About the Campaign

Here is a general campaign flyer you can print or download to distribute at an event or to your members or clients. If you need something more specific, please contact Ashley Everette at ashley@vakids.org.

The Surgeon General and SAMHSA report that as many as 1 in 5 kids has a mental health problem. And of those, only 1 in 5 gets the treatment he or she needs.

In May 2013 the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention released a new report: Mental Health Surveillance Among Children — United States 2005-2011. Among the findings:

“A total of 13%–20% of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year (6,8–10). Suicide, which can result from the interaction of mental disorders and other factors, was the second leading cause of death among children aged 12–17 years in 2010 (11). In the United States, the cost (including health care, use of services such as special education and juvenile justice, and decreased productivity) of mental disorders among persons aged <24 years in the United States was estimated at $247 billion annually (6,12,13).”

The Campaign

The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health is a multi-year sustained effort to make mental health services more available and accessible to the children in Virginia who need them, regardless of where the children live or what “system” identifies their needs. Family members, treatment professionals, mental health service delivery organizations, child advocacy organizations, and policy experts are partnering together in a broad action coalition to:

  • recruit and mobilize parents as partners, advocates, and campaign leaders;
  • cultivate key legislators and members of the McAuliffe administration to champion this cause;
  • persuade state and local mental health officials to advocate for needed reforms;
  • mobilize the grassroots to support the cause; and
  • educate the public about the importance of reforming the children’s mental health system.

The Need for Reform

Despite the numerous studies and task forces that clearly document the inadequacies in the child mental health service system, efforts to improve the system have been piecemeal.  Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) estimates that between 117,592 and 143,724 Virginia children and adolescents have a serious emotional disturbance. Only one in five, however, receives needed treatment. Many children go unserved because:

  • the system is fragmented and uncoordinated;
  • service availability and quality vary tremendously from locality to locality;
  • community-based services are particularly lacking; and
  • there is a severe shortage of professionals trained to treat child and adolescent disorders.

 The strengths and deficiencies in Virginia’s child mental health system were well documented in this November 2011 report from DBHDS. The report outlines a comprehensive array of services that should be available to children with mental health challenges in every area of the state. Four services were identified as “base services:” those that should be available at every community services board. Those four base services are case management, crisis response services, child psychiatry, and intensive in-home services. The most acute gaps in services were found in the areas of child psychiatry and crisis response services, which is a finding that has guided the work of the Campaign.

See Also

Policy Goals Campaign Leadership Partnering Organizations