May 2020

PPAL Welcomes a New Multicultural Outreach Specialist

Introducing Sibel Benmayor
Please meet Sibel Benmayor, our new Multicultural Outreach Specialist! 

Sibel is a mother of three young adults, including a twin son with developmental delays, ADHD
and behavioral challenges. In 20019, she moved to Boston from Turkey.  After the move, she
educated herself in Parent Advocacy to understand how to help her son and ensure that he can create a life that he will enjoy living. In addition to English, Sibel speaks Turkish, French as well as conversational Spanish, and also works as an interpreter. She has also been trained as a Life Coach.  With Sibel's experience and skills set, she brings a wealth of knowledge and warmth in connecting with families. Please join us in welcoming our newest team member, Sibel!

You Are Not Alone 
PPAL Partners with DMH to Create Videos 
for Parents and Caregivers
Recently, PPAL worked with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) to create videos that encouraged parents and caregivers of children and youth with mental health needs. These video clips are narrated by our Multicultural Outreach Coordinator, Joel Khattar.

 PPAL You Are Not Alone (English)
PPAL You Are Not Alone (English)

PPAL You Are Not Alone (Spanish)
PPAL You Are Not Alone (Spanish)

Celebrating Children's Mental Health Week - Virtually!
The 2020 CMHW Was a Roaring Success

During the first week of May, landmarks across the state lit up green for Children's Mental Health Week. PPAL was delighted to see so many green ribbons being worn,  from parents to police officers to Massachusetts lawmakers! If you missed our pictures and updates on our social media during CHMW, you can find the green photos in our gallery here. 17 local landmarks participated with green lights - from lighthouses at Martha's Vineyard to town gazebos and bridges! 

Governor Charlie Baker issued a proclamation for Children's Mental Health Week, and was joined by many towns and cities across the state. You can see all of the 27 proclamations here .

Recognizing Mental Health Heroes for May
PPAL Gives Awards to Four Great Advocates
Each spring, PPAL awards parents, caregivers and youth members for their exceptional work and advocacy for mental health. This year, the celebration was virtual.  Four great advocates were given awards for excellence: Nicole Desnoyers, Vesper Moore, Kathreen McKinney, and Chris Bates! Congratulations to each of these four advocates. We thank you for your commitment to bettering the lives of us all and advocating for change!

Juvenile Justice Program Updates

Our Work Continues

PPAL continues to work with families who are referred to us, as well as calling families who have previously connected with us in the juvenile justice program. These families are thankful for our calls, and often ask for assistance with basic needs. One of the challenges they report is trying to balance remote learning, the needs of multiple children and working from home.

In collaboration with Department of Youth Services (DYS), PPAL is also working closely together on attending virtual steering committees across the state. 

Meri Viano, Associate Director of PPAL, presented on a Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CFJJ) call to discuss what is happening with families and the challenges that they are facing. Meri shared the concerns of our families, what is working for them,  and the worry that many families have with regards to young people and the court system. It was a full conversation with over 40 participants working together on behalf of children with juvenile justice needs.

We urge you to read the blog from friend and colleague Sue Babedau on Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Connect about what families are saying. To receive the latest updates and stay connected with JDAI, sign up on their website today.

PPAL has created a Facebook group for families working closely with their child to avoid getting into challenges with the justice system. For more information and/or an invite to the groups please email us.

PPAL is also offering masks to families whose children are involved with the juvenile justice system. If you need a mask, please contact us at

Telehealth Pop-Up Survey by PPAL
Look for Results of Our Survey in the Coming Weeks
In May, PPAL put up a pop-up survey for families to find out from parents what they like or don't like about telehealth. Wondering what telehealth is? Telehealth refers to how health care providers can use technology such as Zoom or Skype to provide care and services. It is NOT remote learning, which is for school. Doctors, policy makers and others are asking us -- what are families saying about telehealth? 

We received 202 responses to our family survey, as well as 30 responses to our youth survey (for ages 14-30). Many thanks to everyone who participated! The results are interesting and we'll be sharing them with you soon!

We Are Not Our Diagnosis

Virtual Art Showcase by PPAL, Youth MOVE and Zia

T o honor Mental Health Awareness Month, Youth MOVE Massachusetts and PPAL, in collaboration with Zia Young Adult Access Center hosted 'We Are Not Our Diagnosis'- a Virtual Art showcase. This showcase was exhibited on May 20.

This event featured artwork from youth, young adults, and parents from our communities, as well as an open discussion based on the theme. Thank you to everyone who submitted their art and participated in this important and inspiring discussion!

Art by Chandra Watts

Art by Kaneki

PPAL Data Shows Continued Growth

Latest Numbers Now Available
From January to April 2020, PPAL continued to prove much-needed support throughout Massachusetts.  According to our data, in this time period:


Behavioral Health Services for Children and Adolescents (BHCA): What do you need to know?
Join our webinar on June 2nd at 10 am - 11:30am

Last year, many Massachusetts private health insurance plans began paying for certain Behavioral Health services for Children and Adolescents (BHCA). What does this mean for families? Join our webinar to find out! 

Topics of this webinar include:
* BHCA Overview
* How to Determine Eligibility and Coverage
* Frequently Asked Questions
* Resources

Read more about this event and how to join this virtual session  here . This event is organized as a collaboration between The Autism Insurance Resource Center and Parent/Professional Advocacy League.

Remote Schooling for Children with Mental Health Needs: 
Join our statewide roundtable discussion on June 9th!

This virtual discussion will take place on June 9th at 10 am - 11:30 am through Zoom.
Please join us for a discussion with Elizabeth (Beth) Yancy Bostic, Special Education Advocate and Trainer and Liza Hirsch, Esq., Senior Attorney from Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Hear experiences from special education advocacy and legal perspectives, bring your questions and join the discussion!

Read more about this event and how to register here.

Latest Poll Results

May Poll Results

To take our June poll, visit our Facebook page Your feedback is very valuable to us! 

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