by Max Brantley
GOVERNOR'S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE
JONESBORO - First Lady Ginger Beebe today launched a statewide listening tour to address children’s mental health issues. She began her tour by visiting with families in Northeast Arkansas who face challenges to provide adequate care for their children living with mental illness.
“Today is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, and this tour will give Mike and me the opportunity to learn more about the challenges our children and parents face everyday,” First Lady Ginger Beebe said. “Working together, we can address the needs of our children and bring hope to the families living with mental illness.”
The First Lady met with families in Paragould, Jonesboro and Blytheville and listened as they discussed the issues and obstacles their families have encountered when seeking care for their children. All of the discussions during the statewide listening tour will be compiled into a report to be reviewed by the Commission on Children’s Mental Health established through Act 1593 of 2007. The Commission members will be named in the coming months.
“Our State needs a system of care for children with mental health disorders, one that is family-driven, youth-guided, and child-centered,” Pam Marshall said. Marshall, of Little Rock, has been an advocate for children’s mental health issues for more than 20 years, beginning when her younger brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Mrs. Beebe will visit other cities throughout the state during the month of May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Governor Beebe issued a proclamation on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, proclaiming “Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.”