What is advocacy?

To be an advocate is to be more than a cheerleader for a particular cause. For Mental Health America of Virginia, it means educating the community and policy makers about the complexities of mental health, offering supporting programs and resources to those who need it most, and changing the perceptions that surround individuals affected by mental illness.

Below are several updates from work groups, programs or planning from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. For more information, contact the person whose information is included in the power point, or MHAV at bruce.cruser@mhav.org.

The 2019 legislative session directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to conduct two studies of Virginia's community public mental health services. One study is on how the Community Services Boards (CSBs) are funded, and the other is on the implementation status of STEP - VA, the long-term initiative designed to improve the community behavioral health services available to all Virginians. The completed studies are available here: CSB Funding and Implementation of STEP-VA.

Advocacy in Action

Executive Directors from four Virginia MHA affiliates met recently with U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s staff to provide information on mental health needs in Virginia and MHA affiliate services.

Bruce Cruser (MHA Virginia/Richmond), Anna Mendez (Partner for Mental Health/Charlottesville), Ashley Reynolds Marshall (MHA Roanoke Valley) and Donna Gum (MHA Augusta/Staunton)

VACSB policy conference 2018

Mental Health Advocacy Update

2019 MHAV Policy Legislative priorities

advocates with DBHDS commissioner