VOICE Alexandria’s Behavioral Health Team Research Action

On Friday August 11th fourteen Alexandria VOICE leaders and partners spent two hours conducting a research action as part of the the VOICE Alexandria’s Behavioral Health Team’s getting into action to address the behavioral health crisis. The group of leaders was largely made up of those directly impacted by mental health and behavioral health needs who are in the listening and learning process building towards a campaign. 

VOICE toured a new Alexandria City facility that houses Emergency Services and Medically Assisted Treatment, both programs operating out of the city’s Department of Community and Humane Services.

The tour and Q&A were led by Alexandria’s Marcus Alert System Coordinator Michael Razak and Emergency Services Team Leader Dr. Allison Guernsey who showcased the new facility at 4850 Mark Center Dr, Alexandria, VA 22311 where Licensed clinicians evaluate mental health and substance use disorder problems and provide help as needed over the phone or in person. Walk-in Emergency Services are available Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Wednesday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. City staff highlighted that despite the enormous need the center was operating under-capacity for the moment, and that communicating the availability of services was still a need.  https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Cultural-Competency/Mental_Health_Guide_Tool_Kit_2018.pdf)

VOICE’s Behavioral Health Team reconvened on Monday evening August 14th to report out on this research action as well as several others conducted in the past week. The team agreed that there is a strong need to connect with more directly impacted people as well as a larger and more diverse group of community members to cut the issue and build the power to win. The team just launched a Fall Listening Campaign – reach out to Jessica Sarriot if you want to join this team! (jsarriot@voice-va.org)

Workshop on Relational Organizing

Over the weekend, VOICE organizer James Pearlstein led a workshop on relational organizing with over 30 emerging young adult Muslim leaders who attended a conference sponsored by MAVE (Muslim American Voter Engagement). 

The workshop focused on how to use the tool of 1-1 relational meetings to drive needed change in our communities. The central takeaway from the session: spend lots of time building relationships, not just on tasks!  

Dr. Savage speaks at affordable housing summit

Recently, Rev. Dr. Keith Savage, Senior Servant at First Baptist Church Manassas and Co-Chair of VOICE, gave remarks at an affordable housing summit in Prince William County organized by Families for Affordable Housing around the county’s dire lack of affordable housing.

Dr. Savage was joined by Del. Michelle Maldonado, PWC Supervisor Andrea Bailey, and Ms. Jill Norcross from Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, who delivered the keynote speech. 

Quality, affordable housing remains out of reach for far too many everyday county residents!