Greenwich nonprofit offers a path for those living with mental illnesses

GREENWICH — Laura Heckman vividly recalls her cousin’s first mental health crisis. They were together in her New York City apartment in October 2017 when he told her that he believed he was God.

“It’s like a wall hits you, and it’s impossible to hide,” said Heckman, the new executive director at Pathways, a Greenwich organization that provides recreational and residential services to people living with severe mental illnesses.

Like many finding out about a loved one’s diagnosis, Heckman had more questions than answers about her cousin’s bipolar disorder. But as she watched him struggle with hallucinations and delusions, Heckman realized there was no quick solution.  More

Pathways breaks ground on new Fellowship Center in Cos Cob

GREENWICH — Supporters of Pathways, a Greenwich nonprofit that supports people living with chronic mental illnesses, broke ground Tuesday morning on its new Fellowship Center in Cos Cob.

The group demolished its former building at the same site and will now begin construction of its new 2,700-square-foot building at 8 Sinawoy Road. Construction is slated to take nine months to one year. More

Pathways makes way for new facility in Cos Cob

GREENWICH — For adults with chronic mental illnesses, a one-story doctor’s office that felt like a warren of tiny rooms was not a good fit for learning guitar, doing creative writing and practicing yoga.

But since 2010, that has been the home for Pathways, which offers programs and housing for adults with severe and prolonged mental illnesses. The situation is changing this summer, however, with demolition underway of the old building, making way for a new, 2,700-square-foot space at 8 Sinawoy Road.

“That building was awful,” said Susan Sternberg, a board member for Pathways, many of whose clients suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. “The last thing you want for mentally ill people is a depressing space.”

The new building has been planned for a few years, Sternberg said. The project should take nine months to one year to be finished.

The new house will be two stories, with a “light, bright, open and uplifting” first floor and a second story going around the perimeter. The building will have a kitchen that will serve lunch.

“It will be a complete contrast,” she said. “It is going to be so amazing for the clients we serve.”

Pathways’ day program is located in Cos Cob. The nonprofit also operates four group homes throughout town, creating safe and affordable housing for those who need it.

Some clients have jobs at Whole Foods or the YMCA, but some do not, so they take part in the programs at the center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sternberg said.

Currently, Pathways uses an extra room at one of its group homes in town for the daytime programs. The house at 509 E. Putnam, which Pathways bought in the 1990s, has room for 16 clients, but neighbors at the time protested and the town allowed 10 people to move in, Sternberg said.

“It’s not ideal, but this way, we don’t have to pay rent,” to keep the day program going, she said….. More