Parent/Professional Advocacy League
The Massachusetts Family Voice for Children's Mental Health               
   April 2017
PPAL Gears Up for CHMW, Our Annual Conference & More
In this issue:
  1. Join PPAL for Our 7th Annual Conference & Celebration: Building on Our Hopes & Dreams
  2. Celebrate Children's Mental Health Week with PPAL!
  3. Interested in Joining a PPAL Focus Group?
  4. PPAL's Dani Walsh Speaks at DMH Central Mass Legislative Breakfast
  5. Youth Move Massachusetts Is in the Swing of Spring
  6. Orlando Welcomes the Massachusetts Delegation that Supports JDAI Work

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Contact Us
Parent/ Professional
Advocacy League
Statewide Office-Boston
15 Court Square
Suite 660
Boston, MA 02108
Toll Free: (866) 815-8122
Fax: (617) 542-7832
Central Ma Office
40 Southbridge Street
Suite 310
Worcester, MA 01608
Tel: (508) 767-9725
Fax: (508) 767-9727

May Statewide Meeting

Please join us in welcoming Genevieve Kane-Howse, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Project Director of the Child Trauma Training Center at UMass Medical School. Genevieve will talk about how  experiences of trauma influence children's lives, and what can be done to help them heal.  This meeting will take place on May 9, 2017. 

Register by May 2 via email.

May 9
10:00 am - 2:00 pm 
Plymouth Church Conference Room
Framingham, MA

Poll Results

What is your biggest concern as it relates to juvenile justice?
Transition services  21.21% 
Racial disparities  15.15% 
School to prison pipeline  3.03% 

All of the above  60.61% 
 ConfJoin PPAL for Our 7th Annual Conference & Celebration: Building on Our Hopes & Dreams
PPAL is proud to present our 7th annual Conference & Celebration on Friday, May 19, 2017.  This year, the conference theme is Building on Our Hopes & Dreams. The keynote speakers for this event will be Linea & Cinda Johnson, authors of Perfect Chaos: The Story of a Mother's and Daughter's Journey through Mental Illness towards Hope.  

Our 2017 conference will feature 11 separate workshops, including 2 presented in Spanish.  These workshops include:
  • Eye of the Storm: Reconceptualizing Trauma in Individuals with Eating Disorders, presented by Rachel Benson-Monroe, LMHC
  • Why Does My Child Behave Like That? Practical Strategies for Raising Your Child on the Autism Spectrum, presented by Brenda Dater, MPH, MSW
  • Trauma, Children and Strategies to Help Them, presented by Stephanie Monaghan-Blout, PsyD
In addition, the 2017 conference will offer 6 Youth Track conferences for our youth attendees, including Real for Real Students: Making College Accommodations Work for You, Help a Friend that May Be In a Tough Place! Use QPR, Famous Tess Visits You All! and Art and Expression!

The conference will take place at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Banquet Space in Marlborough from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  We have applied for both Social Worker (NASW) and LMHC CEUs for the conference. Our applications are pending.  Register today - ticket prices will increase on May 6th!


We are just a few weeks away from Children's Mental Health Week (CMHW)! This annual celebration takes place this year from May 7 through May 13, 2017.  If you are planning a CMHW event, let PPAL know! Email Erin this week so that we can include you on our calendar of events celebrating CMHW.  These events will be included in PPALs calendar and tool kits. Be sure to include a description, time and date, location, and any other necessary details and information.  You can also send us pictures of your CMHW events as they happen.

Please consider asking the mayor of your city or town to issue a proclamation for Children's Mental Health Week! It's very easy and makes a big difference. Last year, we received proclamations from mayors in Boston, Lynn, Lowell, Malden, Worcester, and more.  Just visit your city or town's website, or call your Mayor's office to find instructions for requesting a Mayoral Proclamation. Email Erin for sample proclamation language. 

Toolkits for CHMW are now available! Each year, PPAL sends out hundreds of toolkits that include materials about Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, including a welcome letter, a calendar of events and facts, poster, bookmark and timeline, a 2017 handout, green ribbons and an invitation to PPAL's conference on May 19, 2017.  If you want a toolkit, email Erin with your mailing address!  You can also find CMHW materials on our website.


PPAL, in collaboration with MOAR and Transformation Center has been focusing its attention on the challenges of co-occurring addiction and mental health issues.  Through a Recovery and Resiliency grant from SAMHSA, our three organizations have teamed up to strengthen the voices of youth, families and adults consumers and those in addiction recovery to learn more from them about the strengths and weaknesses of our current systems.  Over the past two years, our work has included both listening sessions and a stakeholder's meeting.  This year, we are looking to work with focus groups and to create a policy position that encompasses the perspectives of all three partners and builds a common message. 

As part of this effort, PPAL has been conducting focus groups to understand the topic of language. What terms are inclusive, which are not, and why? What language can we adopt as organizations that represent all individuals respectfully and accurately? We are recruiting mixed groups in terms of ages, experiences, and culture so as to encourage the most discussion possible. We are looking for additional areas of the state where we can conduct these groups; if you have any interest, email Erin. We are happy to come to you!

DaniPPAL's Dani Walsh Speaks at DMH Central Mass Legislative Breakfast

On April 7, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health held a Central Massachusetts Legislative Breakfast.  In attendance was PPAL's Youth Program manager, Dani Walsh, who spoke at this standing room only event.  Dani shared her recovery story at this event, and was among other peers and parents sharing stories of hope and resiliency. 

  SwingYouth Move Massachusetts Is in the Swing of Spring

At the beginning of April, our Youth Program Manager, Dani Walsh, traveled to the National Council for Behavioral Health's Annual Conference 2017 and brought young adult voice and her strong advocacy skills with her. She came back with a bunch of new ideas and connections that will help Youth MOVE MA grow even stronger!

Youth MOVE MA also represented PPAL and Youth MOVE through tabling events at Light It Up Blue at UMASS Medical School in Worcester on April 7th, as well as the Leominster High School Health Fair on April 11th. Both events went very well and we connected with a ton of really cool youth, young adults and their supporters!

PPAL and Youth MOVE also attended the Central Massachusetts Legislative Breakfast at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital on April 7th to support Dani Walsh in sharing her recovery story as one of the speakers for the event. It was well-attended by many peers, families, providers, and state legislators, and was an inspiring event to be a part of!

Youth groups have also been going very well! We have had a number of trivia nights as well as other fun activities! We are looking forward to our upcoming HOPE group on April 18th, where we are celebrating this year's Earth Day at Institute Park in Worcester! All of the youth have been giving us ideas for group activities for the warmer weather, so keep an ear out for when those ideas start coming to action!

  Orlando Orlando Welcomes the Massachusetts Delegation that Supports JDAI Work

Department of Youth Service leaders and Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) specialist Lynsey Heffernan invited leaders from Massachusetts to attend the Annie E Casey 25th anniversary of JDAI.

The three days in Orlando,  Florida allowed learning, sharing, connecting and educating each other to make the juvenile justice system change.

Massachusetts presented on sites, racial and ethnic disparities and youth and family engagement. Community discussion honored and celebrated what milestones were made but discuss what needs to change. Meri Viano spoke on a panel of 5 other leaders of family voice lead by Grace Bauer. Grace is the founder of the Justice 4 Families organization. Meri discussed what PPAL is doing in partnership with DYS, probation and other system/state agencies.

Meri connected to the 45 attendees who explained the value of families, young people and parents.
 "We need to get to a place of value added when parents and families are at the table. Parents have expertise too."

Lastly, this conference allowed for a statewide opportunity to meet together outside of the office to plan our steps and opportunity for the future.