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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

May 07, 2019

New York State Recognizes Westchester County Woman for Career-long Commitment to Children’s Mental Health

Patricia White Honored for her Life’s Work in Mobilizing the Community to Support the Complex Needs of Children and Families

Albany, NY – New York State is honoring Patricia White - a mental health pioneer in Westchester County- with the 2019 ‘What’s Great in our State’ Lifetime Award.

Patricia has been involved in Westchester’s System of Care since 1989 when the county movement first started. ‘System of Care’ is an approach to developing a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports organized into a coordinated network. An effective System of Care meets the physical, mental, social, emotional, educational, and developmental needs of children and their families.

Patricia has been a pioneer in the use of wraparound meetings for children and families with complex needs. These wraparound meetings put the child or youth and family at the center and provides a comprehensive, holistic way of responding to mental health challenges.

“Patricia White is an incredible example of how the dedication of one individual can have a positive impact on children and families that face mental health issues.  Her commitment to promoting the System of Care framework and mentoring others to continue its success shows her passion to the cause,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “We thank all our honorees for their hard work and commitment to children’s mental health.”

Patricia was presented with the award at the annual ‘What’s Great in our State 2019’ event on May 7th in Rotterdam. The celebration recognizes the individuals and programs that are successfully advancing the cause of children’s mental health in New York State.

Patricia is noted for her strength of engaging “natural” community supports in a family’s wraparound plan, including extended family, faith-based organizations, sports/social clubs and important local resources.

She also provides training on wraparound meetings and community mobilization on a county, state and national level. She is considered a mentor who is passionate about supporting the “rising system of care stars” from all organizations.

“Thank you, New York State for this Lifetime Award.  I am so grateful to receive this recognition on behalf of the many families and organizations that are part of the Westchester County System of Care. As a leader who dares to be different, I have been nicknamed the “Dot Connector” in Westchester County. I am honored that my strengths, commitment and dedication to the families and communities we serve is seen beyond the horizon.  My joy comes from witnessing the life transformations of our most vulnerable children and families, and sometimes, entire communities.”

For more information on Patricia’s work in Westchester County, visit https://mentalhealth.westchestergov.com/

What’s Great in Our State’

The ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event coincides with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national movement that seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

‘What’s Great in Our State’ started in 2010 and has expanded and evolved. It features a Governor’s proclamation declaring the week as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a ceremony recognizing our honorees, keynote speakers and an art show featuring artwork created by children receiving services from New York State’s mental health system.

This year’s celebration includes an expanded format that combines education, awareness and recognition. The new, full-day forum adds three breakout workshops to the schedule, focusing on the work being done to build Systems of Care across New York State. The expanded format uses funding from a SAMHSA grant dedicated to strengthening this cross-systems effort.

The event is planned and sponsored by six New York State agencies and a number of mental health advocacy organizations. For more information on the partners involved with this year’s ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event, visit https://conta.cc/2W5Ok   


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