History of The Chas Foundation
Established in 2012 in memory of Tucker Corprew’s son, Charles H. Kirkwood (Chas), who suffered from bipolar disorder and ultimately lost his life to suicide. The organization began as a grassroots movement to significantly change the perception of people suffering from mental illness and enhance the quality of life of those individuals.
- Advocate for mentally ill individuals
- Strive for public acceptance of those dealing with a mental illness
- Increase access to effective treatment for the mentally ill
- Save lives of those dealing with a mental illness by working with private and public professionals
- Provide support, through education, for family members dealing with their loved one’s mental illness
- In the Hampton Roads region, individuals suffering with mental illness and their caretakers will find resources for effective support and treatment
- Neutral voice in the mental healthcare arena
- Innovative approaches to problems
- Proactive and holistic stance through research
- Breaking down barriers and turf obstacles
- Treating all individuals with dignity and respect
The Chas Foundation is a firm believer that collectively we can help the most people facing mental illness. By reaching out to other nonprofit, municipal and advocacy organizations, we strive to be knowledgeable on the most up to date resources available to individuals and families. We have accomplished this goal by convening community focus groups, participating in training and leadership development and by providing a Speakers Bureau to civic organizations. In addition, we have collaborated with the following organizations:
City of Norfolk Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) – Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) programs are local initiatives designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to people experiencing mental health crises. They are built on strong partnerships between law enforcement, mental health providers and individuals and families affected by mental illness. CIT is a jail diversion program that trains first responders through an intensive 40-hour weekly session on how to handle mental health crises while enabling someone going through a crisis to be evaluated and treated. The Chas Foundation has worked diligently in its first two years to draw awareness about the CIT program throughout Hampton Roads as well as work closely with the City of Norfolk to develop its program and furnish the intake room of the Assessment Center.
National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI) –NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. Today, we are an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in your community to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. – See more at: www.nami.org/About-NAMI. Our founder Tucker Corprew is also a board member of the local chapter.
Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) – TAC is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The organization promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Together, TAC and the Chas Foundation have met with local and state legislators in an effort to educate them and advocate for more effective mental illness laws. Their staff is working to advocate improvements in the broken mental health systems in all 50 states including Virginia as well as the federal level. Their work to implement Mandatory Outpatient Treatment (MOT) laws and Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws is providing a continuum of care in states where hospitals for the mentally ill and long-term treatment no longer exists.
In The News
- Chas Foundation offers mental illness advocacy, support | July 17, 2015