By the time this e-newsletter reaches you, I will have had my last day at the Coalition. I have accepted a position with the Vera Institute of Justice to work on a new national resource center for underserved survivors of crime. It is hard to leave the Coalition and my work on the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Collaboration Project, but I am excited about this opportunity to apply on a national scale what I have learned here.
I have been reflecting on the many initiatives and accomplishments of the Collaboration Project. It has been a privilege to work with and learn from all of our partners over the years, and to experience the changes we have been able to implement by working together.
Here are 9 highlights from the 9 years of the Collaboration Project (you can learn more about these at: http://endgv.org/projects/domestic-violence-mental-health-collaboration-project/). We:
– Conducted an in depth needs and strengths assessment to learn what was working well and what needed improvement to provide more holistic services for domestic violence survivors who have mental health concerns;
– Engaged in strategic planning to guide our work;
– Utilized universal design principles to create more welcoming environments at our partner organizations;
– Enhanced knowledge and improved response via 4 online courses – DV Basics and DV Response for Mental Health Service Providers and MH Basics and MH Response for Domestic Violence Advocates;
– Increased collaboration and improved communication between our partner organizations through the implementation of a liaison system, cross-disciplinary case reviews, reciprocal consultation, and relationship-building events;
– Integrated trauma-informed practices into service delivery including piloting Seeking Safety coping skills groups co-facilitated by an advocate and a mental health clinician;
– Supported survivors and service providers in their efforts to understand and navigate protection order and family law cases through our Family Law Toolkits for advocates, attorneys, mental health service providers, and survivors;
– Strengthened service provider resilience by holding a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course; and
– Shared what we have learned and the many resources we have created by providing technical assistance and delivering trainings in-person and via webinars to local, statewide, and national audiences.
More accomplishments are still to come! The new project coordinator, Monte Jewell, will be working with our partner organizations through the summer to complete our remaining project activities.
I am grateful to everyone who is part of the Coalition – staff, board, volunteers, members, partners, allies, and funders. You have taught me so much and enabled me to do work that I love. There is still much for us to do to create the kind of healthy, peaceful, just, and equitable world in which we want to live and leave for future generations. While I will no longer be on staff, I have joined the Coalition as a member and am committed to continuing to work with you to end gender-based violence. If you are not yet a member, I invite you to join me in becoming one.
Former Project Manager