Education & Outreach

Our Education & Outreach program aims to provide evidence-based mental health and wellness skills to our community, decrease stigma around mental health issues, and increase access to care.

In this ongoing effort we work collaboratively with dozens of partner agencies, neighborhoods, and other groups, including Sentara Martha Jefferson, Shelter for Help in Emergency, Sexual Assault Resource Agency, Westhaven, Southwood, the Charlottesville Works Initiative, the Festival of the Book, the Thomas Jefferson Health District, the numerous agencies at the Jefferson School City Center, and many, many others. These partnerships are foundational to building the trust necessary to provide effective mental health treatment in our community.

Executive Director Elizabeth Irvin, LCSW, gives an educational presentation about stress, trauma, resilience and self-care to staff of the Virginia Institute of Autism. Photo by Lawrence Garretson.

Executive Director Elizabeth Irvin, LCSW, gives an educational presentation about stress, trauma, resilience and self-care to staff of the Virginia Institute of Autism. Photo by Lawrence Garretson.

Education

The Women’s Initiative provides education on a variety of mental health topics to the public and to organizations in the community. Our goal is to increase knowledge about mental health and reduce stigma around mental health issues.

Our staff offer educational programs about women’s mental health and trauma-informed care. Topics include mindfulness; healthy relationships; stress management; grief; resilience; joy; and conflict resolution. Our staff can also speak to the specific mental health needs of underrepresented populations.

If you are interested in having a member of The Women’s Initiative lead a workshop, give a lecture, participate on a panel, or offer any other educational service, please contact Amanda Korman, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, at akorman@thewomensinitiative.org or (434) 872-0047 ext. 111.

Outreach

The best way to reach women in need is to be present where they live, work, and feel most comfortable. Our outreach activities in the community—everything from tabling at local festivals to inviting women to share their stories for our annual Challenge into Change Writing Contest to giving informational presentations about our work—are often the way women first learn that our services exist. Our presence in these public spaces helps reduce the stigma surrounding mental health treatment and increase the likelihood that a woman will access a higher level of care if needed.

If you are interested in having The Women’s Initiative participate in your community event, please contact Amanda Korman, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, at akorman@thewomensinitiative.org or (434) 872-0047 ext. 111.

Challenge into Change

The Challenge into Change Writing Contest, a forum for celebrating women's stories of overcoming personal struggles, is The Women’s Initiative’s largest outreach event of the year. Challenge into Change began in 2008 as a celebration of The Women’s Initiative’s first year of providing vital mental health services to women regardless of ability to pay. Since then, it has become a venue for veteran and emerging writers alike to showcase their talents and engage in creative exploration.

To learn more, visit our Challenge into Change page.