The Loudoun County Community Services Board marked 50 years of serving the community with a special event Friday.
The 18-member board serves in an advisory capacity to the Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services. The board is led by Chairman Angelo Wider, and is part of a system that served 219,815 residents between June 2017 and July 2018.
And department director Margaret Graham said during the 50 years Loudoun’s Community Services Board has been meeting, a lot has changed.
“The asylums are gone. Psychiatric wards are no more. There are no more colonies for the feeble-minded, or training centers for the intellectually disabled,” said Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services Director Margaret Graham.
Today, the department provides services, case management, and treatment plans centered around the needs of the individual. That ranges from in-home support, to day support, crisis intervention, after-school and summer camp programs, and early intervention for infants and toddlers, among other programs. The Community Services Board oversees and reviews that work, making recommendations to the both the department and the county Board of Supervisors.
“We have come a long way in 50 years,” said Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services Director Margaret Graham. “This progress is a function of the partnership that’s in this room today and throughout the Loudoun community. There is more work to be done, and more innovation required.”
Virginia Association of Community Service Boards Executive Director Jennifer Faison noted that the traditional 50th anniversary gift is gold.
“What Loudoun CSB has been able to achieve of the past 50 years is more valuable to the lives of the people you’ve touched than gold or even diamonds,” Faison said.
She estimated that over the past 50 years, the department has provided at least a million hours of support to people in the community.
“I think we take for granted the level of investment and commitment that it takes to properly serve individuals in need,” Faison said.
The Board of Supervisors on May 7 adopted a resolution declaring May as Mental Health Month, established by Mental Health America starting in 1949.
Faison also commented that many places with names like Loudoun’s—including Loudon County, TN—do not have as second “U” in their spelling.
“To me, that extra U is special. I believe it signals that you all are so busy looking after people with behavioral and developmental disability needs that you haven’t collectively had the time to learn to spell your own name right, and that’s the special kind of single-minded devotion that I admire,” Faison said.
The evening’s celebration at Ida Lee Park Recreation Center also included performances from A Place to Be, a Middleburg-based nonprofit that uses the clinically-based therapeutic benefits of music and arts to support people with physical, medical, behavioral, learning, intellectual, developmental, and social challenges.