Approximately one-third of the total homeless population includes individuals with serious, untreated mental illnesses, according to a research summary compiled by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit in Arlington, VA.
VCU ASPiRE Community Fellow Kysha Washington, a case management services coordinator with The Daily Planet, has been working for more than a decade to help those in need receive support and treatment. The Daily Planet, which is located near the heart of VCU, is a facility for the homeless and underprivileged that provides primary and behavioral healthcare, as well as dental and eye care. Washington said that many people are suffering and do not know that The Daily Planet is a resource that can provide them relief.
“One of my personal goals is to make certain that people are aware of The Daily Planet and the many health-related services we offer," Washington said.
Her work life is just one way that Washington gives back to the community.
“I joined the ASPiRE team as a way to continue to plant seeds and to share my knowledge with college students," she said. "It is my hope that these students will then go forward and help impact the world in great ways."
Washington has already co-facilitated a reflection session for ASPiRE students with Grady Hart, ASPiRE co-curricular coordinator. She is also in the process of planning a tour of The Daily Planet for ASPiRE students.
Washington also serves on the Board of the Lupus Foundation of Virginia, which is a volunteer health organization that provides education and emotional support to patients with Lupus and their families.
Washington earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from VCU. In addition, Washington has served as a field supervisor to students from VCU and Virginia State University.
“It’s rewarding to see college students progress professionally, as well as personally, during their time in the mental health field," she said. “I have found that the learning process is mutual, and I too, walk away with new ideas and experiences.”
For more information, contact Nannette Bailey, ASPiRE community partnership coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.