Fall Newsletter Vol. I
Please remember that nominations for new members of the Board of Directors are underway!

Voting will take place at the November General Meeting.

Please read the article at the bottom of the newsletter for candidate profiles and more information.

Mental Health News

Letter from the President

It was great to see so many members and visitors attend our Sept 11 meeting! We were all treated to a wonderful presentation by 4 members: Wally Hogue, Jennifer Dishman, Colin Connelly and Darryl Matthews. They each told us about their experiences being involved with our programs: Peer to Peer, In our Own Voice and Connections support groups. For those not familiar with those programs or others thinking about getting involved, it was most informative. Individually they are each wonderful speakers for any group. We are looking forward to Dr. Pandurangi, Director of Psychiatry at VCU School of Medicine as a guest speaker on October 9. He usually draws a big crowd as well.

October 15 we will be at NBC 12 for the Call 12 segment during the 5:00 – 6:30 newscast. Our members will be answering calls and we will get some PR for our efforts. We do this yearly and they tell us we get more calls than most other groups. The NAMI Walk is on October 18th and I hope you will be there. This is a great day to meet many others that are involved with NAMI all over the state. It’s an outdoor festival that gets kicked off at about 11am over by the Innsbrook Pavilion. There will be food, fun, information and plenty of activities for everyone. I hope you will come out and support NAMI Central Virginia’s efforts.

NAMI is a wonderful organization, but you won’t get as much out of it unless you get involved and participate in our programs and events.

Rick Stuller
The 2014 NAMI Walk: THIS MONTH

The 2014 NAMI Walk is set to take place on Saturday, October 18th at Innsbrook!  That is just over TWO WEEKS away! The Walk is a major annual fundraising event for NAMI, and everyone is encouraged to participate. While it is free to join the event, it is recommended that everyone involved attempt to raise at least $100 towards NAMI.  The current fundraising goal for the event is $225,000, which we can achieve with your help! 

Apart from the actual walk, the event will feature plenty of fun activities for adults and children alike. 

If you are interested in participating, please contact the office at 804-285-1749 or at info@namicentralvirginia.org. But don't delay, because the Walk is right around the corner!

Additionally you may visit http://namiwalks.org to register, sign up, or donate to NAMI Central Virginia (please ensure that you have Central Virginia listed as your Affiliate). 

Please join us on Saturday the 18th for a wonderful day of fellowship, encouragement, and fun!
Amazing Raise 2014

NAMI-CVA, in partnership with NAMI Virginia, participated in GiveRichmond’s Amazing Raise. This was a 36-hour online-donation campaign involving virtually every non-profit organization in the Central Virginia region. The event lasted from 6:00 AM on September 17th, and ended at 6:00 PM on the 18th.

Overall, the Amazing Raise was a huge success! NAMI-CVA doubled the donor contributions from last year, and then some! Even though another organization ended up winning the video contests, NAMI-CVA and NAMI-Virginia won the “2nd Early Bird Challenge” by being the first team to have 25 donations entered on the second day.  At the end of the event, both NAMI groups together were able to raise over $5,000!

We wish to extend a HUGE thanks to Megan Hodges & the folks at NAMI Virginia for their support and planning, the volunteers that contributed to the video project, all the folks that made phone calls to encourage donations, volunteers with the real-time “Thank-you” emails, and of course, the donors! With all of this support, our efforts in the Amazing Raise were much more effective. Next year, NAMI-CVA can do it even bigger!

Richmond City Health Fair

On October 23rd, Richmond City will be holding a health fair at the Richmond Convention Center.  NAMI Central Virginia needs volunteers for this event.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the office at 804-285-1749, or email info@namicentralvirginia.org. 
Volunteers Needed for Study

NAMI Central Virginia has been asked to spread word regarding a new study into schizophrenia.  Volunteers are needed for the study.  Below is the information from the flyer:

Research shows that in families with a history of schizophrenia, there is a strong genetic link associated with the disease. A genetic link means that it may be possible for medical science to find the gene or sequence of genes causing this debilitating disorder. This information could then be used to develop new treatments for managing symptoms and to hopefully one day find a cure.

The VA Boston Healthcare System has launched a study using the latest research technology in human DNA analysis to help determine the underlying genetic variables responsible for schizophrenia. To qualify for this study, there must be at least 3 available members of the extended family who are diagnosed with one of these disorders:

• Schizophrenia

• Schizoaffective Disorder

• Schizotypal Personality Disorder

• Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features

The study also seeks 3 “healthy” members of the family who are willing to participate. All family members must be at least 18 years old. The study involves a clinical interview and a blood draw.

