We have exciting news to share about children’s mental health! The funding allocated by the General Assembly last session for children’s crisis response services and child psychiatry has now been awarded to three regions of community services boards in Virginia. The Greater Richmond area (Region IV), the Lynchburg/Central Virginia area (Region I), and southwest Virginia (portions of the very large and rural Region III) submitted successful applications to the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
The funding, $1.5 million for the fiscal year that began July 1, will allow the community services boards in these areas, along with private partners in some cases, to augment the existing crisis services for children. The purpose of the funding is to help maintain children in their own homes and communities and to avoid inpatient hospitalization whenever possible.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit St. Joseph’s Villa, the site of Region IV’s crisis stabilization unit. The unit was first opened in May with other regional funds, and it has already served more than 20 children in psychiatric crisis. The new funding allows the unit to add a mobile crisis team to respond to kids in their own homes. Clinicians responding to the call can then determine whether the situation can be resolved in the home or whether the child needs to go to the crisis stabilization unit for a few days.
It is wonderful to see the collaboration that is happening among the community services boards in these regions and with private providers, all to provide a stronger array of community-based mental health services to children. I look forward to visiting the other regions of the state that were awarded funds and hearing about the progress! I’ll keep you posted.
This funding would not have been possible without Campaign supporters like you. More than 2,000 Virginians signed the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health petition to Gov. McDonnell and the legislature to increase access to these services for children. Hundreds of you sent emails to the legislators crafting the budget to emphasize the importance of helping children with mental health disorders access the treatment they need, and many of you visited the General Assembly with us on Advocacy Day.
You also responded when we asked for hand-written thank you notes to these legislators. The Campaign has delivered packets of these thank you notes to key legislators as we have attended legislative meetings and forums this summer. Taking the time to educate our policy makers about the importance of mental health treatment and then thanking them when they respond is what advocacy is all about! Raising your voice for children with serious mental health disorders is making a difference—thank you.
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