May 2019
Now Available: Talk it Out Report
Learn What Youth Say about Getting Information about Mental Health & Substance Abuse

In 2018, Youth MOVE Massachusetts, working with PPAL, surveyed 140 youth and young adults on how they got information about mental health and substance use.  The young people ranged in age from 11 to 26, lived in small towns and big cities, and were culturally diverse.  We created a one page report with our key findings titled: "Talk It Out: What Youth and Young Adults Say About Getting Mental Health and Substance Use Information." 

Podcast Alert: Recent Episodes Featuring PPAL Staff
Lisa Lambert and Meri Viano Share Their Knowledge

In May, two of PPAL's own were interviewed on national podcasts about their experiences and expertise in the field of mental health.  Our Executive Director, Lisa Lambert, shared her experience and knowledge on the podcast Wild Peace. The episode "Parent Superpower" explores how Lisa's "parenting journey transformed her from a young woman with social anxiety to a dedicated advocate for systemic improvement. As Lisa gives us a peek into her own experience, she shares her best advice for other parents whose kids are struggling with mental health. 

Associate Director of PPAL appeared on the AdoptED podcast, a show that is geared towards adopting from foster care.  In an episode that aired on May 30, 2019 titled "Mental Health Awareness Month," Meri discussed the mental health resources available to adoptive families.  

PPAL Joins the Let's Talk Event
The Evening Brought Together Families for Important Discussions

The PPAL Worcester Office was proud to support a table at the Department of Mental Health (DMH) Central Mass' Second "Let's Talk" Event on April 24th. It was a great night bringing together many diverse families and providers to have an open discussion about health and well-being.

Children's Mental Health Week Success
Thanks to All Who Participated

Children's Mental Health Week saw over 500+ toolkits go out to families and organizations all
over the state, as well as proclamations come in from various towns and cities throughout the Commonwealth.  

We hope you enjoyed the jam-packed Calendar of Events and had a chance to show off your ribbons!   Thank you to our partners Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBPH) and DMH and to all the landmarks that lit up green to celebrate children's mental health: Boston City Hall, Gardner City Hall, Government Center Station, the Kenneth F. Burns Bridge, Norman Levanthal Park in Post Office Square, and Zakim Bridge.

Special thanks to Lynn & Josh Powers for their help in lighting Massachusetts green! Check out this ABC news coverage on their work to light up Zakim Bridge.

Boston City Hall
Gardner City Hall

Youth MOVE Lights It Up Green!
Celebrating CMHW with Youth MOVE 
The "Light it up Green" Event is an annual event held by PPAL/Youth M.O.V.E. in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month. The event was held on May 10th  and ends at the Kenneth Burns Bridge, which is lit green in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month.

This year PPAL and Youth MOVE collaborated with the Kiva/Zia Center and our funders at DMH to build on the momentum from past years.  The event took place at the Kiva Center and featured hopeful stories, art, music, food, games, prizes, and many more of activities.  We also had a surprise visit from the mascot of the Worcester Railers, TRAX.  After the party, the group made its way to the Kenneth Burns Bridge to watch it light up Green, and to end a very successful night.


PPAL's Annual Conference: It Starts with Us
8th Annual Conference and Celebration Takes Place on May 31
PPAL's 8th annual Conference & Celebration on May 31st features the following workshops
  • Understanding the Impact of Trauma on our Children and Ourselves
  • Engaging Fathers of Diverse Communities
  • Knowing Your Child as a Soul and the Healing of Mental Health Distress
  • Child Requiring Assistance (CRA)--a User's Guide
  • "Parent Intel": What it is and How to Use It--In Parenting and in Collaboration with Your Child's Clinicians
  • Parent Checklist for School Resource Officers (SRO) in Your Children's Schools
  • Keys to success: How to Improve the Hospital Experience for Patients on the Autism Spectrum
  • When Friends Don't Come Easy...Supporting Children Who Struggle Socially

  Juvenile Justice Team Continues to Make Strides
Staff Is Connecting with Youth and Their Families Across the State

In the Western region, Aida Bednaz continues to work hard with families of youth coming into the court with minor offenses as part of a court diversion program. She also continues to provide support in group settings, educating families on system navigation, transition age, and community resources.

In the Southeast region, Candice Gabrey is supporting many families of youth being held in detention for minor offenses and/or small bail status. She educates families on special education and school system navigation, and helps to connect youth and their siblings to Youth MOVE and its team of amazing young adults. Candice has also been collaborating with the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) team and one of their subcommittees: "RED" (Racial and Ethnic Disparities) as we prepare to hold a RED screening event on August 21st for all interested in attending.  Candice also attends family events regularly to best connect with all families as they wait for their youth's court dates. She does a wonderful job creating strong relationships with our friends from DYS Brockton Boys and Taunton facility. 

