A Message from our President & CEO, Polly Kerrigan

I am incredibly honored to lead and serve FSW and to continue the work that we have done to advance our impact throughout Westchester County. When I joined the agency back in 2000, FSW had a budget of $8 million; since then—thanks to our insightful board, a creative staff, dedicated community partners, and the determined efforts of former Presidents Tom Sanders and Susan B. Wayne—we have grown in breadth and depth to our current budget of $22 million.

As I step in as Acting President and CEO, I will continue to devote time in advancing the programs and services that make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. I’m so looking forward to working with Lisa Copeland, FSW’s Board Chair, and the entire Board of Directors as we continue to strengthen community ties. I’m also excited to continue working with such a committed staff that continues to impress me with their inspired responses to the community’s needs. 

I am especially excited about our use of Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) and to focus on resiliency, which is an individual’s capacity to overcome adverse childhood experiences – two approaches to mental health that we have refined and expanded over the past decade or so. As many clinicians know, TST is an evidenced-based model for treating children and adolescents who have experienced trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or the toxic stress associated with poverty. Our staff has been trained to use the approach with children, and we are about to apply the model in a new partial hospital we are launching this September in partnership with St. Joseph’s Medical Center and the Yonkers school district.

This partial hospital, with its emphasis on treating children holistically and working with community partners, represents an innovative approach to an unmet need, and I am excited to see it flourish for several reasons. In addition to helping children, the model also embodies the latest thinking in mental health and demonstrates the value of partnerships. By combining behavioral health treatment with primary care, the project also aims to treat the individual holistically and reduce healthcare costs.

I’m also excited about our efforts to raise public awareness on the impact trauma has on our population and the capacity of an individual to overcome traumatic events—and its complementary component, resiliency, as a promising mental health strategy with broad applications for a range of issues. In addition to treating trauma and promoting resiliency in children, we can also extend some of the model’s techniques to help other vulnerable populations, such as the seniors, veterans, immigrants, and the formerly incarcerated.

While we have seen and acknowledge our success, we know that there is still more to be done. As an organization with more than 60 years, serving over 30,000 annually, with 50+ programs and services, we need to always be focused on the way forward. And it’s all possible with your help.

In these critical times, we not only need to be innovative but resilient in our approach to meeting the unmet need of so many of our vulnerable Westchester residents. This is why I will be working closely with our various stakeholders to build and expand our presences in the County. We know that the mental health and social services sector is radically changing in its delivery of services and we must be ready to embrace those changes.

As we embark on this new journey together, I wanted to assure you that as we move forward FSW will continue to be innovative in providing a holistic approach to care. In the coming months, we have several opportunities for you to get involved and participate with us.

Thank you for your support and please feel free to contact me at pkerrigan@fsw.org and share your ideas as we continue Making A Difference, Right At Home.

Regards,

 

 

Polly Kerrigan
President and CEO