The CHAS Foundation is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and Virginia Department of Health.
The health and safety of our clients, staff, and volunteers is imperative. Our ability to continue supporting and connecting individuals and families to mental health services is of utmost importance. CHAS programs are in the process of updating our Business Interruption Plan to ensure critical services continue to be offered to our clients as resources allow. It has become necessary for some programs to modify their service offerings.
The Mental Illness Navigator & Support (MINS) program will be still providing essential services. However, due the majority of mental health providers postponing and rescheduling all non-urgent medical visits, our resources may be limited at this time. Currently, our outreach will be limited to telecommunications which may include video conferencing. Your mental health is a priority to The Chas Foundation so please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
As a result of the CDC’s recommendation to keep six feet apart, we are suspending all Mindfulness Classes including work with individuals until further notice. We will be sending out tips and tools to use during this time of heightened stress and uncertainty.
This continues to be a fluid situation that CHAS plans to monitor closely. The outbreak of COVID-19 impacts each person’s mental wellbeing in different ways. Some may feel anxious or down while others may be ambivalent or frustrated. There are others that will experience compounding effects based on their preexisting mental illness they are already navigating in their everyday lives. For everyone in and around Hampton Roads, we want to be a resource for you and your mental health.
The CHAS Foundation
Looking for the digital version of our 2018 Annual Report / Newsletter?
You’ve found it!
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, The CHAS Foundation is starting a new initiative to help provide local In-Patient Psychiatric Treatment facilities with safe recreational items for the patients.
Mental Illness is already a difficult condition to overcome, and nothing can stifle the spirit as much as idle minds and idle hands. Certainly, having a safe refuge for people too ill to care for themselves is paramount, but there is a basic dignity in humanity with having an industry or an outlet, especially at a time when patients are separated from loved ones and lonely. In fact, having calming activities at their disposal will most certainly help relieve anxieties, reduce depression and improve morale. This may seem like a small thing to some, but for patients in psychiatric facilities, it can tremendously improve quality of life and self-esteem, which is crucial for recovery.
“Boredom has been reported as a common experience for service users of acute psychiatric wards. It has been associated with negative mental and physical health.”
– Boredom proneness in a psychiatric inpatient population.
In our institutions of care for the mentally suffering, there is a striking need for mental and physical occupation. Boredom only breeds malcontents. Therefore, the CHAS Foundation seeks your help in providing these patients with the activities, distractions, and occupations that we all need, but in a way that best facilitates their recovery.
To set the foundation for this effort, we are working to provide Sentara Norfolk General’s In-Patient Psychiatric facility with items that can really improve the quality of their patients’ lives. Hopefully we can expand this program to other local facilities in the future. And we need the help of the community to get this going!
**All items must be soft covers and without staples or spiral bindings for patient and staff safety. Please also consider content of material as well, so the patients can have uplifting, inspiring and motivational material at their disposal. All below items are approved by Sentara Medical staff.
For now, we have one drop off location for this project, but would love to have another business community partner willing to accept donations for this cause. If you are a business interesting in helping with this project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will contact you with details.
For those of you donating items, please include your name and contact information, so we can thank you for your generosity and support of this initiative. Our current drop off location is:
The White Rabbit
334 W. 21st Street
Norfolk, VA 23517
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Getting help to people with mental illnesses is not always easy. That’s why the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is rolling out a new plan to reduce the time it takes for people to get treatment.
In Hampton Roads, that program just began in Chesapeake. The idea is that no matter the health problem, people get treatment when they need it.
Beau Kirkwood has turned pain into passion. “We lost my brother to bipolar disorder and also schizoaffective disorder when he was about 32,” Kirkwood said. He’s now the executive director of The CHAS Foundation, which aims to help people and their families find appropriate treatment for mental health problems.
“We really went through nearly every barrier of treatment that an individual or family could go through,” Kirkwood said.
Those barriers are what people at Chesapeake Integrated Behavioral Healthcare (CIBH) are working to remove.
“People who have behavioral health care needs need to be seen whenever motivation is high and whenever they want services,” said Joe Scislowicz, executive director of the CIBH.
This month, the CIBH launched same day access, with funding from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Scislowicz said, “Especially for acute behavioral health difficulties or substance abuse problems, when they seek services, you should be there for them.”
