Tag Archive: stigma

  1. Next steps in Charlottesville?

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    Voices for Virginia’s Children is pleased to update the Charlottesville community and others with the notes from the Community Conversation about Children’s Mental Health we hosted in December, as well as outline next steps. You can read the full recap here.

    Strengths that were mentioned included the relative wealth of resources in the Charlottesville area compared to other areas of the state, particularly rural areas. Strong nonprofits, a CSB that provides an array of children’s services, and collaboration among organizations were cited as strengths. Participants also appreciated that there are organizations in Charlottesville focused on the entire spectrum of interventions, from prevention and early intervention for families through treatment for children with diagnosed mental health disorders.

    Even as well-resourced as Charlottesville is, however, every aspect of the continuum has inadequate capacity to meet the need. Challenges fell into several main categories:
    – not enough focus on prevention and early intervention;
    – a variety of barriers to existing services;
    – gaps in services—things that are needed but don’t exist, or which exist but have inadequate capacity to meet the need; and
    – a need for citizen advocacy to move the needle on state level policy, according to Sen. Deeds.

    So, what do we do next? Voices and the Campaign are very interested in helping regional partners in Charlottesville form a coalition on children’s mental health so that the community can move forward on some of the suggestions made at the Community Conversation. Is your organization willing to be involved? Please email Campaign Coordinator Ashley Everette at ashley@vakids.org.

  2. SJ 47 Workgroup Takes Up Children’s Mental Health

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    As a result of the tragedy involving Sen. Creigh Deeds and his family in laste 2013, the 2014 General Assembly passed SJ 47 to create a Joint Subcommittee Studying Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century. This legislative study group is chaired by Sen. Deeds and is divided into three workgroups: Crisis Intervention, Continuum of Care, and Special Populations. Children fall into the Special Populations Workgroup, which is comprised of Del. Joseph Yost (chair), Del. Peter Farrell, Sen. Deeds and Sen. Toddy Puller.

    At the first Special Populations Workgroup meeting in September, Del. Yost decided that children would be the first population studied. (Other special populations to be considered include those with traumatic brain injury, those with autism, veterans, and several others.) Del. Yost invited Voices for Virginia’s Children Executive Director Margaret Nimmo Crowe to present information at the workgroup’s second meeting on October 28, along with Amy Atkinson from the Commission on Youth and Cindy Cave from the Virginia Department of Education.

    You can find Margaret’s presentation, Children’s Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities, here.

    Del. Yost indicated that both the Special Populations Workgroup and the full Subcommittee will meet again before the end of the year. These meetings are open to the public and include a time for public comment. Additional information can be found on the General Assembly website.

  3. #ISPEAKUP for Children’s Mental Health because….

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    In honor of Mental Health Awareness month,  the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is teaming up with the Child Mind Institute to highlight children’s mental health.

    Joining more than 100 national organizations, we will work to address the stigma and misinformation around issues of children’s mental health. Through the Speak Up for Kids campaign, we hope to bring children’s mental health the attention it truly deserves. Will you join us?

    Over 15 million American children have a psychiatric or learning disorder, and less than half of them get help. We are all affected, yet we have a long way to go before mental health and learning differences are talked about as openly as physical health. YOU can help break the cycle just by speaking up!

     Tell us why you speak up for children’s mental health awareness month by joining the #ISpeakUp Selfie campaign! Taking a selfie is fun and, more importantly, impactful. The #ISpeakUp selfies appearing on Facebook and Twitter convey powerful messages of hope, health and healing. Here is how you can join:

    1. Download and print the #ISpeakUp for children’s mental health sign here.

    2. Fill in why you speak up for children’s mental health: “I believe treatment is effective” “Every child deserves the support they need to thrive” “No child deserves to experience stigma”, etc. and pose for a pic.

    3. Send your picture to ashley@vakids.org and we will post it on our Campaign for Children’s Mental Health website, twitter feed, and Facebook page.   If you post it to your FB or twitter accounts, please use the hashtag #ISpeakUp and include @vakids

    Together we can help kids who struggle today, and ensure that every tomorrow is a brighter one for children with psychiatric disorders. All we have to do is Speak Up.

    Look out for the latest #ISpeakUp Selfies on all of our social media accounts.





  4. Empowering Families

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    A version of this blog post, written by Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe, initially appeared on the Behavioral Health Matters blog.

    As coordinator of the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health at Voices for Virginia’s Children, I regularly talk to parents who are struggling to help their children with mental health issues. They are often extremely frustrated because they cannot find the treatment that their child needs in their community, or there is a long wait list for services, or their insurance won’t pay for the type of treatment their child needs.

    Compounding these frustrations, many parents with whom I talk feel isolated. They don’t know other families struggling with children’s mental health disorders. They may not be receiving support from friends or their child’s school. Their families’ lives have been thrown into disarray – emotionally, logistically, and financially – as they try to find help for the child who needs it while continuing to work and take care of other children.

