Voices’ Blog

Take Action on Children’s Mental Health Budget Amendments!

Posted:  -  By: Ashley Airington

Please TAKE ACTION HERE! Email your legislators to let them know this funding is important to you.

In the 2015 General Assembly session, the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health (led by Voices for Virginia’s Children) is once again at the forefront, advocating for a stronger mental health system for children. Our priority this year continues to be building on the system of community-based crisis response services and child psychiatry. We have successfully advocated for funding the last three sessions to start and enhance these services in all five health planning regions of the state. Funds are being used to provide faster access to psychiatrists in person and through telepsychiatry, as well as to provide mobile crisis teams and residential and day crisis stabilization services.

Where services exist, they are making a huge difference. The problem is that the $4.15 million currently available in the budget for this purpose are inadequate to meet the need. The funds are supposed to increase to $4.65 million in FY16 — an improvement — but still a small amount of funding to reach kids in every corner of the Commonwealth who have serious mental health challenges.

This year, Senators Hanger and Howell and Delegate Yost have introduced budget amendments to enhance the services statewide by $2.5 million in FY16. We need all advocates for children’s mental health to reach out to their legislators and ask them to support these amendments: Item 308 #1s and #8s in the Senate, and Item 308 #6h in the House.

You can find one-page information sheets to use in your advocacy here:

Senate One-Pager

House One-Pager

Thanks to our Campaign Steering Committee partners National Alliance on Mental Illness – Virginia, Mental Health America- Virginia, and the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards for their collaboration. Thanks also to all the children’s mental health advocates who attended Mental Health Advocacy Day at the Capitol on January 19!

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