People can now walk-in, get an assessment, and then begin treatment — avoiding wait times and cancelled appointments. “Typically if you delay a person’s appointment by even 48 hours, you’re going to lose 50 percent of the people,” said Scislowicz.
Scislowicz says it’s been steady since they launched the program January 3. The CIBH is currently the only Community Service Board in Hampton Roads that has this funding, but that’s supposed to change in the next few years, giving all CSB’s this same day program.
It’s a change Kirkwood says is welcome, especially for people like his brother.
“When someone needs care and they’re willing to receive that treatment, it gets so frustrating when you can’t get that treatment in a timely manner,” said Kirkwood. “It’s absolutely needed.”
In Norfolk, officials say they started a pilot program for same day access in fall 2017. That program is currently open Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at 3755 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard. People can call their main number at 757-823-1600. Anyone with a crisis can call the 24-hour crisis line at 757-664-7690.
Norfolk also offers The Governor’s Access Plan (GAP) which can help adults with mental illness who have no insurance and very low or no income.
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – NORFOLK, Va., — The Chas Foundation presented a $40,000 gift to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) to support staff training and education for CHKD’s pediatric behavioral health program.
CHKD offers outpatient pediatric behavioral health treatment at CHKD health centers throughout the region, giving children and families access to mental health services now in unprecedented demand close to home and in the same place they receive trusted care for their physical health concerns.
“We are very grateful for this generous donation from The Chas Foundation. This gift will expand our program’s reach and help us meet the increased demand for pediatric behavioral health services in our community. We are excited about The Chas Foundation’s support of our program to deliver innovative, family-focused care,” says Stephanie Osler, director of behavioral health for CHKD.
“The Chas Foundation is dedicated to helping families find effective treatment for their children with behavioral health challenges, and we recognize the importance of early intervention. Supporting the mental health of local children in our community is a priority for us,” says Tucker Corprew, president and founder of The Chas Foundation.
The Chas Foundation is a Norfolk-based nonprofit dedicated to helping those with psychological and psychiatric disorders and dissolving the stigma of mental illness. Learn more at thechasfoundation.org.
CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers and satellite offices throughout its service region. Learn more at CHKD.org.
# # #
Sentara Healthcare and EVMS Brock Institute
Official Community Medicine and Health Partners
GSA Department of Theatre & Film
REFRAME THE SHAME
A Theatrical Event Confronting the Sigma of Depression, in partnership with The Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work at Norfolk State University
April 14, 6pm – EVMS
April 15, 5pm – NSU
April 19, 12:30pm – ODUApril 20, 2 & 3pm – TCC (Norfolk Campus)
April 23, 1pm – College of William & Mary
Visit www.gsarts.net for exact locations
Sponsored in part by:
- The Hampton Roads Community Foundation
- Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission
- Dal Paull
- Jim Hixon
- Southeastern Virginia Community Foundation
- Portsmouth Museum & Fine Arts Commission & the City of Portsmouth
- The Rutter Family Art Foundation
- Southern Bank Foundation
- The Chas Foundation
- Sarah M. Peterson Foundation
- William and Mary Middle Passage Project
Artwork by Michelle Dominado
(modified to fit this space)
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support The Chas Foundation every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com (our unique link), you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to The Chas Foundation.
BEAU KIRKWOOD, executive director of The Chas Foundation, was presented an award by the city of Norfolk and the Norfolk Police Department for his dedication as a trainer in the department’s Crisis Intervention Team program. The CIT training was started in October 2014 to improve the way Norfolk law enforcement responds to calls from people experiencing mental health crisis and their families. The Chas Foundation, a nonprofit, provides resources for the mentally ill and their families. “We are very pleased that Beau is highly accomplished in sharing [specialized communication] techniques with the Norfolk officers,” said Tucker Corprew, president of The Chas Foundation. She is Beau’s mother and also the mother of Chas Kirkwood, who committed suicide in November 2011.
A LITTLE HISTORY
“I’m from Norfolk, graduated from Maury High School in ’99 and continued my education at Colorado State University. I received a bachelor of science in natural resource management and proceeded to go into accounting work. I worked at an accounting firm for three to four years.”
