Bringing mental health to the forefront

Having lived in Roanoke for over 40 years, I am no stranger to the wonderful things our valley has to offer. I grew up in the Northern Neck of Virginia but decided to build my life in Roanoke after graduating from Hollins University. Roanoke has proven to be a delightful place to raise a family, too. It has been a wonderful place to raise my three children and build a career.

As a faithful member of the Roanoke Valley I have heard of the great work Family Service has done for years. This inspired me to join the board.

Going on a little over seven years now, I have served as the Chief Development Officer for Carilion Clinic. With this experience I am no stranger to the high demand for mental health services. Nationwide there is a great need for mental health counseling to support children and their families in traumatic situations. In our region we are blessed to have Family Service. The staff is caring and committed to providing the best services they can. We are very fortunate to have Family Service as a place families can come for help in times of stress and despair.

One of my siblings suffers from bipolar disease. Thankfully, my sibling is doing really well now. Growing up, however, we lived in a very small community where there were few resources for assistance. The disease itself was rarely, if ever, discussed.

This situation affected my entire family. I feel certain if there had been support services available like what one can find at Family Service, we would have had the knowledge needed to better weather tougher times.

Unfortunately, mental illness is still the disease one does not like to talk about or admit to having. In the future I look forward to seeing Family Service grow stronger in advocacy for awareness and treatment of mental illness.