Friends' designation #8916
We wish to thank our very special sponsors and supporters. These are people, organizations and businesses who recognize the importance of good mental health and are committed to addressing the stigma associated with mental illness. Remember, mental illness is a brain disease.....not a character flaw. Together we can make a significant difference. Click the logos below to learn more about our Circle of Friends.
Serving Loudoun citizens since 1955, Friends continues to provide support and services to mental health consumers living in Loudoun County. Their initial effort was as an advisory board responsible for bringing the first mental health services to Loudoun County and for providing specialized equipment and supplies to the earlier Loudoun County mental health centers on King Street and later on South Street in Leesburg. Friends’ roles as advocates, educators, and service providers expanded in the late 1980’s with the introduction of its representative payee program which continues to serve mental health consumers receiving SSI. In 1993, Friends broadened its efforts to better address evolving needs of Loudoun citizens living with chronic mental illnesses that were not being covered by federal/state/local funding. A proactive public/private partnership was formed between Friends and Supported Living Services (Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services) to address issues of homelessness among Loudoun citizens living with chronic mental illnesses. This partnership and other successful collaborative initiatives thrive today as demonstrated through Friends’ direct services and community focused programs.
Friends are mental health advocates who, through Friends' initiatives, provide material assistance to Loudoun Residents experiencing disabling mental illnesses; speak out as activists to help end discrimination, and sponsor educational programs to make the community aware of mental health issues.
We envision a Loudoun County that is accepting and supportive of all of its citizens, regardless of their circumstances. We envision being able to draw upon the community's own resources in marshaling support for the people we represent. We envision being able to contribute to the community's rational discourse about issues of disability, entitlement, and social integration.
The Friends provide material assistance to individuals disabled by mental illness in order to help them maintain safety and security during times of economic uncertainty. In providing assistance we must be mindful both of our own budgetary limitations and of our need to share resources fairly and equitably. We must also be mindful that assistance too freely provided may sometimes foster dependency or may intrude upon the privacy and integrity of the individual. In order to ensure that the assistance offered does not produce unintended clinical consequences, we should be guided by our provision of assistance by the professional judgment of our advisors in Loudoun's Mental Health Residential Services, a program of the Loudoun County Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
The Friends commit to educating the community about the causes and conditions of mental illnesses, about the individuals and families affected by mental illness, and about the social implications of community mental health. Mental health must always be defined as an attribute of a community's well-being, as a matter of social justice, and as a responssibility that members of a caring society pledge to each other.
The Friends do not believe that public mental health policy is a matteer of political partianship. The Friends will endeavor to advocate strongly for issues based on their merit and not on political expediency. The Friends will not endorse candidates for public office, but will take positions on proposed legilsation, ballot measures, budget resolutions, or other matters of public policy that have bearings on the wellbeing of the individuals we represent.
We foster community-wide relationships to:
- advocate for services that support recovery from mental illnesses;
- educate the public, using various venues, about the importance of good mental health and the challenges of living with chronic mental illnesses
- help prevent homelessness among mental health consumers who are actively engaged in professionally provided therapeutic services through A Place to Call Home our unique public/private partnership with Supported Living Services of Loudoun County’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services;
- identify gaps in Loudoun’s mental health services, guide efforts to deal with the identified problems, and enhance mental health services through collaboration with mental health service providers, agencies, organizations, advocates and consumers;
- raise funding to support direct service initiatives managed through a public/private partnership as well as additional collaborative programming with other organizations in Loudoun County.
The following three direct-service programs are unique and represent a public/private partnership between Friends of Loudoun Mental Health and the Supported Living Services Division of Loudoun County Mental Health Services. County services provide professional mental health care and support for people working towards recovery. Friends is assured when a request comes from the County’s Mental Health Services that all other resources for assistance have been exhausted and that the consumer’s needs are fully documented and tracked by professional mental health personnel. This partnership assures that funds donated to Friends are spent judicially with full transparency and equally important, that the consumer uses the funds as intended to maintain his/her recovery process, stability, and independent living.
This program helps prevent homelessness among Loudoun residents disabled by mental illnesses. Friends provides rental subsidizes to consumers of Loudoun County Mental Health Services who are prepared to live independently but who cannot afford to do so. This direct service is administrated by Friends’ through their public/private partnership with Loudoun County Supported Living Services. Loudoun residents, experiencing disabling mental illnesses and receiving assistance from Friends’ programming, live below the poverty line. Many currently receive SSI or SSDI (internal link).
