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Letter from the Executive Director – November 2, 2020

Happy November! The beautiful fall weather has arrived, the 2020 NAMIWalk was a big success and, for many of us, the holidays are right around the corner!

This has been an interesting year with so many changes in the way we live and do business due to the coronavirus. I sure never envisioned a pandemic in my lifetime! The mental health community is a resilient group and we have, and will continue to, weather the storm! Just remember, to be kind to yourself, your loved ones and your neighbors. Humans are social people and we need one another. Please do not isolate. Utilize the numerous ways we have to communicate: telephone, social media, Zoom and other meeting platforms, postal mail, email, in-person activities with a face covering and social distancing, and any other safe means you have identified. You matter!

One unexpected event included in the interesting occurrences this year, is the 2020 General Assembly Special Session. The 2020 Special Session has primarily focused on the Commonwealth’s $2.7 billion budget shortfall and criminal justice legislation. The Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate put forth a budget conference report that was sent to the governor to be signed, or amended, after election day on November 3rd.

Special Session budget amendments primarily focused on the following categories:

  • K-12 education and childcare
  • Higher Education
  • Healthcare (including mental health)
  • Housing
  • Costs associated with police reform

While NAMI Virginia is grateful that the General Assembly made considerable progress in restoring programs for the mental health community, there is still work to be done so please stayed tuned for NAMI Virginia Advocacy Alerts. Our voices change hearts and minds!

As always, it is a pleasure to serve you. Together we make a difference!

Kathy Harkey, MAPP, BSP, BSMDS
Executive Director

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