Mental Health Awareness

We talk about lingerie being a part of self-care often – but as a part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to dig deeper into ways that we can support healthy communities. Enter: Mental Health America in Roanoke – we had the privilege of sitting down with Rachel Fletcher, Director of Development, to get the low-down on what they do, and how we can be a part of a mentally resilient community.


Rachel came to Mental Health America from Planned Parenthood – and brought experience working closely with individual donors with her. Because Mental Health America has big goals to serve the Roanoke area, they found that their existing reliance on state and federal funding was just too risky – so they’re reaching out and building a base of individual and corporate donors to support their programs. Mental Health America operates the only free psychiatric clinic in Virginia, and this, to us, is huge. Rachel told us that they work with under-or-un-insured individuals and can work with a patients Medicaid medication coverage to provide medication supervision along with additional therapy – helping patients get the maximum benefit from a treatment plan.

They also offer some amazing training programs: one focused on helping Law Enforcement Organizations provide better first-line training and support for individuals who are in crisis, or who may be in need of psychiatric care. Mental Health America’s goal is to provide tools and training to officers so that they may best interact with our most vulnerable community members.

Another program focuses on non-profits or corporations, and aims to provide actionable tools and trainings to help companies foster safe working environments and to best recognize when an individual may be facing a mental health crisis. These trainings are offered at low-cost for qualifying non-profits, and at a reasonable rate for companies.

The last program is one that is incredibly dear to us: Super Hero Kids, focused on breaking the cycle of domestic violence and supporting children who have been victimized to become healthy, mentally resilient adults. As a result of some increased funding and support, the program is now able to serve children up to age 17.

So we had to ask Rachel what she wanted to see happen in 5 years for Mental Health America – and her response was that they want to increase their provider base, so that they can increase the patients that can receive services. They’ve invested in Theralink – which allows patients to see a practitioner from the MHA offices virtually – and has allowed a number of new practitioners to come on board and work from their home offices or other remote locations.

In order to support this work, Mental Health America does several events in the local Roanoke area: the first of which is Saturday 5/18/2019 at Smith Park. For more information about the walk – jump over here.

There are a number of ways that you can get involved, either as a donor, volunteer, or ally. Rachel recommends accessing “trauma-informed” reading materials, taking workshops or training through Mental Health America, and attending their free events – as well as approaching mental illness with compassion instead of judgement. Encouraging people who may feel that mental health services are outside their financial means to apply for Medicaid if they are eligible, and look into community-based low-cost options is also helpful: people cannot access services if they do not know they exist.

We are so grateful to Rachel for sitting down with us – this is a cause near and dear to all of us at Derriere de Soie. We are nothing without the support of our communities, and it’s an honor to be able to support the organizations doing amazing work in our local areas.

If you want more information about Mental Health America, you can find it on their website, or contact their office directly at (540) 344-0931.

If you’re interested in being a donor, Rachel would love to talk to you about your options, and is available via their office phone number.

Leave a Reply