Tag Archive for 'community'

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VA ‘Making Kids Count’ award reception announced

Virginia’s Voices for Children announced an event 15 October 2013 to honor the recipients of its Carol S. Fox Making Kids Count awards. The event, which is to be held at the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond in Richmond (VA, US), begins at 6:00 PM with the program commencing at 6:30 PM. Bruce Lesley, a public policy expert with extensive experience related to improving services for children and families, is slated to make the featured speech. Learn more about the awards from the Voices for Virginia’s Children web site and register for the reception (or make a donation) on line; there’s a discount for early-bird—prior to 2 October—registration.

How not to treat people with disabilities: They may die in custody

The story of Robert Ethan Saylor, an adult with Down Syndrome, may seem a bit afield for EBD Blog, but long-time readers will recognize the theme. It’s about the importance of having police officers prepared to recognize and respond to individuals with disabilities in ways that are different than the modal manner for handling usual law enforcement situations.

According to news reports, in January of 2013, Mr. Saylor saw a movie at a theater. As Washington Post reporter Theresa Vargas described it, when the movie ended Mr. Saylor “wanted to watch it again. When he refused to leave, a theater employee called three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies who were working a security job at the Westview Promenade shopping center and told them that Saylor either needed to buy another ticket or be removed.”
Continue reading ‘How not to treat people with disabilities: They may die in custody’

Virginia mental health needs

In a statement entitled “A proposal that would assist troubled youths in Virginia” the Washington Post editorial board lent its support to efforts to fund mental health services for children and youth. The editorial, published 11 January 2012, recounted a history of rueful cost cutting and encouraging advocacy in my commonwealth.

A YEAR AGO, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) proposed slashing millions of dollars from the state’s already badly fragmented and underfunded programs for at-risk children and teenagers. The cuts targeted funding for specially trained foster families and other services for children, including some who posed a danger of violence to themselves and others. The cuts were rejected, and funding restored, thanks to a bipartisan group of lawmakers responding to an outcry from advocacy groups and local governments, which would have borne the brunt of the governor’s proposal. In the end, the debate turned a useful spotlight on a critical hole in the state’s social services safety net.

The Post editorial team explained that the current budget does not contain such cost-cutting measures, but that difficulties for mental health services persist because of other problems (e.g., local government fiscal shortages). In the end, the need for services is great and, as the editorial shows, the need for serious discussion about funding of them is clear. Read the full editorial on the Post’s Web site.

If you’re in Virginia and you can make it to Richmond, join Voices for Virginia’s Campaign for Children’s Mental Health for “Advocacy Day at the General Assembly” Thursday 26 January 2012. If you live somewhere else, scout about for ways you can help support mental health services in your local or regional government.

Virginia campaign promotes action agenda

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health outlined an agenda for improving mental health policy for children and youths in the US commonwealth of Virginia on 14 June 2011. The “Action Agenda” expresses the need for Govenor Bob McDonnell to exert leadership in three policy areas so that the problems of 100,000 minors with mental health issues are addressed:

  • Children with mental health disorders and their families need to have a full array of high quality treatment and support services in their own communities, no matter where in Virginia they reside.
  • Children with serious mental health disorders who require public sector services need to have access to the same array of services regardless of payment source or custody status in order to maximize the impact of and curb inappropriate use of public dollars in the treatment system.
  • Children with mental health disorders and their families should be recognized and included as experts on their own and their children’s treatment needs.

Visit the 1 in 5 Website (see it over in the sidebar, too) and download the full statement of the Action Agenda.

I am very glad to have and I hope others will join me in signing a petition to support this effort. Isn’t it great to have this effort right here in Virginia? Do you have similar efforts in the area where you live?

The Congressional Mental Health Caucus

Sadly, mental health has been in the US news of late. I’m reminded that in the US legislature there is the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, which takes as its goals reducing negativism and stigma, aiding efforts to access mental health services, improving work-related productivity, and protecting veterans who have mental health problems. Although the caucus does not explicitly state child mental health as a focus of concern, it has supported awareness efforts such as National Children’s Mental Health Day.
Continue reading ‘The Congressional Mental Health Caucus’

More props for Mr. Artest

Professional basketball player Ron Artest, who admits that he experienced difficulties as a youth and an adult, has been promoting mental health awareness over the past few years. Recently I posted a note acknowledging some of his efforts, and today I call attention to another of them. At the release of the accompanying public service announcement 21 December 2010 in support of mental health awareness, Mr. Artest not only spoke in support of those efforts, but he also donated $50,000 to local clinics in the Los Angeles (CA, US) area.

In a blog post for the Los Angeles Times entitled “Ron Artest debuts his PSA on mental health awareness,” Mark Medina reported about the press conference and the production of the PSA. If you’re a Lakers fan, as am I, you’ll find a couple of tidbits of interest there. But, there are also noteworthy nuggets about mental health advocacy and even about the entertainment industry in Mr Medina’s report, too. He has an audio interview with Gary Foster, who produced the video (as well as the noted movie “The Soloist,” also about mental health), and additional notes about Mr. Artest’s efforts.

According to Mr. Medina, on Christmas Day, another of Mr. Artest’s fund- and awareness-raising efforts on behalf of mental health will be in the spotlight. The ring that Mr. Artest received as a member of the world championship Los Angeles Lakers team of 2010 will be awarded to the winner of a raffle. That raffle has reportedly raised over $500,000 US. (I bought my raffle tickets, of course.)

As a fan of the Lakers for 50 years, I’m glad Mr. Artest is playing for my team, but I’m especially happy to have him on the mental-health advocacy team. My hat’s off to you, Mr. Artest.

Read all of Mr. Medina’s entry, Ron Artest debuts his PSA on mental health awareness. Check my earlier post from 11 November 2010.

Teaching about mental health

Teachers who are concerned about helping students understand mental health issues have at least one sensible places where they can go for teaching resources: Breaking the Silence, a Web resource offered by a local National Alliance on Mental Illness group. BTS, as it calls itself, provides a combination of neighborhood (NY, US) and widely available services (including a downloadable teacher’s “toolkit” with lesson plans, posters, and more).
The BTS folks make the case for teaching about mental health in this way:
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Carter talks sense

I rarely point to posts on the Huffington Posts, but an entry by Liane Kupferberg Carter entitled “Autism: A time for civility” deserves recognition. Ms. Carter, the mother of a child with Autism, notes how factionation (if I may create than word) among people with interests in Autism has created divides not needed. The basic notion is that in contemporary diagnoses, Autism reflects a diverse spectrum of disorders. Educators, parents, policy-makers, and others need to accept the diversity and not fight among ourselves. Ms. Carter makes this point well. I encourage readers to read her post.