A program providing a hand up, not a hand out, such as small loans and one-time gifts to people disabled by mental illnesses, who are receiving professional care, and are in need of temporary financial help – money for an asthma inhalator, deposit for utilities, or boots for the winter season.
Volunteers manage the finances of consumers of Loudoun County Supported Living Services who are not able to handle their own money due to being disabled by mental illnesses or who are required by the Social Security Administration to have a representative payee in order to receive their monthly allocations.
The following programs are advocacy, educational, outreach and fund raising initiatives to help end discrimination against people living with and working towards recovery from mental illnesses.
People disabled by mental illnesses are often times discriminated against. This stigma can cause them to become isolated within their own families, neighborhoods, and places of employment. Like any one of us, people who are working to recover from mental illnesses need social support and friendships as part of their daily lives. Friends Being Friends is just such an outreach program. Volunteers join Loudoun residents, who are striving to recover from mental illnesses, for bowling nights, movies, picnics, musical concerts, or trips to regional meetings for consumers about recovery and current federal and state legislation. Volunteers even prepare holiday meals for consumers living in group homes throughout Loudoun County. In other words, volunteers are Friends Being Friends.
In Our Own Voice is a unique public education program developed by NAMI, in which two trained mental health consumers share compelling personal stories about living with mental illnesses and achieving recovery. Friends sponsors and coordinates IOOV presenters in Loudoun County. Understanding recovery as having several dimensions makes its uneven course easier to accept. Much as we dont blame the cancer patient for dying of invasive tumors, we cant condemn a consumer whose symptoms overtake his or her best efforts to manage illness. Presentations are given to consumer groups, students, law enforcement officials, educators, providers, faith community members, politicians, professionals, inmates, and interested civic groups. All presentations are offered free of charge.
Each October Friends organizes a hike in the Loudoun countryside for consumers of mental health services, friends, family and the public. This outreach program provides a fun filled day of hiking and picnicking. It helps affirm the importance of knowing about and understanding mental illnesses as well as embracing and supporting the recovery process. The Hike is open to the public. See Friends’ website for registration information.
Friends has been serving Loudoun County since 1955.
Friends’ Board members are mental health advocates who, through Friends’ various initiatives, provide supportive and educational programming as well as activist voices to help end discrimination against people experiencing disabling mental illnesses and who are striving to recover. Friends is an all volunteer, non-profit organization with no paid staff.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall administration of Friends and its direct services, educational and advocacy programs. At the current time, Friends’ Board acts both as a governing board and a working board.
There is a difference between what the Board does, acting as a body (governing board), and what Board members do, acting as individuals on various committees (working board). In other words, Friends’ Board members participate in program work, fundraising work, and administrative work along side other committee volunteers striving to achieve Friends’ mission and goals.
People interested in becoming Board members should contact Friends@loudounfriends.org. The Board meets the second Wednesday of each month in Leesburg. Strategic Planning Meetings are held bi-annually and replace two of the regularly scheduled monthly meetings.
Volunteers are also welcomed to join short-term projects and standing committees without becoming a Board member. Please contact Friends@loudounfriends.org.
Round Hill, VA
Rita Cassidy Sheehan
Paeonian Springs, VA
Mental Health Residental & Day Services
Loudoun County Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Committees are the lifeblood of Friends – an all volunteer organization with no paid staff. Committees comprised of volunteers willing to give their time, energies and competencies, help Loudoun residents disabled by mental illnesses live independent lives and help end the discrimination against people living with mental illnesses. Committee members are truly the heart and soul of Friends.
This committee, working in close concert with the Treasurer, is responsible for:
- providing financial leadership and funds management for Friends of Loudoun Mental Health;
- assisting the treasurer with helping each program (e.g. A Place To Call Home, A Helping Hand, Representative Payee Program, Friends Being Friends, St. Gabriel’s’ Alternative Gift Fair, Hike With Hope) and/or standing committee with the development and preparation of their annual/project budgets;
- working closely with the Fund Raising Committee to identify future fund raising projects and strategies;
- preparing IRS 990 and other financial reports as necessary;
- preparing and mailing thank you notes to donors;
- interacting with the Communications and Public Relations Committee to provide donor and sponsor information for inclusion in the contact data bases.
