The Connection Program
The Connection Program is a research study for people who’ve been having unusual thoughts and behaviors, or have been hearing or seeing things that others don’t.
Our goal is to help you handle these experiences and to help you feel better. You’ll get the care and treatment you need so you can do better at work or at school, get along better with others and feel more in control of your life .
The Connection Program is a national study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and led by Dr. Lisa Dixon at Columbia University/NYSPI and Dr. Melanie Bennett at the University of Maryland.
Treatment centers are located in Baltimore, Maryland and New York City (Manhattan).
Do I have the kinds of problems that the Connection Program can help with?
Did you know that some people hear things or see things that others don’t? They might also have strange thoughts or believe things that aren’t really true. If these things are happening to you, you’re not alone. The Connection Program was developed to help people like you.
Our health professionals respect your concerns and will take your problems seriously. We are here to listen and to help you to feel better and get well.
What happens when I participate in the Connection Program?
When you participate, you’ll get help and support services from health professionals for up to two years. And your practitioners will talk to you about your personal goals and help you to recover so you can live a happy, fulfilling life. You will receive:
- Care and support services for up to 2 years, based on your needs and preferences
- Medication treatment, if you or your doctor decide that it is needed
- Interviews every 3 to 6 months to monitor how you are feeling
Rather than working with just one mental health professional, you will be able to work with an entire team that will focus on your situation, your needs, and your goals. This team consists of a team leader who will offer you and your family counseling and support, a psychiatrist who will offer you the best medicine available, a skills trainer that will offer you the ability to learn new and important skills and also help you with substance use problems if you have any, and a supportive education/employment staff member who will offer you help in getting back to school or finding a job.
Why should I participate in a research study?
By participating, you will get the help you need. You will also help researchers develop better ways to treat people who are having the same kinds of experiences as you are. Lack of health insurance is not a barrier to participation in the Program.
How do I talk to my family and friends about my problems?
If you are under 18 years of age, you need a parent’s or guardian’s permission to participate in the Connection Program. Talking to your family about your problems may be hard but it’s important so that others can understand and support you in getting the help you need.
You can talk about the kinds of experiences you’re having and how they make you feel. You might be afraid that something bad will happen. Tell them about how your problems are affecting your schoolwork or your relationships. Maybe you’re having trouble concentrating in class, or maybe you’ve lost interest in your friends.
A good idea is to have your parent or guardian look at this site and read about the Connection Program. It will help them to know that there are others who have the same experiences you’re having and that getting help is important.
How do I participate in the Connection Program?
To be eligible to participate, you must:
- Be between the ages of 15 (16 in New York) and 35
- Have started experiencing unusual thoughts and behaviors, or hearing or seeing things that others don’t over the last two years
- Be willing to have an evaluation by a team of health professionals
How do I get more information about the Connection Program?
You can get more information by calling New York (888) 864-5911 or Maryland (888) 684-5458. Someone will listen to you about your problems and help you learn more about how the Connection Program can help you. If you prefer, you can send us a note. You can also download a brief brochure about the program in New York or in Maryland.
ARRA FUNDING INFORMATION
The Connection Program is being funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN-271-2009-00020C.