THE 16TH ANNUAL FAMILY ADVOCACY DAY IN ANNAPOLIS!
On February 25, two-hundred family members, advocates, legislators and their staff gathered for the Maryland Coalition of Families' 16th Annual Family Day in Annapolis. Attendees traveled from 21 counties and Baltimore City to share with their elected officials the importance of addressing child and adolescent mental health, substance use and/or other behavioral health needs.
"Your presence makes a great difference," said Delegate Sandy Rosenberg.
Following a morning program where representatives discussed the bills related to children and youth with behavioral health needs (such as Wraparound Services for Children and Youth: House Bill 579/Senate Bill 858), families visited representatives from 25 legislative districts to share their personal stories and experiences. The day concluded with more than 500 advocates and families rallying on Lawyer’s Mall to increase access to behavioral health services. The Keep the Door Open Maryland Rally was organized by Maryland’s Behavioral Health Coalition.
Join MCF’s mailing list for updates on how you can get involved.
Peer Support Spotlight: Call #3
The Peer Support Workgroup met for its 3rd meeting on 3/7/16. The goal of this workgroup is to explore ways to incorporate peer support specialists into mental health services for young adults in Maryland, including but not limited to programs for young adults experiencing disorders with psychosis. The highlight of this meeting was a presentation by Dr. Iruma Bello, Clinical Training Director for OnTrack NY. This statewide program focuses on treating young adults experiencing disorders with psychosis and is in the latter planning stages of implementing youth peer support positions into their programs. Topics discussed included: (1) The importance of defining the peer role in a way that is specific and individualized while making it a clear part of the treatment team and acknowledging the fluidity of roles on those teams; (2) potential roles for peers including helping young adults navigate and utilize the entire first episode psychosis (FEP) team, assistance in outreach and engagement, and facilitating support groups; (3) Hiring peers who are already certified and well-versed with peer support, but may not necessarily be FEP-specific or age-specific as emphasis will be placed on their ability to connect with youth.
You can access the original peer-support for FEP guidance manual developed by Dr. Jones: Click here
The work-group is planning on meeting approximately monthly to focus on leveraging current opportunities for peer supports in EIP and other organizations that could benefit from peer support.
The next meeting will be April 25, 2016 at 11am. If you’re interested in joining the peer-involvement workgroup, please contact Melanie Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org
Introducing New Advisory Council Representative from Taking Flight
EIP is excited to welcome Christi Halpin to the Advisory Council, as our new Taking Flight representative. Taking Flight is a youth council located in Maryland and funded by federal grants. The members are comprised of youth advocates ranging in ages from late teens to early twenties. They are a diverse group with different backgrounds (mental health, foster care, LGBTQ, etc) who are using their experiences to fight to make positive system changes.
Christi Halpin is a Youth Engagement Specialist, Operations Assistant, and Grants Liaison for the Maryland Coalition of Families and its youth council, Taking Flight. Christi graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in May 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in neuroscience. Christi is involved in the administrative functioning and daily operations of MCF, as well as working with Taking Flight to advocate for youth and promote the youth voice throughout the state.
We are looking forward to her contributions and youth perspective on the council!