Our History

Welcome to FACES.

FACES is a grassroots organization with an active board of directors that is involved in all aspects of the organization.  Our board is made up of family members that have firsthand knowledge of the devastating affects brain disorders (mental illnesses) such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. FACES was founded in 2004 when a group of people that had met at a NAMI Family to Family class and become friends, decided that they needed to continue to support each other and maybe even a few other families that were going through the same trials, frustrations and fears that they had been navigating.  Just as this idea began to take shape, Justin Myers, the son of Pat and Ed Myers, died by suicide.  Justin was 20 years old and he suffered from bipolar disorder.  The pain and reality of Justin’s loss catapulted the group of friends to form an organization that would reach out to families that struggle each and every day with a loved one that has a brain disorder and create a place that would not only provide that family with support but education, friendship and a sense of solidarity.  FACES wanted families to know that they were not alone, that there is a strong advocate fighting for them and fighting to break the stigma commonly associated with these brain disorders. FACES wanted to change the way brain disorders, these mental illnesses, were viewed and treated. 

 The fight for understanding and acceptance of people with brain disorders and the support of their families continues.  Since 2004, FACES has consistently offered two support groups a month and a community education meeting featuring highly regarded speakers in the mental health field who discuss legal, research, medical, crisis management, pharmacy and other relevant topics every month except August and December.  FACES has also expanded its outlook by co-founding the Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition in 2015,  partnering with American Foundation For Suicide Prevention by hosting an International Survivor of Suicide Loss Day event since 2015,  hosting three suicide prevention seminars, becoming involved in the planning and implementation of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for Chesterfield County Police Department and are presenters at CIT training sessions, partnering with Community Service Boards in Chesterfield, Richmond and Henrico to advocate for better funded services, participating in community outreach programs for Gateway Homes and Central State Hospital.  FACES successfully holds two fundraisers a year.

The original Board of Directors, those friends from a NAMI Family to Family class, are still the heart and soul of our organization. Those pioneers, Pamela Weiseman, Pat Myers, Candy Watt, Steve Watt, Debbie Tucker, Dee Edwards, Ruby Fitzgerald and the original Executive Director, Barbara Kunowsky, had the drive and the vision to make the mental health community a better place for the people it serves.  Our current Board of Directors still includes several of the original Board members and they inspire us each day with their commitment, love and dedication.  FACES has weathered the passing of Steve Watt, Dee Edwards and Pamela Weiseman.  In their honor, and in the memory of Justin Myers, FACES remains dedicated to its mission of advocacy, creating education and services for its families and we are as passionate as ever about breaking the stigma that surrounds brain disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia.

FACES also recognizes and thanks all those that have advised, supported and worked with us in our mission.  We thank St. Mark’s Methodist Church for their generosity in allowing us to be housed on their campus.

Please join us in our mission to break the stigma of illness and provide families with much needed services.

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