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Mental Health Virginia is the oldest mental health advocacy organization in Virginia.

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Victories Should be Celebrated

Written by Bruce Cruser

Bruce Cruser has been Executive Director of Mental Health Virginia since 2016, bringing a background in social work and community corrections, and many years of leadership experience in local and state government.

August 28, 2018

Victory for Mental Health Sep 27 20186:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Atlas 42 in Innsbrook

(4032-A Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA)

Click here for tickets and/or to make a donation.

“These teens saw how poor mental health hurt their peers. So they got a law passed.”

(The Washington Post 4/23/18 )

Senator Creigh Deeds with students Alex Moreno, Lucas Johnson and Choetsow Tenzin

Victories should be celebrated, especially when everyone wins, they are life-giving, and they build for the future.

We’re celebrating several victories for mental health at our dinner program on September 27th.

As high school seniors in Albemarle County, VA, Alex Moreno, Lucas Johnson and Choetsow Tenzin successfully pushed for a state law requiring mental health instruction in Virginia high schools. Senator Creigh Deeds (D) and Del. Rob Bell (R) sponsored the legislation in this year’s session. It passed with bi-partisan support and Virginia has now joined New York as only the second state with a mental health education requirement.

For a state that ranks in the bottom tier for access to mental health services, this law gets Virginia noticed for something positive, and in the long run it can help change how our culture values mental health.

Public schools provide health education because living a healthy life is more likely to occur when students have knowledge, skills and positive attitudes about health. Likewise, the first step in getting help, for oneself or for others, is knowing enough to recognize when there’s a problem.

If young people grow up understanding that mental health is part of everyday health, the more natural their tendency to talk about it, notice problem signs and get help early. This law helps open doors to wellness in schools across the state and can help save lives.

Senator Deeds and Delegate Bell are joining us at our Victory for Mental Health dinner on September 27th to present Mental Health America of Virginia’s Advocacy Champion of the Year Award to Moreno, Johnson and Tenzin.

Our featured speaker is Dr. Hughes Melton, the state Commissioner of Behavioral Health, who will share exciting plans to expand public mental health services and reach many more Virginians.

Medicaid Expansion will enable hundreds of thousands lower income Virginians to get health care effective January 1st.*

The new state budget includes more funding for behavioral health services, including community mental health services, supportive housing, alternative transportation, jail discharge planning, and crisis intervention.

Our MHAV statewide, peer-run Warm Line is expanding to operate in the evenings and on weekends.

These are true Victories for Mental Health!

We invite you to join us for dinner, networking, and to congratulate our advocate champions from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 27th.  Click here for tickets and/or to make a donation.

Bruce Cruser, Executive Director

Mental Health America of Virginia

* For information on Medicaid expansion and to sign up for updates: See the “Cover VA” website at

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