JFS has been here for the community for over a hundred years, and now we have increased capacity to help even more people.

JFS provides comprehensive mental health support for youth and adults, giving individuals and families the tools they need to face life’s challenges. This year, with your support, JFS grew its impact and reach to address the growing mental health crisis.

    • 7,629 clinical visits (over 1,500 more than last year) were provided
    • 700% more client intakes were conducted
    • 384 people (a 39% increase over last year) received sliding scale or reduced cost mental health services
    • Special funding to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth have access to clinical services was secured


Included in this update on youth mental health you’ll find: information about how JFS is addressing the youth mental health crisis, a welcome to new JFS mental health professionals, a story of impact, a funder spotlight, and ways to get involved including partnership, events, and supporting mental health services.

JFS is proud to announce that we recently joined BeWell, a national initiative to address the youth mental health crisis from the strength of the Jewish communal network by collaborating, sharing, and leveraging our resources to get kids the help they need.

Anna MacDonald, LMSW, is JFS’s new Community Mental Health Liaison who joined our team in March to spearhead this initiative. She is certified to instruct Youth and Teen Mental Health First Aid, programs that teach any adults and teens to recognize the signs and symptoms of youth mental health challenges in the people they care about, and to connect them with resources.  

Anna is eager to work with your school, synagogue, or other youth serving organization to bring a variety of programs and curricula that create an inclusive environment to support teen wellness. 

JFS has been here for the community for over a hundred years, and now with new members of the JFS Mental Health team, we have increased capacity to help even more people. Welcome to four of JFS’s newest mental health team members and meet the full JFS mental health team!


Rebecca’s* older brother has a mental illness that led to violent outbursts, so she was sent to live with a religious couple. As a young adult, Rebecca started college but couldn’t afford the cost, so she dropped out to marry a man approved by her adoptive parents.

As she raised her own family, she encountered various parenting challenges, financial problems, and a crisis of faith. Her oldest son’s addiction put a strain on her marriage, and financial insecurity led her to seek counseling and support services from JFS. She also struggled to accept her children’s LGBTQ+ identity.  

It was important to Rebecca that the whole family heal together. JFS provided counseling to her children, supportive services for the family including financial help to get Rebecca back in school, and Money Coach support to help them climb out of debt. Rebecca completed her master’s degree and secured a full-time position with health benefits, stabilizing her family’s finances. She also learned to accept and support her children. Her oldest child is in recovery, and she has been able to reconnect with her grandchildren.

*name changed to protect client’s identity

Our Community Mental Health Liaison position is generously supported by The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford’s Jewish Hartford Rapid Relief and Recovery Fund, Jewish Federations of North America, Inc. (JFNA), and the Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies (NJHSA).

With this new resource, we are creating meaningful and unique programs that fit the needs of organizations supporting young people in our community.

A special thank you to our friends at JTConnect’s Teen Leadership Philanthropy Initiative for increasing our capacity to provide sliding scale services to the LGBTQ+ youth we serve. 

Partner with us
Are you a community member or organization who has identified an unmet youth mental health need? Do you have an idea for how we can support young people and the adults in their lives? Please reach out to Anna MacDonald to discuss how you can partner with JFS.

Support mental health
This year, with your support, we will offer even more valuable resources to our community. Please consider donating to ensure mental health support is available and accessible to all who need it. Your gift helps offset high copays, deductibles, and fees for individuals who are uninsured, underinsured, or who cannot afford the cost of services.