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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Foundations Join to Support Mental Health Education in Virginia

(Courtesy of Williamsburg Health Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Williamsburg Health Foundation is collaborating with 17
other philanthropic foundations from throughout Virginia to provide funding for expanded REACH behavioral health trainings for primary care providers treating children, adolescents, and young adults across the Commonwealth.

More than $170,000 has been contributed by these foundations to address the growing need for improved access to mental health care.

The primary goal of the Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP) is to ensure better mental health for children. Through education initiatives, training, and access to specialists, primary care providers are better equipped to screen, diagnose, manage, and treat mental health, ensuring better quality of life for children and their families.

VMAP will coordinate two REACH trainings serving up to 80 primary care
providers. These intensive three-day, 16-hour interactive courses for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are focused on building skills and confidence in diagnosing and treating pediatric behavioral health problems. Following course completion, they participate in bi-monthly calls with national primary care and child/adolescent psychiatry experts to address cases in their daily practices.

According to Fairfax pediatrician and VMAP Founder, Dr. Sandy Chung, “Our foundation partners responded quickly in a meaningful way to help us address pediatric behavioral health needs -needs that are growing exponentially, outpacing the availability of mental health providers, The pandemic worsened a youth mental health crisis that was already present. We now have more young people than ever before suffering from anxiety, depression, and thoughts of self-harm. With VMAP,
primary care providers can be prepared with the best information to help children and their families right away.”

The Williamsburg Health Foundation has a corpus of over $135 million and distributes an average of $5 million in grants annually in the Greater Williamsburg area. The Foundation also convenes agencies to address health-related challenges that cannot be solved by one organization or sector alone.

Deanna Van Hersh, CEO and President of the Williamsburg Health Foundation, says, “The Williamsburg Health Foundation is grateful to be part of this collaborative of foundations from around the Commonwealth who are working together to address mental health. We believe partnerships across organizations is critical to addressing the mental health challenges facing our children and communities.”

For more information on the Williamsburg Health Foundation and a list of participating foundations, visit
Visit the Virginia Mental Health Assistance Program for more information on the program, REACH and the list of participating foundations.

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