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  • The Narrative Project

Community Conversation Hosted by TCB Shines Light on The Need for Mental Health Resources


April 12, 2022

CONTACT Stacy Graham-Hunt 203.843.5991


Community Conversation Hosted by The Community Builders Shines Light on The Need for Mental Health Resources


New Haven, CT – The Community Builders, alongside community members and organizational leaders, hosted its second community conversation on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. “Build With Us: Mental Health is Community Health,” took place at Amistad Academy in the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven. Spanish language interpretation, as well as food and beverages, were provided to participants. Speakers included moderator Kyisha Velazquez, Licensed Professional Counselor and founder of KV Training and Consulting, Mary Guerrera, Executive Director of Fellowship Place, and Tirzah Kemp, Vice President of Community Support Services and Engagement at Clifford Beers, as well as TCB residents and community members. TCB's "Build With Us" series was born out of conversations with residents and their expressed desires to maintain and build a connected community. "We hope that community conversations like these will help give our residents the tools and resources they need to thrive in a positive, non-judgemental, community environment," said Nancy Cotto-Bowles, the Community Engagement Coordinator from TCB’s Kensington Square. "Mental health is a key component to overall wellness, both individually and as a community," said Kyisha Velazquez, a Licensed Professional Counselor and event moderator. “The ongoing pandemic, on top of our already challenging and busy lives and times, has only exacerbated our community’s ongoing mental health crisis. This community conversation is an important first step for residents and community members who fear the stigma of discussing their emotional wellbeing." "Income plays a significant role in mental health," said Tirzah Kemp, Vice President of Community Support Services and Engagement at Clifford Beers. “Worrying about how to put food on the table is extremely stressful." Over the course of the 90-minute roundtable discussion, neighbors and community members explored what mental health means to them, and what they felt was needed to ultimately build a more inclusive, more accepting, and stronger community together. “These are exactly the sorts of conversations that our communities should be having,” said Mary Guerrera, Executive Director of Fellowship Place, a New Haven based non-profit that provides therapeutic support and rehabilitation services for adults living with a mental illness. “We need to meet people where they are. By bringing discussions of mental health into the community, we can help break the stigma of discussing mental illness and show our neighbors that they’re not alone in their struggle, that they can find solidarity with their neighbors instead of shame.” The event was the second in a series hosted by The Community Builders in New Haven in recent months. In December, TCB organized a community conversation in the Dwight neighborhood to promote building safer communities. Local leaders discussed approaches to reduce violence and increase community engagement. Additional resources for community members and Dwight Neighborhood residents can be found at and For more information on the next community conversation, visit The Community Builders CT on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


ABOUT THE COMMUNITY BUILDERS The Community Builders’ mission is to build and sustain strong communities where all people can thrive. Our mission-driven businesses work with partners to develop, finance and operate residential communities, neighborhood amenities and opportunity programs for families, seniors and adults with disabilities. Since 1964, we have advanced housing equity through award-winning affordable and mixed-income communities and our pioneering Community Life model for resident success. Today, our ownership and management portfolio includes over 14,000 apartment homes. Anchored by offices in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, New York and Washington D.C., we operate across 15 states.

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