Participants who complete the study receive $130.

Study is not restricted to veterans, but is open to the general public.

To learn more, contact:

Paul Nelson, M.Ed.

Study Coordinator

Email GeneticsResearchVA@gmail.com or call 845-981-9514

Lynn E. DeLisi MD Study Investigator

Additionally, you may contact the office at 804-285-1749 or info@namicentralvirginia.org if you have any questions.
Navigating the Justice System

For those who have encountered or have loved ones who've encountered the criminal justice system, NAMI-CVA has recently been made aware of several resources.

The first is Beyond Punishment, a booklet created by NAMI's Baltimore affiliate geared towards the Maryland criminal justice system, and how to navigate it; much of the advice contained within still applies to Virginia residents, despite our laws being different.  It is an excellent starting resource, and a link to the full pdf file can be found here: Beyond Punishment.

The second resource is NAMI National's "Criminal Justice" page, located here: Criminal Justice.  It contains links to numerous other resources and guides.
Nominations for the Board of Directors

The Nominating Committee has selected a slate of six candidates for the election that will take place at the November General Meeting. The qualifications of these NAMI Central Virginia members are listed in the attached biographies. These candidates will be officially placed into nomination at the upcoming October General meeting. Other candidates may be nominated from the floor at the November meeting if they provide written copies of their qualifications to the members at that time. Only members whose dues are current will be eligible to vote at the election in November.
Michael V. Francisco
Michael (Mike) Francisco is a retired military officer who lives in Chesterfield with his wife Patricia. They have a son living with serious mental illness.

Mike graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in Political Science. He subsequently served five years U.S. Army active duty and twenty years in the Reserves. He held numerous staff positions while in the service and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He worked in Civil Service for 25 years as a Management Analyst for the Department of Defense and the Defense Commissary Agency. He has also held sales and management positions in financial planning and the golf industry.

Mike is a past president of NAMI Central Virginia and is currently on the Board of Directors, holding the Advocacy Chair. After he and his wife completed the NAMI Family to Family course in 2011, he became a Certified Family to Family Trainer. He is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team Task Force in Chesterfield and South Central Virginia. He is also an Advisory Committee member for the Chesterfield-Richmond City Triage Center at Chippenham Hospital and a member of the Public Safety Work Group for the recent Governor’s Task Force for mental health issues. Besides serving as President of NAMI Central Virginia, he has had that role with two other non-profits. He would like to see the affiliate’s membership increase and become more engaged through participation on committees.

Mike has coached Little League Baseball, soccer, and basketball, and officiated at High School football. You may contact him at francisco10821@comcast.net .

Amanda R. Simons, M.ED.,MSW
Amanda Simons has learned empathy for families faced with mental illness through dealing with the illness of her son who began his mental health treatment at age 6 and was diagnosed with Bipolar II at the age of 11. She has learned to “normalize” mental health treatment at home and chooses to believe he will grow up successful in life.

Amanda received a B.S. in Family Studies at the University of Maryland, and holds a M. Ed. in Counselor Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also has a MSW and is certified in school social work. She worked as a High School counselor for ten years and is now a school social worker. Her career has exposed her to the prevalence of mental illness in the community, especially among children and youth, and its accompanying stigma. She currently chairs the Metro Richmond Local Human Rights Committee and has been a Healing Zone Circle Leader with Comfort Zone Camp since 2007.

In response to her appreciation for the resources NAMI provides to individuals living with serious mental illness and their caregivers, Amanda keeps NAMI activities posted in her offices, and has referred families to the classes. She would love to see the affiliate offer more services to children, especially adolescents. She would use her position on the Board to reach out to school counselors, social workers, and psychologists to make sure they know what NAMI offers.

Amanda and her son are big foodies and research the best places to eat wherever they travel. That is often to the beach. She loves to exercise and is trying to get her son to join her in walking more frequently.
If you want to contact her, you can do so at simonsar@vcu.edu or 239-4869.

Jennifer L. Dishman
My name is Jennifer L. Dishman. I am a 47 year old African American woman who loves NAMI. I am a consumer and was diagnosed at age 24 with Major depression and PTSD after serving in the armed services. I have been involved with NAMI since 2006. I have been a volunteer, a peer specialist, and a co-chair for the Multicultural Action Committee. I was also vice-president and president of the Board of Directors for NAMI-Lexington, KY.

