Provider Watch December 13, 2016

GPSN E-News December 2016

Our Mission

Georgia Parent Support Network, Inc. is dedicated to providing support, education, and advocacy for children and youth with mental illness, emotional disturbances, and behavioral differences and their families. 

Board of Directors


Kathy Dennis 

Board President

Karl Dennis 

Barbia Dunbar-Arnold

Todd Estroff, M.D.

Lisa Rager

Linda Seay

Sherry Jenkins Tucker

Carolyn Walker

Cynthia Wainscott

President of the 

Board Emeritus

Sue L. Smith, Ed.D. 

Chief Executive Officer

Brett Barton, LPC

Chief Operation Officer

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Letter from Sue L. Smith, Ed.D., 

Chief Executive Officer

Friday, December 9, 2016

Sue L. Smith, Ed.D. Chief Executive Officer 

December is host to many celebrations and observances by a great many people with different beliefs, which is absolutely fabulous.   For me, "It is the most wonderful time of the year."   I really feel that way. However, life has shown me that many people do not experience the holidays as a wonderful time of the year, in fact, they become very depressed.  We have included an article in this newsletter on holiday depression that we hope helps those of you who experience depression around the holidays.

Holidays can be a time of reflection, observances of traditions, spending time with family and friends, or perhaps a vacation to rest and relax or enjoy new experiences.  Whatever you choose to do I wish all of you peace in your observances -- the celebration of old traditions or the making of new ones.

A Giant Heartfelt Thank You

to our Supporters 



Emotional Wellness This Holiday Season

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

In this informative Q&A that addresses common misconceptions related to mental health concerns during the holidays, Lisa Furst, LMSW, MPH, Assistant Vice President of Training and Quality Improvement at MHA-NYC, makes recommendations and provides supportive resources that will help you and your loved ones remain emotionally healthy this season.

Q: Is it true that people are more at risk for suicidal thinking during the holiday season?

A: We commonly hear that people may be more at risk for suicide during the holidays; however, research does not support this idea.  While it's true that the holiday season may be particularly stressful for some people if they are socially isolated, experiencing conflicts in important relationships, dealing with financial challenges, or experiencing other psychosocial stressors, we do not typically see an increase in suicidal thinking during the holidays.  Regardless of the season, anyone experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of suicide should reach out for support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK.


 Please Click Here to Read Complete  Article

Please help if you are able,



Call Sheena at (404) 758-4500, ext. 107 if you need help with pickup or have questions.

Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities

Judy Fitzgerald was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016. She has been with DBHDD since 2012, previously serving in the roles of Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner.


Fitzgerald is a social worker with a career-long focus on behavioral health and public service delivery systems. Prior to joining DBHDD, she worked in a variety of health and human service settings. She served as Vice President of Strategy for View Point Health, one of Georgia's twenty-six community service boards. She has also worked as a consultant on child and adolescent services in several states and was the Executive Director for the Mental Health Association of Georgia. Fitzgerald was privileged to begin her career in the Mental Health Program of The Carter Center, working for former First Lady Rosalynn Carter on domestic and international advocacy and policy efforts to promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness.


Fitzgerald earned her master's degree in social work from the University of Georgia. She and her husband Tim Gould live in Cobb County with their two children, Abbie and Jack.

Youth Silhouette


Are you interested in learning more about Youth M.O.V.E Georgia, do you wanna know more about what happens at meetings?  


We have open discussions about real life topics, but outside of that we do fun events like Spoken Word Competitions and volunteer work.  Come out and see for yourself!


When does Youth M.O.V.E. Georgia meet and who can join? 


When: Our Next meeting will be Saturday, December 17, 2016 

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Where: 1381 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30310


Who: Anyone between the ages of 13 -27 

Youth M.O.V.E. Logo

Wanna get in touch with us?  

Cameron Cochran, CPS-Y
(404) 758-4500 Ext. 213


Kiara Simms, CPS-Y

(404) 758-4500 Ext. 213

Working Definition of Family Driven Practice

National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health


Federation Logo


Family-driven means families have the primary role in decisions regarding their children as well as the policies and procedures governing the well-being of all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Identifying their strengths, challenges, desired outcomes/goals, and the steps needed to achieve those outcomes/goals;
  • Designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating services, supports, programs, and systems;
  • Choosing supports, services, and providers who are culturally and linguistically responsive and aware;
  • Partnering in decision-making at all levels.

Guiding Values to Achieve Family-Driven Practice

Families and youth, providers, administrators, and policymakers accept and support willingly and enthusiastically shared decision-making and responsibility for outcomes, as evidenced by:


1.  Families and youth share and have access to accurate, understandable, and complete information necessary to set goals and to make informed decisions.

2.  Families define their family composition and family decision-makers, whether biological, adoptive, foster, sibling, or surrogate family voice advocating on their behalf.

3.  Families and family-run organizations engage in peer support to reduce isolation, achieve short-and long-term family goals, and strengthen family capacity and voice.

4.  Families and family-run organizations provide direction for policy decisions that impact funding, supports, and services, including the right of families and youth to have meaningful voice at the individual and policy level.

5.  Providers, agencies, and systems take the initiative to change policy and practice from provider-driven to family-driven.

6.  Providers, agencies, and systems embrace family-driven practice, by allocating staff, training, support and resources to adequately fund and sustain family-driven services for children, youth and families, and the work of family and youth run organizations.

7.  Community attitude change efforts focus on removing barriers and eliminating bias and discrimination.

8.  Communities value and celebrate the diverse cultures of children, youth, and families and work to eliminate disparities.

9. Communities recognize that culture is an ever-changing dynamic and are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of all children, youth, and families."

The 32nd Annual Rosalyn Carter Symposium On Mental Health Policy 

Sue Smith,  Rosalyn Carter, & Cynthia Wainscott

Widening the Circle of Health and Wellness: The Central Role of Behavioral Health"

Nov. 17-18, 2016

The Carter Center 

For 32 years, the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy has focused on improving mental health and health care in the U.S. It has done so by bringing together thought leaders to learn about and discuss a specific topic each year devoted to such issues as promoting access to appropriate and affordable behavioral healthcare services, improving the quality of such services, and finally, by reducing the stigma and isolation associated with mental illnesses and substance abuse.


Building on The Carter Center's leadership in this field, this year's symposium addresses an emerging issue: the central role of behavioral health and wellness in managing the overall health and wellness of defined populations including organizations, communities, or another defined group. Currently, the strategic focus of health care policy is transitioning away from the management of illnesses in individuals towards the management of health within defined populations. And behavioral health and wellness are essential to the success of such initiatives.


This symposium is devoted to exploring this central role of behavioral health and wellness within efforts to manage the overall health and well-being of populations and communities. The symposium covers three main topics:

  • Managing Population Health & Building Cultures of Wellness
  • The Current State of Integration Efforts
  • Behavioral Health's Role in Population Health

Spiritual Growth and Community Service 


Thank you Sophie for honoring GPSN by hosting this wonderful event for your Bat Mitzvah.  We are proud of your commitment to raising awareness for children's mental health.  

On Sunday, January 15th from 2 - 5pm  Sophie will be hosting and education and fundraising event for children's mental health at Crema Expresso Cafe in Dunwoody Georgia.  Please come out and support her and GPSN. 


January 15, 2016

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Crema Espresso Cafe

2458 Mt. Vernon Road

Dunwoody, GA  30338


Georgia Parent Support Network, 1381 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30310

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