, community meetings and school-based care. 

A compliment of five specialized therapists under the direction of Dr. Marcy Kane, Wellmore Vice President of Children’s Services, worked in the Newtown elementary and middle schools under the SERV grant through the end of this school year. 

The District recently sent a letter to parents informing them of the completion of the Wellmore school-based role and the transition of those services to District staff. 

“We want to thank the children, families, educators, police, district staff, colleagues and members of the recovery effort for their trust, prayers, partnership and support over the last year and a half”, said Gary M. Steck, Wellmore C.E.O.  “We are honored to have been asked to help, but it is now time for us to step down from the high level of intensive crisis response and move into a new role”, he added. 

Wellmore plans to open an office in Newtown in the coming months with the support of funds from a Department of Justice grant.  The grant provides resources for several staff to offer Trauma-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), a specialized, evidence based treatment model. 

Although no longer based in Newtown Schools, the Wellmore Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service will continue as a resource for children and adolescents in need.  To access EMPS twenty four hours a day, please dial 211.  For more information about Wellmore Behavioral Health, please visit our website at www.wellmore.org.  

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