Voices’ Blog

Guest Blog: A Mom’s View on Getting Involved

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

This blog post was written by Peggy Sinclair-Morris about her experience learning more about advocacy in the children’s mental health system.

As a project coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University, my job entails setting up and attending workshops, trainings, and conferences.  As a mom, my job is to be a mom and take care of my family…as a parent of a child with mental illness, I feel my job is to educate and surround myself with information.  The opportunity to learn more about not just my daughter’s conditions, but also to learn about the “system” of mental health fell into my lap in October.  Along with another parent in Virginia, I was sponsored by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to attend the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health annual conference in Washington, D.C, November 16-18, 2012.

I had certain sessions in mind I wanted to attend, but I think a big part of what I wanted or needed was a chance to connect with other parents that “walk the walk” of having a child with mental illness.  It was comforting to be around people that have had similar experiences and have walked in your shoes…

Here are some things that really remain with me two weeks later…

–          Elizabeth Smart’s message of hope and healing, her ability to NOT let her captor continue to hold power over her as she lives her life today.

–          Strengthening your voice through storytelling, through telling your own personal story.  What are the benefits of sharing the journey of your child’s mental illness?  Educating your family and friends, connecting with others that share similar stories, letting people know that mental illness is not something to fear, but to understand.

–          The Affordable Care Act, what is it and what’s happening in Virginia?  I had no idea that Virginia will not be establishing a State-based Exchange or expanding Medicaid.  I didn’t even know what a State-based Exchange was, but I do now.  Here are some resources for more information on what’s happening nationally and locally:



What will I do with all of the information?  My hope is to involve myself in storytelling, reach out to other families, learn more about The Affordable Care Act and continue my personal journey of hope and healing.

Thank you to Pam Fisher and Margaret Nimmo Crowe for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference!

— Peggy Sinclair-Morris

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