The ribbon has been cut and the former Children’s Mental Health Resource Center is now officially the Cameron K. Gallagher Mental Health Resource Center following a $250,000 gift from the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.
The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation has supported the work of the Mental Health Resource Center at our Virginia Treatment Center for Children since 2014 when David and Grace Gallagher started the foundation in memory of their daughter, Cameron. Prior to passing away unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 16, Cameron battled depression and anxiety. As Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher discovered more about Cameron’s wishes to help other teens struggling with mental health conditions, they started the foundation in her honor, dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and letting teens know it’s okay to speak up about their personal battles.
“Cameron was acutely aware that her challenges and her struggles affected the entire family because we all know when one person suffers, the entire family suffers,” said Mrs. Gallagher. “That’s why the Cameron K. Gallagher Mental Health Resource Center is a gift for families. It serves as a light, as support and hope, and it helps them to keep fighting the good fight even on their darkest days.”
Family navigators at the Mental Health Resource Center help providers and families understand the mental health options available for children and assist them in finding therapists, psychiatrists or other appropriate services. The model uses the valuable experiences of individuals who have navigated the mental health system, providing one-on-one support and referral assistance to families across Virginia.
“Every weekday, the Mental Health Resource Center receives an average of six new referrals from pediatricians, community providers or families themselves seeking information about mental health care,” said Rachel Reynolds, resource center manager. “Support from the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation helps us provide families with assistance and resources as soon as possible, reducing the likelihood of a mental health crisis for their child.”
Alexandria Lewis, Ed.D., executive director of Virginia Treatment Center for Children added, “We are immensely grateful for the foundation’s generous contribution to the Mental Health Resource Center and we pledge to use the funds to expand the program and serve more families throughout Virginia in support of Cameron’s dream.”
The Gallaghers’ family and friends gathered for the renaming ceremony, sharing stories of Cameron and the impact she continues to make on her community and beyond. Her parents, too, are changing the face of mental health, working to ensure that support is available for those who need it.
“Your work is a perfect partnership with us and we applaud your energy and your commitment,” said Dr. Joel Silverman, chairman of the VCU Department of Psychiatry, to Mr. and Mrs. Gallagher while addressing the crowd. “As parents, we often find ourselves saying how proud we are of our children and I have to tell you that I believe that Cameron is super proud of her parents.”