Voices’ Blog

2020 Mental Health Advocacy Day- THANK YOU!

Posted:  -  By: Ashley Airington

Voices for Virginia’s Children once again teamed up with our partners, Mental Health America-Virginia, VOCAL, NAMI-Virginia and SAARA, to jointly host our annual mental health advocacy day. This is the 7thyear I’ve had the pleasure of co-leading advocacy day on behalf of Voices, and it was exciting to meet advocates from every corner of Virginia advocating for needed mental health policy changes. With over 100 advocates joining us in Richmond-we think this may be our largest advocacy day yet!! Advocates included, individuals with lived experience, family members of those living with mental health needs, mental health professionals, folks who care about our mental health system, and even a former Virginia Delegate.  🙂


This year we focused the power of our collective voice to advocate for budget priorities that impacted both our children’s and adult mental health system. This policy priorities included:

  1. STEP-VA: Fully Fund Outpatient Mental Health Services, Peer and Family Support Specialist, Mobile Crisis Teams & Veterans Services
  2. Efforts to address critical behavioral health workforce challenges
    • Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program
    •  Increasing Mental Health Provider Rate
  1. Increasing rates for early intervention case management services
  2. Funding to pay for transportation for individuals discharged from state psychiatric hospitals.

Check out our mental health advocacy day one-pager here.

Advocates, from across the Commonwealth met with over 25 legislators or their Aides,  including: Del. Vivian Watts, Del. Delores McQuinn, Del. Mark Sickles, Del. Roslyn Tyler, Del. David Bulova, Del. Dawn Adams, Del. Betsy Carr, Del. Lashrecse Aird, Del. Kenneth Plum, Del. Kirk Cox, Del. Robert Bloxome, Sen. Patrick Hope, Del. Luke Torian, Del. Margaret Ransone, Del. Paul Krizek, Del. Cliff Hayes, Del. Chris Hurst, Del. James Morefield, Del. Nick Rush, Del. Jay Jones, Del. Emily Brewer

Sen. Dick Saslaw, Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Sen. Emmett Hanger, Sen. Dave Marsden, Sen. John Cosgrove, Sen.  Janet Howell, Sen. Jill Vogel, Sen. George Barker, Sen. Chap Petersen, Sen. Tommy Norment, Sen. Louise Lucas, Sen. Frank Ruff, Sen. Creigh Deeds , Sen. Adam Ebbin.

A huge thank you to legislator and/or legislative aids who took time to listen to advocates share their stories and speak to why their policy priorities were important to consider.

An even BIGGER thank you to all the advocates who took the day off work or school to use your voice for change. It takes bravery and courage to share your experience with others, especially complete strangers, and I’m forever grateful to those advocates who conquer their fears and empower themselves while doing so.

View these videos of advocates being recognized in the house and senate galleries

Senator Deeds recognizes advocates!

Delegate Aird recognizes advocates!

Check out our shared Facebook album from the day



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