For those with mental illness, and the family and friends who care for them, it is a night that has fallen in their lives. The mission of Friends of Loudoun Mental Health is to drive back the darkness afflicting so many of our fellow citizens in Loudoun County. We are an all-volunteer, community-based, non-profit organization that helps those disabled by mental illness better their lives by providing assistance for living arrangements, advocating on their behalf for improved care and resources, and promoting recovery and community awareness.
Serving Loudoun County citizens since 1955, Friends of Loudoun Mental Health continues to provide support and services to mental health consumers living in Loudoun County. The 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 of Loudoun Mental Health serves as advocates, educators, and service providers, which was expanded in the late 1980’s with the introduction of its representative payee program that continues to serve mental health consumers receiving SSI. In 1993, Friends of Loudoun Mental Health broadened its efforts to better address evolving needs of Loudoun County citizens living with chronic mental illnesses that were not being covered by federal, state, or local funding. A proactive public/private partnership was formed between Friends of Loudoun Mental Health and the Supported Living Services (Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services) to address issues of homelessness among Loudoun County citizens living with chronic mental illnesses. This partnership and other successful collaborative initiatives thrive today as demonstrated through Friends of Loudoun Mental Health's direct services and community focused programs.
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.
To be widely recognized in Loudoun County as a long-standing vital program for preventing homelessness as well as meeting multiple needs of residents disabled by, and recovering from, persistent mental illness.