Mental Health Services

The Direct Support Professional, Grafton’s Investment into Its Greatest Resource

Watching a well-prepared direct support professional deliver day-to-day therapeutic treatment in real time can seem like you’re witnessing a miracle. This is where all of the creative problem solving, barrier hurdling theories (medical and otherwise) of multi-disciplinary support teams “hit the floor.”It’s where the “rubber meets the road” for service delivery.

Garden to Cafeteria Program

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there are no state regulations regarding the use of fresh harvested vegetables from school gardens. In fact, the use of healthy, fresh garden produce is encouraged and consistent with Congress’s wellness policy and the stated purpose of the National School Lunch Act, which is to serve “…nutritious lunches to children each day.” Each of the fifty states has implemented their own versions of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Model Food Code (MFC), which was last updated in 2013.

Thoughts from a Half-Century of Providing Disability Services

I recently conducted an interview with my mother, Alice Marshall, Grafton’s Case Management Supervisor for the Richmond Region, to learn more about her experiences in the disability services arena and her perceptions about what has changed and what has remained the same. It was an enlightening conversation.

David and Goliath—Struggling with Schizophrenia

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 has caused a number of states across the country to review the effectiveness of their behavioral health programs and make changes based on measurable evidence. But in the rarified air of the policy-making world, it’s easy to lose touch with the everyday struggles of individuals coping with mental illness, in the context of their families and the broader communities in which they live.

I would like to tell you a story about one of these individuals. It’s a David and Goliath story, in which David was able to fight off a monstrous “giant” called schizophrenia for three decades, with the support of family, friends, and mental health professionals, as well as his own stubbornness and self-determination.

Courage Is, as Courage Does

“Give me tangible solutions— not comfort!”

These are Holly Ladd’s words, painstakingly, but emphatically, typed on an alphabet chart through eye scanning technology. The technology also translates her messages into her actual voice.

Holly is an award-winning, international health care lawyer, afflicted with a terminal disease. She has only days to live, but she is courageously leading her own care and demanding service on her own terms from her service providers.

Smart Home Technology–A Tool to Improve Quality of Services

According to the New York Times, a wide array of large technology companies, including Google (Nest) and Apple, as well as smaller firms like Canary and Smart Things, are working hard to make the “smart home” a commonplace reality in the near future.

A “smart home” is an all-inclusive term for the highly advanced group of systems (including technology and equipment) that enable functions such as automated security, entertainment, and energy. Smart home technology has been shown to increase functional autonomy in group-home residents, which directly leads to an increase in quality of life.

Building the Network

We are extremely pleased to announce, just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month, our exciting new partnership with the Dominion Center for Behavioral Health Services (DCBHS) is now joint owner of the practice with Dr. Wayne Villeneuve, owner and CEO. This clinic expands Grafton’s services and provides a full spectrum of care including psychological testing, neuropsychological services, therapy, medication management, and more.

Promoting Positive Mental Health—What Does it Take?

In recent years, we have begun to speak openly about the incidence and treatment of breast cancer, AIDS, and autism. Yet we remain reticent to talk openly about mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in four adults—approximately 57.7 million Americans—experience a mental health disorder in any given year.

A Different Dream

Emily Perl Kingsley recently wrote an essay called Welcome to Holland (, wherein she compares raising a child with a disability to planning a fabulous vacation in Italy, and then, after much anticipation, arriving in Holland—a completely different place from the one you imagined. She says the loss of the dream is significant and never really goes away. But if you spend your time focusing on that loss, you will miss the special and lovely things your unexpected detour can give you. It’s a subject that bears discussion.