Health – Prince William County Chapter

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., Prince William County Chapter, Inc. received its 5th grant from Potomac Health Foundation. The awarded amount was $144,000.00 to implement a mental health initiative. During the first year, a pilot program designed for middle school students and parents will be known as “Responding And Protecting” (RAP). The program objectives are: 1) to provide mental health RAP sessions for middle school students and 2) to educate and inform parents about the knowledge of mental health topics. The focal points of the program are on wellness and stress management. Each program will consist of six training modules for the students and six training modules for parents.

In February 2018, NCBW/PWCC surveyed 83 black adolescents and adults in Prince William County and Stafford on topics related to mental health. The data revealed that there was a very strong interest in learning about mental health with 94% indicating “yes.” Similarly, more than 90% were willing to attend educational sessions about mental health in the upcoming year. Only slightly more than half (55.4%) discussed mental health topics with their physician, family, or teacher. Some of the participants’ comments about topics willing to discuss include: 1) “How to detect depression, anxiety, and suicide indicators.” 2) “The black community is unable to discuss/receive help.

(3) “Many blacks don’t seek the help they need.” and 4) “Build more hospitals for adolescents and adults with mental illness.” This last written comment alludes to the lack of adequate mental health services at local hospitals in the community. Our findings suggested that there is a strong need in the community for programs to educate Black adolescents and adults about mental health.

During the month of July 2018, NCBW/PWCC Executive Team contacted several prominent individuals in the community, sponsors, and citizens to ascertain their views on educating the black community on Mental Health. Some of the quotes were:

Mr. Guy Lambert WPGC News Director/FOX 5 Anchor/Correspondent stated:  “Mental Health has affected me personally. My Uncle, whom I’m named after, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As a child my family and I had very few places to turn to seek help for my uncle. Now, thanks to organizations like NCBW-PWCC more and more people are beginning to understand the importance of addressing mental health which is bringing more awareness to this issue.”

Mrs. Pam Mines, Special Needs Advocate stated: “The Special Needs Community is oftentimes overlooked and unseen. We must respect, consider and remember this community in our conversations and in our thoughts. Why? Because, they are not hiding… we just have to learn to see them.”

Mr. Clarence Wright Owner – CCAA Events stated:  “Mental health issues should continue to be in the forefront of conversations. As the stepparent of a young man who deals with mental illness, I’ve seen the challenges first hand. I understand this community just wants what everyone else wants and that’s to be respected, accepted and loved. Let’s not turn our backs on mental illness, but educate on mental illness. Ultimately we are all in the community together; let’s work together…to make it better.”

Ms. Maria Ramadane, Principal at Graham Park Middle School stated:  “We are committed to the continuous support of actions to improve and advance the quality of the social, economic, and physical health of our students and community, and therefore, endorse the efforts of NCBW/PWCC.”

Mrs. Mary R. Lively, 2nd Vice President, NCBW/PWCC and Co-Chair of Programs stated: “Your mental health is a priority”! “Your happiness is essential.”! Your self-care is a necessity.”

Mr. Kevin Williams, CEO TekConnX stated:  “Having been therapeutic foster parents for over 15 years, my wife Meschelle, and I know firsthand why our children’s mental health matters in Prince William County!”  The impact of a proactive mental health care outreach and awareness will play a critical role in how we address mental healthcare concerns and give us access to the tools and information that is so important to healthy families, schools, and the community.

Ms. Shelia D. Coleman, 1st Vice President of NCBW/PWCC and Co-Chair of Programs stated:  “Diabetes, Colon Cancer, and Breast Cancer are accepted and acknowledged as destroyers of the quality of life in communities of color. It is time to recognize, what has been historically TABOO, the need for effective and early interventions for MENTAL HEALTH.”

Dr. Phyllis Morgan, Nurse Practitioner, and NCBW/PWCC member stated:  “Mental health is vital to the body just as much as other health systems such as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal. Also taking care of your mental health is a learned behavior that requires equipping yourself with the right resources and environment. There is a great deal of stigma surrounding mental health issues in the African American community. Educating African Americans is critical to dispelling myths and stigma about mental health. The mind, body and soul are separate, but operate together. Furthermore, more research indicates the connection between physiological diseases and mental health and vice versa.”

Mrs. LaBrenda Haynes, RN, and CEO, HaynesView, LLC stated:  “Cultural differences affect how “mental health” is defined. Mental health is a critical part of overall wellness. There is a real challenge in removing the stigma associated with mental disorders in the African American community so that we can receive treatment for them. We can live our lives well when we take care of our physical and mental health.”

Dr. Alice H. Howard, Executive Director, NCBW/PWCC, Mental Health Grant and Retired School Superintendent stated:  “The Mental Health Program is designed to engage students and parents in learning environments for psychotherapy methods and activities that will teach them to manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders. It will also prepare them to address problems and concerns with themselves, with others, and family members.”

NCBW/PWCC and the Executive Team are ecstatic that the organization was awarded a grant to introduce a pilot program during the 2018-2019 school year. The organization looks forward to piloting the health initiative at Graham Park Middle School and the churches. If this pilot program is successful, the chapter will implement a mental health program next year in a high school. Continued support is needed by local pastors, congregations, and schools.

NCBW/PWCC would like to hear your thoughts and comments about this mental health topic. Please send your responses to dwithers1019@gmail.com. To clarify any questions, please call Dr. Alice Howard at 703-583-1951/52/53.

Written By: Dr. Alice H. Howard, Executive Director

Mrs. Roxie B. Curtis, Public Relations

Education – Greater Huntsville Area Chapter

National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. has partnered with Huntsville City School Mentor to help student, parent and professionals to meet the need and connect student and provide them with necessary resources need.  These programs ensure our young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationship to succeed at home, school and ultimately, work.  To achieve this mentor collaborates with Military Child Education Coalition programs include High School Transition Support (HSTS) Student 2 Student and At-Risk Student Program.  HSTS help provide students with the tools necessary to become college, career, and life-ready.  HSTS welcome new students, support academic excellence, and ease transitions as student enter in a new school. As mentors in the program, we trained on methods to support students relocating to or from their schools. The objective of this program is to address the challenges faced by students as they transition in or out school.  It identifies and apply four key issues of transitioning students: academics. finding the way, relationship, and acceptance. We connect new student with students that can help the new student transit into new school, help them face concerns impacting transition.

Public Policy – Chattanooga Chapter

Spearheaded by Public Policy Chair Debbie Jones-Ellis, and her Co-Chair Amanda Vickie Mathis a collaboration was formed with the Chattanooga League of Women Voters to host a Hamilton County 2018 May Primary Candidate Forum.  Below is a snippet of an article in the March 28 Chattanooga Times Free Press as it relates to the forum:

Republican voters will have, at most, three choices to make on their ballots because most of the races are uncontested; Democrats, at most, will have two. That portends an incredibly light voter turnout.

You wouldn’t have guessed that by the crowd at the Hamilton County Candidates Forum at Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church on Monday night, though. By the time it started, the parking lot was packed, but people kept coming in to fill up the church’s social hall.

We hope the huge crowd was a testament to both the promotional work of the sponsors, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the League of Women Voters of Chattanooga, and to voters’ interest in the offices and who should hold them.

It’s not clear how many, if any, more opportunities voters will have to see so many candidates in one setting before early voting starts. If there are no more, we wish more candidates — especially Republicans — would have seen fit to include the forum in their plans.

The forum allowed candidates to give closing and opening statements and to each answer specific questions posed by the moderator and, through the moderator, from the audience.