My vision for growth of the affiliate is to include more minorities in NAMI CVA. I would like to continue training others to tell their stories through IOOV. I am a state trainer and have been doing this training for several years now. I have seen many consumers grow and conquer some of their fears by learning to tell their stories. I am also a facilitator for Family to Family.

I earned a B.S. in Corrections and Juvenile Services at Eastern Kentucky University. I was employed first at Social Services and then at a women and children’s shelter for more than seventeen years. I have had experience with non-profit organizations through-out Kentucky and Virginia. Since moving to Richmond one year ago, I have become very involved with NAMI CVA. I facilitate two Connection groups, one at Hunter Holmes McGuire and one in Chesterfield. I also participate in IOOV program every Tuesday at Richmond Community Hospital. I am currently on the Alpha Kappa Alpha Membership Committee.

I can be both a good leader and a team player. If you have any questions for me, I can be contacted at (804) 323-1236 or jdishmanaka@hotmail.com .

Rev. Dr. Gabriella Caldwell-Miller
Rev. Dr. Gabriella Caldwell-Miller, a Licensed Professional Counselor for 20 years, is the Clinical Supervisor of Outpatient Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services at Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services. She is an adjunct instructor in the School of Theology at Virginia Union and a faculty member in the Human Services and Psychology Departments at the University of Phoenix – Richmond Campus.

Gabriella earned a B.S. degree in Sociology and a M.S. degree in Counselor Education from Illinois State University, and holds a PhD in Human Services from Capella University. In 2011, she earned the Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Virginia Union.

Gabriella has a long history of community service aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness. She served on the Board of the McLean County (Illinois) affiliate of Mental Health America from 1998 - 2000. She has been both a participant and chairperson on the physical and mental health committee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. This group has sponsored depression screenings, community forums, and workshops to increase public awareness of mental illness and mental wellness.
Gabriella is married to the Rev. Aamon R. Miller, Pastor at St. Swansboro Baptist in Richmond, VA where she serves as Director of Congregational Care. They are the proud parents of two teen daughters.

Rev. Dr. Caldwell-Miller has special interest in trauma recovery; the integration of spirituality, faith, and mental/emotional recovery; and mental health issues among clergy.
She may be contacted at gabriella@gcmlifesolutions.com or 804-836-6274.

Teresa A. Shuk, MSW
Teresa (Tessa) Shuk has recently returned to live in Richmond and has engaged with NAMI by attending the Family to Family program and the NAMI State Convention. She has three grown children one who has an intellectual disability, and another who lives with serious mental illness. Tessa’s husband died in 2007 and was very supportive of her efforts to enhance services for those living with a disability.

Tessa received a BS in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University and holds a Masters in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has most recently worked in Dare County NC as a Medical Social Worker and bereavement counselor in Home Health and Hospice. She has also volunteered with Bon Secours Richmond Hospice and worked at The ARC of Northern Virginia advocating for legislative changes for people with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Tessa has been successful as an advocate for services for children with cognitive disabilities, initiating a parent group in Northern Virginia and successfully lobbying for improved statewide educational services for these students. She also served on the Statewide Task Force for Individual and Family Support. Besides connecting with consumers and their families, Tessa has worked with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and legislators.

Tessa is a competent, caring person who wants to positively impact the recovery process of those living with serious mental illness through advocacy for enhanced services.

Please feel free to contact her at tshuk3@gmail.com .

Rev. Arcelia (CC) Jackson
The Rev. Arcelia (CC) Jackson, is the Assistant Pastor of the 7th Street Memorial Baptist Church where she serves beside her husband, Pastor Micah Jackson. She is the proud mother of two adult children: Aaron, and Melanie.
CC holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice and a B.A. degree in Religious Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2011, CC earned a Master of Divinity degree at Virginia Union University. Currently, she is a student at South University majoring in Clinical Mental Health.

As part of her requirements for graduation, and to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia, she works with the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, counseling participants in their Psychosocial Day Program; and responding to crises via the Crisis Unit.
After working many years within the law enforcement community, and then teaching, CC has switched her focus to shattering the stigma attached to mental illness especially within faith communities. Her areas of special interest are substance abuse and personality disorders. These areas of passion are the result of both her professional interests and the private struggles she has witnessed within her own family.

CC has hosted several health fairs within her church, partnered with the Richmond Police Department Chaplains Academy, Baptist General Convention of Richmond, and Faith Community Baptist Church to bring awareness to mental health and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She is proudly using her voice to speak for those who have too often suffered in silence.

CC can be reached via email at revceecee@7street.org or at (804) 677-2559.