Virginia Beach Mental Health Coalition Promotes “Celebrate Your Mental Wealth”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. is calling upon citizens, government agencies, public and private organizations and schools in Virginia Beach to recommit to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health as part of overall health.

 The Virginia Beach Human Services Department, the Community Services Board and the Health Department have joined together with the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Virginia Beach (NAMI-Virginia Beach), I Need a Lighthouse, a depression and suicide education awareness program, Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health and Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center  to form the Virginia Beach Mental Health Coalition and promote the Green Ribbon for Mental Health Awareness campaign.


This year’s theme is “Celebrate Your Mental Wealth” and focuses on the fact that we all have mental health. Focusing on mental health as part of overall health, the coalition encourages talking about, taking preventative measures, and seeking help for symptoms of mental illness as one would do for physical illnesses. Taking care of the “wealth” includes connecting with others, getting physically active, eating well and getting professional help if needed.


Coalition members will participate in educational activities throughout the month, culminating in I Need a Lighthouse’s Beacon of Hope 5K on Sunday, May 17, at the 24th Street Park in Virginia Beach. Online registration is available through midnight on Thursday, May 14. On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. on May 17.


Raising mental health awareness with the facts helps to end the stigma of mental illness. Raising mental health awareness about common warning signs that one has a mental health condition leads to more individuals in need getting help. Raising mental health awareness about suicide prevention could help save a life. Raising mental health awareness about how to help a friend provides hope and lets others know that they are not alone.


In providing opportunities to educate the community, the Mental Health Awareness Coalition hopes everyone will talk about what they learn with family, friends and others.


“It is a time to end the silence and stigma surrounding mental health conditions that too often discourage people from getting help when they need it,” said Kay Ashby, president of NAMI-Virginia Beach.


The Virginia Beach Human Services Department/Community Services Board provides behavioral health services for adults, adolescents and children. For mental health education and support, contact the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs at (757) 385-0800. If experiencing a mental health crisis in Virginia Beach, call (757) 385-0888.


The Virginia Beach Health Department provides health education and wellness services. For more information, call (757) 518-2700.


NAMI Virginia Beach offers mental health advocacy and education. For more information, call (757) 499-2041.


Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide a free mental health assessment for children and adolescents ages 4 to 17 who may need acute, inpatient crisis stabilization. The center also provides long-term residential treatment and a partial hospitalization program for adolescents ages 11 to 17. Call (757) 461-4565.


Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is a 100-bed free-standing hospital offering acute psychiatric and substance services for adults age 18 and older. For additional information or to make a referral, call (757) 496-3500.