The Vinfen community recently attended the 2019 DMH Legislative Breakfast Series at the State House in Boston, MA. The Metro Boston Legislative Breakfast was on February 6, followed by the Northeast Legislative Breakfast on February 7, and the Southeast Legislative Breakfast held on February 13.
Each event had a delicious continental breakfast provided to all attendees, followed by a welcome by the appointed Masters of Ceremonies, a speech from Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Joan Mikula, recognition to legislative sponsors, and personal impact of DMH services stories. These gatherings were a wonderful opportunity for members of the mental health community to meet with their legislators, thank them for their support and discuss how DMH helps people with psychiatric conditions live satisfying lives in communities of their choice.
At the Southeast Breakfast, Joan Mikula shared about DMH’s dedication to the community. “Legislative leadership and support are important to the individuals and families who we serve in the Southeast area and are essential to our mission,” Joan explained. “With so many people who are either directly or indirectly effected, the department is committed to strengthening the mental health system here is this commonwealth. What this means is working cooperatively with our sister state agencies and community partners, many of you here today,” Joan added.
Joan also recognized six clubhouses in the Southeast areas of Massachusetts who had exceeded the 25% employment goal that was set for 2019. Vinfen Clubhouses included Atlantic Clubhouse, Baybridge Clubhouse, Cove Clubhouse, and Plymouth Bay House. Atlantic Clubhouse Program Director Janette Tibets explained,“Our program has grown as have our employment numbers. We went from 11% in 2017 to 31%.” Janette also shared that Atlantic Clubhouse values the celebration of individual accomplishments, and provides encouragement to all. Clubhouse members are inspired by others who get jobs after seeing success stories throughout their peers.
Joan concluded, “Mental illness will affect in some way every family, in every walk of life, no matter their age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or socio-economic background.”
Pictured above is Vinfen Chief Operating Officer Sophie Jones, Janette Tibets, DMH Southeast Area Director Howard Baker-Smith and Vinfen Chief Executive Officer Bruce Bird.