During our listening process in the Fall of 2013, over 400 people gathered in small house meetings to talk about the struggles they face each day. Many people shared stories about how their kids are struggling with mental illness- and the headache of trying to find the proper care.
At our Annual Assembly on October 28th, Deb Myers shared the trouble that her close friend faced in finding care for her son, “They were hitting brick walls with both the medical & school systems. They were desperately trying to research treatment options. There was no support network to help them navigate any of this. They got very little sleep, because one of them had to sleep with their son every night, for fear he would try to kill himself”.
IMPACT member congregations dedicated themselves to understanding this problem better, in order to find better ways that our community might care for our brothers and sisters who are struggling.
In our research, we learned of many different resources for those who suffer with mental illness.
We learned that 376 students in our public schools seriously considered suicide in 2012. While not all of these kids need psychiatric help, those who do were waiting an average of 3 months to see a psychiatrist at Region Ten; during this wait their crises continued.
We learned that Region Ten offered only 15 hours of psychiatric care each week for their entire service area that spans Green, Louisa, Fluvanna Nelson and Albemarle Counties.
In Albemarle, there were only nine hours offered. These hours are only offered once a week from 9-12 on Friday morning. That is the only window available.
We did not going to accept that the current situation is the best that our community can do. We know that our kids who are vulnerable and in need of help deserve better. Much better.
On May 5th, 1,268 people gathered at the Nehemiah Action to press Robert Johnson, Region Ten Executive Director, to increase the hours they offer to 40 hours of child psychiatry each week. Each person there witnessed his commitment to this.
They estimate that this increase will enable them to see an additional 307 kids each year.
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