“Parenting Perspectives” provides family-friendly resources to understand DSM-5

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) was released in May of this year, and it signals changes for many children already diagnosed with mental health disorders, especially those with autism and mood disorders.

Often touted as the psychiatrist’s “bible,” the DSM is  published by the American Psychiatric Association and establishes the almost universal standard by which
doctors classify, diagnose and ultimately treat mental disorder.
West Virginia “Parenting Perspectives” newsletter, May 2013 issue, provides some great articles to help families of children and adolescents wtih mental  health issues understand the changes.

Click here to read more…

Download the 2013 Mental Health Awareness Coloring Book “Out of the Shadows & Into the Light”


May 6, 2013:  In observance of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Month in May, a partnership of West Virginia behavioral health providers and family advocacy groups launched a youth art contest in April around themes of understanding mental health and fighting stigma.

The twelve winning entries have been published in an educational coloring book, “Out of the Shadows & Into the Light: Let’s End Mental Health Stigma for a Brighter West Virginia.”  Congratulations to our young artists, including those whose parents/guardians agreed to have their names published:  Michael N. Myers, Jillian Perito, Skylar Jenkins, Logan Walker, Angel Crites, Carlee Silver, Eliza Homel, Andra Taylor, Hannah Secrist and Noah Parker.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, mental health problems are surprisingly common and affect most families in America at some point. But studies also show that most people with mental illnesses get better and many recover completely.  One major barrier to recovery, according to experts, is stigma—the aura of shame and blame that surrounds mental health problems. This fear of mental health problems is a major problem in itself, but it can be overcome through public outreach and education, such as our coloring book and art contest.

Individual copies of the book can be requested free of charge from the child and adolescent departments at each of the state’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Centers, and through Legal Aid of WV’s Family Advocacy, Support & Training (FAST) Program, Mountain State Parent Child & Adolescent Network (MSPCAN), Youth Move West Virginia, and West Virginia Family Leadership First.  The 12-page publication can also be downloaded here:  2013 MH Month Coloring Book

Our new monthly e-newsletter – “Pathways”


The West Virginia System of Care is happy to launch a monthly series of emails about what it “looks like” to transform West Virginia’s child-serving systems so families can find the help they need, close to home.  Our premier issue focuses on Family Driven Care and West Virginia’s success to date in monitoring and reducing out-of-state placement of children and youth.

To download Print-Friendly (Adobe pdf) versions, click on one of three targeted editions:

E-Newsletter Print Version – Families

E-Newsetter Print Version – Service Providers

E-Newsetter Print Version – Program-Policy Leaders

the print versions do not contain active hyperlinks; use the search box to locate content of interest.

WV “Cool Kids Tool Kit” Coloring Book (2009)—back by popular demand!

Cool Kids Cover ImageIn 2009, the West Virginia System of Care teamed up with community behavioral health providers and family organizations to launch the “Cool Kids Tool Kit” Coloring Book art contest to promote stress management for Mental Health Month.  It was a great success, and partners around the state are still using this publication for children and families in their communities.  Permission is granted for anyone to reproduce copies for family, agency or community use – 12 pages, perfect for copying onto 11×17″ paper and assembling in book form, or using individual pages as coloring sheets.

December 2012: “Every Voice Matters” WV FAST Advisory Committee Annual Report

FAST Annual Report 12-14-12

The goal of Family Advocacy, Support & Training (FAST) is to develop a statewide parent and youth support network that will empower families of children and youth with behavioral and mental health needs to participate in planning, management, and evaluation of their child’s treatment and service needs, and to drive meaningful improvements in child-serving systems.

2012 FAST Annual Report