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DBHDS Press Releases

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2009
[ link to pdf ]

Virginia Raises Awareness of initiatives Meeting Children’s Mental Health Needs
Virginia Children’s Mental Health Day focuses on children’s ability to recover and thrive in their communities

Richmond – Citing that up to 103,794 Virginia children and adolescents currently have a serious emotional disturbance, with as many as 66,051 exhibiting extreme impairment, Governor Timothy M. Kaine has proclaimed May 7, 2009 as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day in Virginia. Based on the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Virginia’s Awareness Day calls attention to the effective programs for children’s mental health needs, demonstrates how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery, and resilience, and shows how children with mental health needs can thrive in their communities.

“On both the local and state level, Virginia has been working to improve services and meet the mental health needs of our children and youth,” said DMHMRSAS Commissioner James Reinhard, M.D. “When the right services and supports are available, children with mental health needs and their families have the tools to thrive in the communities where they live.”

Through the Virginia Children’s Services System Transformation, thirteen local communities, referred to as the Council on Reform (CORE), have been working on behalf of children involved with or at-risk of involvement with multiple child-serving agencies, including those providing mental health interventions. CORE’s goals are for children to achieve success in life, for safety for children and communities, for children to live in their own communities, for an increase in family-based placements as opposed to residential care, and for children to build life-long family connections. The best practices developed by CORE are being adapted by other Virginia communities. Also, many communities have already begun to implement new and innovative approaches to serving their children.

Throughout the Commonwealth, local children’s programs are making great strides to help children, youth, and families thrive at home, at school and in the community, including:

Virginia’s local community services boards continue to serve more children with more severe disabilities. In 1997, CSBs served 8,922 youth with or at risk of serious emotional disturbance (SED); in 2006, CSBs served 17,955 youth with or at risk of SED. This represents a 101 percent increase in the numbers of youth with or at risk of SED served by CSBs between 1997 and 2006.

During National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration promotes positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.   


Effective July 1, 2009, DMHMRSAS will change its name to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. 

Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public mental health, intellectual disability and substance abuse services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DMHMRSAS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with a mental illness, intellectual disability or a substance-use disorder. 

1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797
Phone: (804) 786-3921
Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:


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