Bridges Announces CEO Kasdan's Retirement

March 12, 2014 - Milford-Orange Bulletin - Bridges ... A Community Support System Inc., has begun a search for a new Chief Executive Officer, as Barry Kasdan announced his plans to retire. Kasdan will remain with Bridges through June 2014 to ensure a smooth and successful transition for his successor.

"Bridges has become a leading provider of mental health and addiction services to children, adults and families, due in large part to Barry's vision, his tremendous leadership skills and his commitment to helping people with mental illness and addictions. He will be greatly missed by the Bridges community," said Michelle LeMere, chair of Bridges' Board of Directors. "Barry has the Board's sincere appreciation for his 29 years of exceptional service to Bridges mission."

"We have a dedicated staff, a strong and involved Board of Directors and a compassionate community supporting our work," said Kasdan. "I know that the next CEO will have all the tools, resources and support needed to ensure that Bridges continues to help the people in our area who confront the challenges from mental health and substance abuse problems."

Kasdan joined Bridges as CEO and President in 1984. Prior to taking the helm at Bridges, he served as Chief Psychiatric Social Worker and Administrator with the Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center in Norwalk He has served on many state commissions, and led numerous local, regional and statewide committees and initiatives.

Under his leadership, Bridges has grown and expanded its facilities. Kasdan oversaw the building and renovation of two buildings on the agency's Bridgeport Avenue campus, including the Moses M. Malkin Center, which opened last year. With a staff of over 160, Bridges offers a comprehensive range of programs and services. Over 8,000 area residents received assistance from Bridges in 2013.

"I have known and worked with Barry since he arrived at Bridges in 1984," said Gary Johnson, President of the United Way of Milford. "What I have admired most is Barry's intense passion for helping those with behavioral health challenges, leaving no stone unturned in his desire to insure that our society levels the playing field as much as possible for those so afflicted. No one is more compassionate about those less fortunate in our society." The United Way of Milford provides funding for Bridges programs in Milford.

"Barry was an early implementer of in-home services for children and families, and has been recognized for his excellence in crisis services for children," said Sheila Amdur, former board president of NAMI CT and a nationally recognized consultant in the mental health field. "Barry was a pioneer in building a regional 24- hour crisis response system with Yale University. At Bridges, prior to the advent of dual diagnosis treatment models, he recognized the need to integrate Addictions into Mental Health. He also saw the need to develop a continuum of recovery based services."

"Barry Kasdan has been an advocate for increased access and effective services for people with mental health and addiction disorders his entire career," said former Bridges board chair, Claire Phelan. "Bridges has grown tremendously under his leadership. He has created a culture of innovation and collaboration, always putting the needs and goals of patients first. This successful approach will continue to sustain Bridges in the decades ahead."

Bridges, with headquarters in Milford, CT, is the state designated Local Mental Health Authority for Milford, Orange and West Haven and provides services to seven other area towns. Funding from the City of Milford and Town of Orange help the agency sustain services for residents of those municipalities. Bridges is licensed by the State Dept. of Children and Families and the Dept. of Public Health. Nationally accredited, Bridges has been providing services to families, children and adults since 1957.

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