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Department of Behavioral Health Participates in Annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo to Raise Awareness of Children’s Mental Health

Monday, January 11, 2016
Call 1-888-7WE-HELP (1-888-793-4357) to find available services

(Washington, DC)—The District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health participated in a special webisode of KSOC-TV (Knowledge Network for Systems of Care TV), "Finding Help, Finding Hope: What to do if you think your child may have a mental health problem," sponsored by  the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)at the 2016 NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo on Saturday, January 9.

Mental and substance use disorders can impact children, youth, and their families at school, at home, at work, and in their communities.  Studies show that one in ten children and youth will have a serious mental health condition.  Further, half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14, but it is often years before people seek treatment.  Understanding the signs and symptoms of a mental or substance use disorder can lead to treatment and support that will make a difference in all areas of life.

“Early identification can lead to timely treatment, and make a lifetime difference.  Children and youth with mental health needs—and their families—thrive when they have the right treatment and supports,” said Tanya A. Royster, MD, Director of the Department of Behavioral Health.

Moderated by NBC-4's Doreen Gentzler, the webisode discusses how parents and care givers can participate in their child’s behavioral health care and where to get help.  After the webisode discussion, DBH behavioral health experts were available in the SAMHSA expo booth for individual discussions. 

Webisode panelists are:

  • Erica Barnes, LICSW, School-Based Mental Health Expert, District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health
  • Dr. Gary Blau, Chief, Child, Adolescent, and Family Branch, SAMHSA
  • Danielle Strobeck, Family Navigator, Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health, and
  • Leah Ganssle, Student, Virginia Commonwealth University

The webisode will be available on demand at KSOC-TV,

 The Department of Behavioral offers community based mental health services for children, youth and their families.  For more information about available services for children and families, or to talk to a counselor, call the Access Helpline at.1-888-7WE-HELP (1-888-793-4357) or go to