Early in June, VOICE Prince William County (PWC), together with key allies, took a major step in ensuring people struggling with mental illness and addiction get treatment and support instead of being thrown in jail. According to experts in the field, in the United States, people with mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to be incarcerated than they are to be hospitalized.
After a hard-fought campaign over the past 15 months, VOICE leaders helped secure a total of $10 million in local PWC and state funding to build and open a Crisis Receiving Center (CRC) in PWC. CRCs are designed as an alternative to the widespread, failed practice in Virginia--and virtually everywhere else in the country--of warehousing those in crisis in hospital emergency rooms and jails. VOICE’s organizing, powered by your financial support, has played a critical role in bringing this about. When fully operational, it will undoubtedly save lives and ensure thousands a year get meaningful and timely care.
This is an important start but just a start. VOICE leaders in 2022 are looking to expand this work and also focus on youth and mental health.
While there is much work ahead to bring the CRC to fruition, this is a joyous moment. Congratulations to the PWC team that has driven this campaign over the past 15 months. It has been quite a ride.