Peggy Schiffers, a WGA member since 2008, suggested mental health as the first WGA single area of focus. As Co-Chair of the Grants Committee in 2011, she had early access to research which suggested that mental health issues were pervasive, addressed in some way by every agency that served women and girls in our area, and that mental health services were dramatically underfunded in Florida.
Peggy was instrumental in crafting the first two Requests for Proposal that were published to local agencies. After WGA embarked on its second year of funding grants that involved mental health for women and girls in Northeast Florida, she also made it her business to determine if WGA members had an appetite for continuing this work. Peggy visited every Neighborhood Connector event in the Spring and Summer of 2012 to discuss what we had learned, what needs were still unmet, and what members were interested in funding. She heard a resounding “yes” to the question of whether WGA should continue the work in mental health.
While Peggy cycled off the grants team in 2013, her work in mental health continues. She was one of a group of WGA members who met with the Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. (JCCI) in preparation for their year-long study on Community Mental Health. Peggy ended up serving on the Management Team for the JCCI study while 14 other WGA members participated as members of the JCCI Inquiry Committee). She followed up that volunteer role by becoming Chair of the Board of Lutheran Services Florida Health Systems (LSFHS), which is the managing entity for Florida’s mental health and substance abuse dollars for 23 counties in central and northeast Florida.
The connection between her work at WGA and her roles at JCCI and LSFHS? According to Peggy:
“The WGA grants process underscored for me how important mental health is to one’s wellbeing, and how pervasive the need was in the community to help many women and girls to have better access to mental health resources to improve their lives.”
Access the complete JCCI Inquiry on Mental Health.
View the executive Summary of this report