In the metro region, Dalene Basden continues to attend CORE (Community Options Release Engagement) monthly meetings to ensure youth will be reconnected with their community providers and avoid further contact with the Juvenile Justice system. Dalene is a strong voice for families whose youth have entered the system. Her commitment to families consistently goes above and beyond, and for that our PPAL team appreciates and values her.

In the Central region, PPAL's juvenile justice team is continuing to grow our court diversion program for youth coming in with first-time charges of assault and battery on a family member. Family navigator Carrie Noseworthy has played a key role in this Central MA program.  Central Mass Area Manager Beth Pond is working towards a no gap of support goal for those families already connected to PPAL. In the DYS Family Voice Matters program, our Family Support Specialist Irelsa Oliveras works tirelessly to support Spanish-speaking families from Northeast. Irelsa's expertise helps families feel at ease and she easily connects with them as they welcome her and share their struggles with her.  Overall, the central region referrals have declined. This is a good sign that JDAI's work is keeping "the right youth in the right placement for the right reasons."

In the Northeast region, the JDAI team has created two subcommittees and enlisted the support of many volunteers. This team is working to create a family navigator position as they are aware of the success this has brought to courts in the Central region. The team has rolled up their sleeves and will start looking into funding and structure for this position. 

Thank you to our dedicated Juvenile Justice team!

  Join PPAL for the  Support Group Summit
A Free Event for Non-Clinical Facilitators

PPAL invites you to the 5th Support Group Summit! The Summit is free and is open to non-clinical facilitators with groups focused on supporting families and caregivers. It's a unique place to get access to other support group leaders for networking, brainstorming and support.
This summit has a focus on three areas: 
  1. Fun, interactive, hands-on activities and ice breakers. You will walk away with everything you need to recreate the activities with your group. Learn how to make a vision board, self-care wheel, care map and more 
  2. Culture and Disability Sensitivity Skill development. You will learn disability and culture awareness from a small group of diverse families. You will also learn how to help build relationships within your support groups
  3. Tools to help with group Dynamics. Learn how to redirect a group member and/ or the whole group, handle difficult conversations with the use of helpful interventions.
Morning coffee & pastries and Lunch included. The event is free, but you must pre-register by May 31, 2019 to be guaranteed a seat and lunch. More details upon registration.
Register here.

Friday, June 7, 2019 
9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Plymouth Church 
87 Edgell Road
Framingham, MA 01701

  Summer Support Groups
PPAL Offers a Range of Groups for Parents and Caregivers

Although school is ending soon, PPAL support groups do not!

We understand that summer school vacation can be a trying time for a lot of families, as we are all out of our regular schedule.  How about adding some routine by attending a Family Network and Social Support group near you?

Here is where we are in Central Massachusetts:

Check out our website for a full statewide listing.  We look forward to seeing you!

Blog Alert 

Did you miss our May blogs?  Read the latest posts: "Authentically Me. Just Not the Old Me" by our Executive Director, Lisa Lambert, and "A Letter to 12-Year-Old Me" by one of our talented youth, Rae LaBrie . Be sure to comment and share!

You can now subscribe to the PPAL blog and never miss a post.  Look for the subscribe information on the blog page. 

June Monthly Meeting: 
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Treatment and Applications

Thank you to everyone who came out to the May monthly meeting.  We learned from Ken Frohock and Christine Piltzecker of the Attachment Institute of N.E. and The Institute for Trauma and Healing. This impactful training discussed the origins of trauma, the effects of trauma on the brain, how individual belief systems change, attachment disorders and PTSD, and where to find help and other resources related to trauma. The room also got to socialize with two lovely canine companions!

We can't wait to see you at our next statewide meeting on June 11 th ! We'll hear from Michelle M. Gaudet, M. Ed, LABA from ABS Behavioral Health Services. This speaker will discuss Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Treatment and Applications.  ABA  has more applications to children than simply those with intellectual disabilities. Come explore this treatment method and its applications with us.

Upon  attending this presentation you will be able to build a better understanding of:
  • What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
  • How can this treatment be accessed
  • Understanding the Four Functions of Behavior 
  • Using Applied Behavior Analysis for treatment of disorders other than intellectual disabilities
Register here.

Please pre-register by June 7th to be guaranteed a seat and lunch.  
Tuesday, June 11th,  10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Plymouth Church 87 Edgell Road Framingham, MA 01702
Contact PPAL Statewide at 508-767-9725 or to RSVP

Latest Poll Results

May Poll Results

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What do you think is the most effective way to support those with mental health needs?

Getting access to resources.....51.85%

Better mental health care policies.....40.74%

Calling out stereotypes and prejudice.....7.41%

Using more respectful language.....0%

Take our June Poll on our website:

How did your child first hear their mental health diagnosis?


Pediatrician/Family Doctor

Mental Health Professional


Overheard someone talking about it

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