PPAL in Print

December 2022

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Multicultural Outreach Program Reaches Out, Offers Multilingual Trainings and Support Groups

PPAL’s Multicultural Outreach team has been busy! We have attended several resource fairs, including the Family Resource Center Fair at the Home for Little Wanderers, the Roxbury Special Education Fair, the Union Capital Boston Virtual Resource Fair, the Boston Public Schools SEPAC Resource Fair, and the METCO Resource Fair. At the fairs we reached out and talked with community partners, grassroots organizations, and, of course, families. What a great opportunity we had to discuss what PPAL has to offer and brainstorm ways to collaborate!

Interested in becoming a Family Partner or Community Health Worker? We do trainings in both Spanish and English. Families become empowered and hopeful about applying for a job where they can have the flexibility that it is required when parenting a child with mental health challenges. PPAL is also excited to be collaborating with William James College about offering a Community Health Worker Certificate. 


Our outreach includes training sessions in Spanish and English, including Juvenile Justice 101 and 102 and Pre-Planning for a Mental Health Crisis – The Road to Readiness. Soon we will be offering the training sessions in Haitian Creole as well! We also have a weekly support group in Spanish. Check out our calendar to learn more about our multilingual offerings!

PPAL Support Groups Connect Families; Meet Support Group Leader Tashena Marie

Did you know that PPAL currently offers thirteen support groups every week? Attending our free groups is a great way to learn about new ideas and resources, get your questions answered, and, most importantly, build connections with other parents who understand what you’re going through!

PPAL is excited to introduce Tashena Marie, our Family Support Coordinator and leader for the North Brookfield support group. Tashena grew up taking on leadership roles - her life at home was chaotic, and she found security and purpose in helping others. During the pandemic Tashena was active creating non-profits, serving on boards, and volunteering in the community.

She was one of the founders of the Rural Justice Network, which focuses on mental health and the connection between poverty and racism. At the same time, Tashena’s own kids were struggling, so she researched and taught herself more and more about how to help kids with mental health and related struggles. She was excited to join PPAL and continue her work helping others!

Of PPAL’s support groups, Tashena says “More than anything we need to be supporting each other as a community to combat the mental health struggles… no one else has to feel as alone as I did.” Join her for the next North Brookfield group: in January, the first 30 minutes of the group will be focused on intergenerational trauma and how it affects our parenting.

All of our groups are open to all parents/caregivers of kids with behavioral or mental health needs in Massachusetts, regardless of the town the group is listed under. Check out PPAL’s calendar at ppal.net/events/ to learn more and find a support group that works for you!

 What Does PPAL Do?

A Refresher for the New Year from our Executive Director Pam Sager

If you’re reading this newsletter, you probably know a lot about PPAL - but do you know everything about what PPAL provides? PPAL’s Executive Director Pam Sager fills us in on PPAL’s mission and goals and all we have to offer:

PPAL is a statewide organization established in 1991. Its mission is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families challenged by mental health needs through education, advocacy and partnership.

Our goals align with our mission: to support as many families as we can through their child’s mental health journey; to empower those families to help shape solutions; and to ensure that family voice is ALWAYS viewed as critical by those involved.  

PPAL is unique in 3 ways:

1) We are the only MA organization dedicated solely to families whose children have mental health needs (5-25 yrs.);

2) PPAL staff have “lived” experience;

3) PPAL services are free.

  • All of PPAL’s services are free for families. Last year, PPAL provided approximately 4600 families with 1:1 peer support.

  • PPAL provides 1:1 peer support. Staff listen, share knowledge, refer services, help build self-confidence and advocacy skills, and provide families info needed to work with their child’s providers and systems. 

  • PPAL provides support groups for families (in English and Spanish) and for young adults. PPAL is launching 6 more support groups.

  • PPAL conducts monthly statewide meetings devoted to topics of interest such as suicide prevention, fatherhood engagement, and LGBTQ+ terminology. 

