It's been a great start to the new year for Families as Allies! Beginning with an open house that was attended by many old and new friends, continuing with a new training session held in conjunction with the Department of Mental Health (DMH), two more community town halls and a presentation to the Board of Mental Health, it's been quite a busy time. And that's not counting a recent meeting with Governor Bryant. Shown at right: Executive Director Joy Hogge and member of the Board of Mental Health Dr. Jim Herzog.
Shown below: The Families as Allies family that met with Governor Bryant.
In mid-January we had our annual open house, which was well attended. The open house gives families, supporters, friends, legislators and staff a chance to talk, reconnect and have fun in a social setting. This year the open house was catered by Pig and Pint.
DMH TRAINING SESSION
On January 10th and 11th we partnered with the Department of Mental Health on Parent Support Specialist Train-the-Trainers training. This was two full days of training
and covered: Mental Health 101, Overview of the Education System, System Navigation for Access and Collaboration, Effective Advocacy and Communication and Documentation. We worked on this curriculum for many months, and are excited about the opportunity to partner with the department to help make family-driven care more of a reality throughout the State.
PRESENTATION TO THE BOARD OF MENTAL HEALTH
On January 19th, I had the opportunity to present to the board of mental health about Families as Allies: what we do, who we are, and how the DMH's funding impacts families' lives. I also shared this family video . After the presentation I was able to talk more with members of the board on other ways that we can partner.
TOWN HALLS AND
Our own Nikki Flippins and Henry Moore have been conducting town halls and leadership training with families across the state these past few months, and have held two since the new year began, one in Tupelo and the other here in Jackson. Both were well received. One parent commented: "I am so happy I attended this training. The info I got was helpful, and I'm so excited to be able to use it to help others. Thank you so much!"
MEETING WITH THE GOVERNOR
On February 7th I received a phone call from Governor Bryant. We had a conversation about the state of children's mental health in Mississippi. At the end of our conversation the governor asked if I would bring a group of families to his office the next day to visit about their experiences finding services for their children. We arrived at 3 PM the next afternoon and spent the next 2 hours meeting with the governor.
We had a frank and honest sharing of our experiences with Governor Bryant, and he shared some of his own personal experience with us. He asked us to think about how each of us might reform the system so that it worked for families and children.
TROUPE v. BARBOUR
On Friday, February 10th, I went to the latest court hearing in the Troupe v. Barbour case. This case had been on hold while the parties negotiated, but negotiations were terminated towards the end of last year. The case is being heard by Judge Henry Wingate.
This article from the Jackson Free Press provides a helpful overview of some of the complex issues in our mental health system. We encourage you to ask your legislator to obtain copies of the TAC reports (there are two - one for adults and one for children) because apparently they are available to legislators.