COPING WITH A MENTALLY ILL BROTHER
“It was at that time that my brother, who was bipolar and had schizophrenia, was just getting worse and worse each year. I ended up moving back from Colorado to help with him toward the end of his life. We encountered a lot of issues with trying to find assistance and support for people going through a mental health crisis. There just wasn’t anywhere to turn. That’s when we decided to start the foundation to assist those suffering from mental illness and their families, too. We started this foundation to identify some of the major gaps that existed in the mental health world.”
DRAWN TO NONPROFIT
“I’ve always been in the business of helping people. I’ve just always had that desire, but I just hadn’t yet found my calling or a reason to go into nonprofit. But seeing what happened with my brother and going through everything we felt we could do for him was absolutely heartbreaking. That’s where my true desire to help people who had to go through what he and my family did really started.
“I haven’t been educated in the field of mental health. I haven’t studied at the top medical schools, but what I have done is lived it for 25 years in dealing with my brother and now trying to help others. That knowledge and experience is what helps me assist and provide relief to those who are suffering. I feel like our organization can speak up for those who are mentally ill and actually help our community grow stronger and be healthier.”
HIS ROLE IN THE ORGANIZATION
“What I do with the organization is pretty much everything: all the office work, the database work, fundraising, event planning, all the marketing and advertising, I’m the CIT instructor. I could keep going.
“I feel like I was prepared for my current position through my schooling in Colorado. The program I took was set up as if you own a small business. I’ve always tried to be kind and respectful to people, and I hope that I receive that back from people. That combined with being in business really gave me the tools to start this nonprofit. Having experience in bookkeeping, accounting, office work and Microsoft prepared me to have the business side taken care of while I go out and actually connect with people and really figure out how to provide relief and make someone’s life better.”
“I think the biggest challenge is that this has never been done before. There are not many organizations out there that are doing what we are, and that’s because there’s just been uncertainty on how to treat people suffering. We’re at a point as a society that we’ve got to start addressing this and putting all the people that are pieces of this mental health field together. I just don’t think we’ve been addressing mental health as much as we should be and need to. Mental health is so crucial to our whole well-being as a community.”
“My greatest pleasure is being able to provide support and assistance to those who haven’t been able to find that anywhere else.”
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
“I see us continually growing and filling some of the gaps like working on legislation with [State Sen.] Creigh Deeds and trying to get some laws passed. I think setting up programs will be really key for us. When you have these illnesses and there is no protocol or plan to treat them, then it really is crucial to figure out programs or services to make their lives better in that family.
“We’re trying to get these programs in place but at the same time draw awareness to mental illness and help eliminate the stigma surrounding it. We have to let people know that it’s OK to talk about it and it’s OK for their loved ones to be sick. It’s a huge barrier for those who go through it. It’s about what’s going to help better our lives and community.”
WHEN I HAVE SPARE TIME
“I’ve always been an outdoors person. That includes hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, fishing and especially surfing. I do my best to make sure that I stay mentally healthy because obviously that is critical for me when I’m helping people deal with these difficulties. With this organization, I find that I’m pretty much working all the time and I get to surf occasionally. I’m getting married next month and just trying to maintain a simple life. I also love spending time with my family and friends. After going through the tragedy that I endured, quality time with loved ones is extremely important to me.”
Thornton, B. (2015, July 17). “FIRST PERSON: Beau Kirkwood.” http://insidebiz.com/news/first-person-beau-kirkwood
The Chas Foundation is a Norfolk-based nonprofit dedicated to helping those with mental illness and working to dissolve its stigma by offering resources for the mentally ill and their families.
Tucker Corprew, founder of the organization, suffered the loss of her middle son, Chas Kirkwood, who hanged himself on Nov. 14, 2011, at age 34. According to the foundation’s website, “An estimated 30,000 people, many like Chas – a husband, an accomplished chef, skier extraordinaire, and ‘a guy everyone liked’ – commit suicide annually, driven by the throes of depression, bipolarism, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.”
“Unless there is more funding for hospital beds, long-term treatment and easier access to psychiatric help during a crisis (not warehousing in the ER, where there is no treatment), mental illness will continue to rise, and more people will take their lives,” said Corprew, longtime owner of two Norfolk consignment businesses and a board member of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Corprew and her youngest son, Beau Kirkwood, executive director of The Chas Foundation, train law enforcement officers in how to identify and assist individuals with mental illness as part of crisis intervention teams. (See related story, Page 24.)