This Committee works closely with the Finance Committee. Additionally, the Committee liaisons with the Special Events and Educational Programs Committee and the Communications and Public Relations Committee. Members are responsible for:
- communicating FLMH’s mission to and forging/sustaining on-going relationships with the business community in Loudoun County and elsewhere are deemed appropriate (e.g. membership in the Chamber of Commerce’s non-profit entity);
- planning and helping execute activities to raise funds for the purpose of supporting Friends’ direct service programs (e.g. A Place To Call Home, Helping Hand and Representative Payee) as well as other operational expenses;
- overseeing, researching, writing and pursuing appropriate grants for programmatic and operational expenses;
- writing, designing and distributing appeal letters three times a year (work in concert with the Finance Committee);
- providing information to the Communications and Public Relations Committee for inclusion on Friends’ website as appropriate.
This committee focuses on identifying and selecting candidates whose skills, strengths and interests will benefit Friends’ Board and committees. Members are responsible for:
- recruiting new volunteers for FLMH Board and its committees;
- interviewing and presenting new volunteer candidates to the FLMH Board;
- developing and maintaining the Volunteer Handbook;
- conducting new volunteer orientations;
- mentoring new volunteers;
- working closely with the Communications and Public Relations Committee to help maintain contact mailing lists;
- developing slate of nominees to fill Board officers’ positions as needed;
- developing and maintaining Board of Director’s Handbook;
- assisting with volunteer management and retention (e.g. organizing annual recognition event.
This committee prepares position statements, educational and informational materials as well as other communication media. Members are responsible for:
- supporting the Fund Raising Committee Chair in the execution of his/her communication duties;
- developing and maintaining active relationships with the media;
- developing, implementing and maintaining information on Friends’ website;
- developing and maintaining an electronic contact data base of supporters, sponsors, and community organizations (e.g. Access and Constant Contact);
- preparing and distributing advertisements and press releases for informational purposes, activities and events;
- identifying Between Friends (newsletter) content, writing, producing and emailing the newsletter through Constant Contact on a quarterly basis;
- composing and designing other collateral materials such as brochures, flyers or posters as needed;
- helping produce the Annual Report for distribution to the community and for posting on Friends’ website;
- being the official photographer and historian for FLMH.
This committee will focus on one-time as well as on-going educational and public information events. Members are responsible for:
- planning, managing and executing such programs as:
- Hike With Hope
- Andrew McKnight Concert
- St. Gabriel’s’ Alternative Gift Fair
- In Our Own Voice
- Working with the Fund Raising Committee and the Communications and Public Relations Committee to ensure continuity and “same-focus” of efforts;
- Coordinating with the Volunteer Relations Committee to secure needed volunteers for each event.
This committee focuses on FLMH supportive and educational programming. Members are responsible for:
- Annual evaluation of FLMH programs to assure efficacy and sustainability;
- A Place To Call Home
- A Helping Hand
- Representative Payee
- Friends Being Friends
- In Our Own Voice
- reporting results of annual evaluation to the Board of Directors;
- identifying new programs and service opportunities to answer Loudoun’s mental health needs;
- working closely with the Finance Committee, Fund Raising Committee, and the Communications and Public Relations Committee during the development phase of new programming to assess viability and potential funding requirements.
This committee focuses on community-wide relationship building. Members are responsible for:
- working closely with the Fund Raising Committee and the Communications and Public Relations Committee to identify potential community partners and sponsors; establishing and maintaining interrelationships and cooperation with the non-profit community, human service organizations and agencies, faith community, etc.
- encouraging community commitment and participation I FLMH activities and programs; representing FLMH at various community and state level functions.
Friends of Loudoun Mental Health is an all volunteer organization with minimal overhead; however, during the later part of 2007 and the first half of 2008, a part-time consultant was temporarily hired to help with fund raising. This expense is reflected in the 2008 Accountants Compilation Report and the 2008 Financial Statement. Effective May 2008, Friends’ organizational structure returned to an all volunteer status with no paid consultants or staff.
Over 90% of all donations go to support Friends’ direct service programs for Loudoun County residents disabled by mental illnesses.
2008 Annual Report - Coming Soon!
2008 Accountants Compilation Report - Coming Soon!
2008 Financial Statements (compiled) - Coming Soon!
2007 Form 990 - Coming Soon!
2007 Annual Report - Coming Soon!
2007 Accountant Compilation Report - Coming Soon!
2007 Financial Statements (compiled) - Coming Soon!
2006 Form 990 - Coming Soon!