    One question I often hear is, “Why it is so difficult to get help when your child has a mental health problem as opposed to a physical health problem?” The answer is complex, and the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is working to improve access to services through a variety of strategies.

    The key to improving access to children’s mental health services – through every strategy we are using – is mobilizing the families who have experience with this issue. And there are more of you than you might think. Did you know that 1 in 5 children experience a mental health disorder? Chances are you DO know other families who have a child with ADHD, depression, anxiety, or another mental health challenge, but because of the stigma that still exists, you and they have never made the connection.

    Part of what we do at the Campaign is help families realize the difference they can make by speaking out, and we equip them to do so. For example:

    • Telling your stories can reduce the stigma of mental illness; together, we can help reduce the isolation so many families and children feel, and make it okay to ask for help.

    • Walking advocates through the barriers your family has encountered as you’ve tried to seek help enables us to identify the policies that need to be changed or the types of services that need to be created.

    • Sharing your experience with legislators can help them realize the real-life implications of the funding decisions they make.

    One parent we’ve worked with at the Campaign is Shannon Haworth. After talking to lawmakers in Washington, DC, she was asked in a radio interview last summer what it feels like to advocate. She replied, “You feel like you’re just a parent in a sea of other parents who need help, and so when you’re able to talk to people and tell your specific story and have people listen, it empowers you.”

    Please join the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health so that all families who struggle with the children’s mental health system can be similarly empowered.

  5. Campaign coordinator to speak at Williamsburg Symposium April 18

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    Together We Can…Creating a Caring Community For Our Children

    Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe is pleased to be the keynote speaker at this exciting conference about children’s mental health. Please join us on April 18th in Williamsburg!

    Colonial Behavioral Health is sponsoring this exciting day-long symposium designed especially for families and those who serve them in the area of children’s behavioral health services. Margaret will speak about “Strategies for Family Empowerment,” covering a variety of ways that families can support their own kids as well as all those in Virginia who struggle with behavioral health issues. Lunchtime speakers are Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoain, sisters and parents of children with behavioral health issues. They are very funny and informative national speakers who wrote the book, “Shut Up about Your Perfect Kid.” You can learn more about them at http://www.shutupabout.com.

    Workshop topics include:

    • Substance Use
    • Psychotropic Meds
    • Advocacy
    • Financial Planning
    • Self-harm
    • Trauma
    • And more.

    Date: Thursday, April 18
    Time: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Location: Williamsburg Hotel and Conference Center
    (50 Kingsmill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185)
    Registration: Free – Lunch is provided – registration is required by April 10

    To register click here.

    Included in the event will be a network fest of community partners connecting families to services and resources; a book sale of titles recommended by the day’s presenters, door prizes and more!!

    Featured Keynote Speakers:
     – Margaret Nimmo-Crowe, Policy Director at Voices for Virginia’s Children
     – Gina Gallagher & Patricia Konjoain: National Speakers “Shut Up about Your Perfect Kid”

    Download a flier about the Symposium.

    Download the Symposium program.

    Sponsored by Colonial Behavioral Health in partnership with the Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services and the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation

     We hope to see you there!

  6. Lt. Gov. Bolling and Mental Health

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    Campaign Coordinator Margaret Nimmo Crowe’s latest blog post on Pundits’ Podium, a blog of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    When does using a colloquialism make a politician sound “folksy” and when does it just sound offensive? Sometimes it’s hard to define where the line is, but other times it’s quite clear. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling needs to realize that he recently crossed that line.

    Last weekend, the Daily Press reported the following about Bolling, the state chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign: “Bolling said that if people think Obama has done a good job over the past three years, they should vote for him – then ‘check themselves into a mental hospital.’”

    The politics behind the statement are irrelevant. The fact is that one in four Americans – and one in five children – suffer with significant mental health problems. As an elected leader and a candidate running to be Virginia’s next governor, Bolling should be telling voters what he will do if elected to address the needs of this large constituency, rather than denigrating those who need and seek mental health treatment.

    And treatment for mental illness, as it turns out, is not easy to come by in Virginia. Particularly for children, lack of community-based services and trained professionals leads to long waiting lists, deteriorating conditions, and avoidable crises—and yes, that means children sometimes need treatment in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Ask the parent of a child who has been admitted to such a facility in the midst of a crisis whether the experience should be taken lightly.

    What makes Bolling’s offensive comment even worse is that he has not acknowledged his mistake nor has he made a genuine apology. His spokeswoman was quoted in the Roanoke.com blog “Blue Ridge Caucus” as saying “’The Lieutenant Governor did not intend to offend anyone, and if anyone was offended by his comment he would certainly apologize for that….’” That comment implies that if the speaker did not intend to offend anyone, no one should be offended.

    A more appropriate response would be for Bolling himself to publicly admit his careless remark, apologize for the offense it caused, and then talk about what he will do as Governor to address the unmet needs of adults and children with mental illness.