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VOICE, Police Chiefs, Hospitals to Meet with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin to Seek Support for Youth Behavioral Health Initiatives

https://www.vachiefs.orgVirginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will meet with an economically and racially diverse crowd of Northern Virginia residents, police chiefs, hospital leaders, and individuals with lived experience and real world exposure to the breadth of mental health concerns impacting Virginians.
TRIANGLE, VA - Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will join more than 500 representatives of VOICE Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA), and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police (VACP), during a Northern Virginia assembly on July 9 that is being held to highlight the impact of the mental health and drug use crisis on young people across the Commonwealth. 
 
During the meeting, the members of the coalition will ask the Governor to prioritize actions to address the crisis and support those with significant new resources. 
 
“Every indicator of youth mental health suggests the need for an all-hands-on-deck initiative that will require, not only significant resources at the local level, but also a major push at the state level,” said Reverend Michael Sessoms, Senior Pastor of Little Union Baptist Church in Dumfries and a longtime VOICE leader on mental health issues. He noted that VOICE representatives have repeatedly heard concerns about youth mental health and drug use during listening sessions throughout the region.
 
Jennifer Wicker, Senior Director of Policy and Government Affairs for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, said for far too long communities have attempted to retrofit our adult behavioral health system to meet the needs of our youth.  The increased rates of self-harm, substance use, and other mental health conditions are evidence that a new strategy is needed.  “We strongly support a significant expansion of resources to provide state-of-the-art, evidenced-based, therapeutic treatment with youth in mind so that Virginia's children and adolescents can return to their lives and flourish,” she said.

“The three primary organizations participating in the coalition decided to join forces to seek significant improvements to youth mental health services based on the crises their members regularly see through their work,” said Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. “This crisis has far-reaching implications,” she added, noting that the trauma experienced by children and their families also affects police officers who are called to help. “We simply have too many children in Virginia with behavioral health challenges who wind up in the juvenile justice system instead of receiving treatment and support. It doesn't have to be this way.” 
 
Event Details:

Youth Behavioral Health Assembly hosted by VOICE, VACP, VHHA
Sunday, July 9, 2023 from 3-4:30 p.m.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 18410 Chapel Dr., Triangle, VA 22172


Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will meet with an economically and racially diverse crowd of Northern Virginia residents, police chiefs, hospital leaders, and individuals with lived experience and real world exposure to the breadth of mental health concerns impacting Virginians.

Register to attend (FREE) at https://secure.everyaction.com/Y0cb7n0aBEmyesDMLMooSw2
 
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