According to Mental Health America federal data, Virginia ranks No. 9 in the need for mental health services. Those suffering from mental illnesses are sent to jails rather than psychiatric hospitals, and when released, they’re just as ill if not more so than when they entered. The CIT program is a jail diversion effort that attempts to find medical help for those affected.
“The CIT program came about because we had to call the police on numerous occasions, and there were numerous times when we’d have liked to call the police, but we didn’t want our loved one to be taken to jail. We knew implementing this in Norfolk was critical,” Kirkwood said. “Norfolk has done an excellent job of training their staff; we’ve gotten more officers trained quicker than anywhere else in the country.”
Training at the Norfolk Police Department means one 40-hour week of intense training that educates officers on topics such as what mental illness looks like, side effects of drugs and finding resources for the affected families.
“The first half of the class is all educational. We have people from the CSB (Community Services Board) come and discuss adolescent mental illness, geriatric mental illness, focusing on the family community aspect of that,” Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood then relates his personal story to the police and explains the difficulties the family faces in these situations – 50 percent of people with bipolar and 40 percent of people with schizophrenia have anosognosia, which means they don’t realize they’re sick, making it harder for families to get them treated.
The Chas Foundation is in the process of creating an online resource guide for families and those suffering to be able to turn to.
Kirkwood also hopes to work with State Sen. Creigh Deeds and his mental health task force to create legislation regarding mental illness.
“The Chas Foundation is also committed to increasing community awareness that mental illness is a genetic disorder, not a character flaw,” Corprew said.
Thornton, B. (2015, July 17). “Chas Foundation offers mental illness advocacy, support.” http://insidebiz.com/news/chas-foundation-offers-mental-illness-advocacy-support
Currently, we are in the process of transitioning to a new website and gathering resources in order to connect those in need to effective treatment. The Chas Foundation would like to keep you up to date on our ongoing projects:
- Development of New Online Resource Website
- Funding Clothing & Toiletries for The Crisis Stabilization Center
- Furnishing waiting room for CIT Assessment Center in Norfolk
- Director, Beau Kirkwood, is an Instructor for the CIT Police Training Representing the Family and Community perspective.
- Educate Politicians Using a Consulting Expert and Partnering with The Treatment Advocacy Center for Better Implementation of the MOT Law.
- Awareness Campaign to Erase The Stigma Throughout All of Hampton Roads
The “2nd Annual Chas Foundation Celebration” held this fall was a huge success thanks to all of our sponsors, supporters, and volunteers. The weather was fabulous with a turnout of nearly 350 people coming to draw awareness to mental illness in our community. The first step in raising awareness is being able to talk about these diseases while erasing the stigma that accompanies them. The Chas Foundation received a large amount of positive feedback about the event because it allowed an open forum for folks to comfortably discuss matters in our society that are normally taboo. Pictures of the event have been posted to Facebook so please have a look. We again want to thank everyone involved in making this a truly special event.
Please Purchase Tickets at O’Connor’s
Come join us at O’Connor Brewing Co. on October 25, 2014 for great food, drinks, and music in aid of The Chas Foundation. The event will be held from 5 pm until 9pm.
Catered Food and Beverages (including Beer & Wine) are included in the ticket price.
Tickets are $50 in advance/$60 the day of and are now available for purchase using our secure payment system. Your credit card will show a processed transaction from Paypal/The Chas Foundation and upon purchase, a receipt will be sent to your email. You will not need to print out a ticket. Once tickets have been purchased to the event, only name/identification will be needed for entry.