  • PPAL holds bi-monthly policy/advocacy meetings for families, youth, and those working with them to provide legislative updates that might empower attendees to be a voice and advocate in policy making.

  • PPAL delivers trainings for families, youth, and those working with them several times a month (some in Spanish and Haitian Creole) such as Pre-planning for a Mental Health Crisis, Building a Foundation of Support, and Juvenile Justice.  

  • PPAL has dedicated staff knowledgeable about courts, arrests, detention, and accessing services for children with mental health needs in the juvenile justice system.

  • PPAL has staff dedicated to increasing its multicultural outreach, and supporting families in an acute crisis or with children boarding in hospital emergency departments.

  • PPAL conducts “Ask the Advocate” and “School Problem Solving” clinics for parents.  

  • PPAL’s website offers a wealth of information including publications, resources and a calendar. PPAL produces tip sheets on topics such as “How to Talk So Your Provider Will Listen” and “Sibling Support.”

  • PPAL publishes a monthly newsletter, weekly event blasts, and weekly five minute Facebook Live videos on topics that might help parents and youth.

  • PPAL staff collaborates with other nonprofits and is 1 of 6 founding members of the Children’s Mental Health Campaign.

  • PPAL supports YouthMOVE MA, a youth initiative offering support groups, peer-to-peer counseling, youth-led training, and skill-building for youth 13-25 yrs.

The mental health crisis is at historic levels. PPAL wants to help by creating strong families, strong communities, and less stigma around mental health. 

Did you learn about a service that might help your family or organization, or do you see potential for collaboration? You can always reach out to PPAL on our website, where you can request 1-1 support, learn about our trainings, view our event calendar, or contact us by phone, email, and more!

Join Our Team: PPAL is Hiring!

WE NEED YOU! To support our new programming in the Central MA area, PPAL is looking for a few passionate individuals to join us in supporting families and advocating for children’s mental health.

PPAL is currently looking for Family Support Specialists in various locations across the state (15-20 hrs/wk) and a Youth Coordinator for Youth MOVE MA (Statewide, 20 hrs/wk).

PPAL values those who have direct lived experience raising a child with significant mental and behavioral health challenges and gives hiring preference to individuals who have this direct lived experience.

Learn more about these positions on our employment page, and come join a caring, dynamic team dedicated to making things better for children with emotional, behavioral and mental health needs and their families!

Apply Now!

PPAL On Social Media;

Check Us Out!

Do you follow PPAL on social media? Don’t miss out! We post regularly on Facebook and Instagram, and frequently update our videos on YouTube.

Every week, we post a new video of a staff member sharing their expertise on a subject related to children’s mental health. Past subjects have included everything from supporting siblings to planning for a crisis, working effectively with your child’s school to family fun outside, ABA to the racial and ethnic disparities in the mental health system.

You can watch past videos on our Youtube channel, or check us out on Facebook and Instagram for informational and relatable posts and to see our videos as soon as they go up. 

We look forward to connecting with you online!

PPAL’s Written Resources;

Take a Look!

Did you know that PPAL has many written resources to offer? Find user-friendly reports on all of PPAL’s research, including topics like the transition to adulthood, coping during covid, choices around medication, and more. You can also find accessible tip sheets on everything from calling 911 for a mental health emergency to sibling support, using ABA to treat mental health needs to sharing your family’s mental health story. 

We have guides on best practices for pediatric emergency department psychiatric boarding, planning for a crisis, and more. And our handy infographics highlight subjects like the transition to adulthood, telehealth and youth, and the support needs of justice-involved families.

Check out our publications page here: https://ppal.net/publications/ You can filter our offerings by language and publication type, or use the search bar to find specific information. Don’t miss out on this important resource!

PPAL's Question of the Month

Every month, PPAL asks those raising a child or supporting a young adult with behavioral health needs, or working closely with someone who is, how things are going in a particular area.

Be sure to visit PPAL's website to answer January's question!

In January, we are asking

about Insurance

Click through the image below to visit PPAL's website and answer!

Parent/Professional Advocacy League



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