Tickets Must Be Purchased At O’Connor Brewery The Day Of Event
Ann Orwig (Design Elements): Donation of Furniture to Norfolk Assessment Center
$5,000 Presenting Sponsor: Anonymous
$2,000 Gold: Franklin Johnston Group, Osage Of Virginia
$1,000 Silver: TowneBank, O’Keefe Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Finney Zimmerman Psychiatric Associates PLC, Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, Katherine Moore, NYR Organic-Nancy Wilcox, The Hall Family, Mary Neal King, Tucker Corprew, Lauren V. Wolcott CPA, KITCO Fiber Optics, Mark & Elizabeth Lawson, Merrill Lynch
$500 Bronze: No Frill Grill, The Morgan Real Estate Group, Jesus & Ashley Inciong, Bill & Margaret Ballard, Rick & Edye Johnson, Doug & Cindy Wilson, Inlet Properties Real Estate, Decorum, Sullivan Law Group, PLC, S.B. Ballard Construction Co., Coastal Imports, Sterne Agee
Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are programs that bring together local stakeholders, including law enforcement officers, emergency dispatchers, mental health treatment providers, consumers of mental health services, and others (such as hospitals, emergency medical care facilities, non-law enforcement first responders, and family advocates), in order to improve multi-systems’ response to persons experiencing behavioral health crises who come into contact with law enforcement and other first responders or corrections and jail personnel due to exhibiting symptoms or behaviors that are misinterpreted as criminal in nature, inappropriate, dangerous or violent. Additionally, law enforcement officers routinely interact with individuals with behavioral health disorders as a result of the statutory structure of Virginia’s civil commitment process. In many of these situations, it is necessary to help such persons access the mental health treatment they need rather than going with the alternative, incarceration.
CIT programs enhance community collaboration, develop effective infrastructure and provide outstanding training to improve criminal justice and mental health system response to individuals with mental health issues. The Chas Foundation has been meeting with local agencies in Norfolk, VA to assist in implementing the CIT program and the development of an assessment site to improve access to services.
The goals of the crisis intervention team programs shall be:
- Providing immediate response by specially trained law-enforcement officers;
- Reducing the amount of time officers spend out of service awaiting assessment and disposition;
- Affording persons with mental illness, substance abuse problems, or both, a sense of dignity in crisis situations;
- Reducing the likelihood of physical confrontation;
- Decreasing arrests and use of force;
- Identifying underserved populations with mental illness, substance abuse problems, or both, and linking them to appropriate care;
- Providing support and assistance for mental health treatment professionals, or both, and linking them to appropriate care;
- Decreasing the use of arrest and detention of persons experiencing mental health and/or substance abuse crises by providing better access to timely treatment;
- Providing a therapeutic location or protocol for officers to bring individuals in crisis for assessment that is not a law-enforcement or jail facility;
- Increasing public recognition and appreciation for the mental health needs of a community;
- Decreasing injuries to law-enforcement officers during crisis events;
- Reducing inappropriate arrests of individuals with mental illness in crisis situations;
- Decreasing the need for mental health treatment in jail.
The Chas Foundation’s “2nd Annual Golf Classic” will be held on May 10, 2014 at Bide-A-Wee Golf Course in Portsmouth, VA. We would be pleased to have you join us as we continue to raise awareness for those suffering from mental illness and push for improved resources throughout the Hampton Roads region. Please click on the link below to look at the brochure and we thank you all for your tremendous support.
Also, please note that the contact # for Beau Kirkwood at The Chas Foundation is 757-489-2427 instead of 757-423-2427.
Mental Illness is emerging as the greatest social issue of this decade. The Chas Foundation is currently working together with local non-profits, government agencies, and families of those suffering to find solutions and provide better assistance . This is a critical step in figuring out how to navigate the mental health system because mental illness is the only disease without a protocol for treatment. Once all of these group meetings have taken place, a full report will be posted and the results will be displayed.
Over the past few weeks, our Executive Director has been on National Public Radio, , WVEC Channel 13 News, and a keynote speaker at the Civic Leadership Institute. The message is to push for public awareness and better services, erase the stigma, and tell a story that resonates with many, but is told by so few. Links are below to listen and watch in case you missed them.
If you or anyone in your family is going through challenges related to mental illness, please feel free to email or call us. We will do our very best to help you navigate the maze that is our mental health care system.
Please stay tuned for updates on the “1st Annual Chas Foundation Celebration” and information on any upcoming events. Pictures will be posted soon! This wonderful event could not have taken place without the help of our amazing sponsors.
Presenting: TowneBank, Wolcott Rivers Gates, Palace Shops & Palace Station, Gastrointestinal & Liver Specialists of Tidewater
Gold: The Franklin Johnston Group,, Lauren V Wolcott CPA, PC
Bronze: Inlet Properties Inc, Bankers Insurance LLC, Paul & Beth Fraim, Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, Nancy Wilcox, Charles J Brenner & Judi Worley, Sterne Agee Investments, More Music Group, Janet & Barclay Winn, John Hill Tennis Shop