Family Tapestry was founded in 2003 by Cathy Munson and a small group of likeminded parents. Ms. Munson, the mother of a child with special needs, saw first-hand that her voice and concerns were often not considered when planning care and treatment for her child. Over time, she became aware that many other families who had children with psychiatric disorders were in the same situation and that a critical need existed for support and advocacy. Family Tapestry became dedicated to creating a unified voice to empower these families.
In 2004, Family Tapestry formally introduced itself to the community with a ‘Meet and Greet’ event attended by families and providers as well as a number of community leaders. In subsequent years many programs such as Common Sense Parenting, Maturing Minds and Parent Initiative were developed to help educate and support the families we serve.
Family Tapestry has been vigorously advocating for a children’s psychiatric unit to be added to Golisano Children’s Hospital since it first opened its doors in 2009. Notwithstanding the hospital’s recent announcement that they will open a new eight patient children’s psychiatric unit in 2019, we will continue to advocate for an increase in capacity to accommodate more of our local children who are struggling. We will also continue to seek better follow up services, which are critical in battling this illness.
In an effort to raise community awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness, we began holding our annual mental health awareness walk in 2012. We gather each May, during mental health awareness month, to educate the community and to show support for all the local families that are affected by mental illness.
Most recently we have been active participants in Congressman John Katko and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli’s mental health task force. The conclusion of which was, there is serious need for local inpatient and outpatient children’s psychiatric services.
Over the years Family Tapestry has adapted its programs to fit the ever changing needs of the families we serve, our latest addition being our Facebook support group. The group provides parents with extra support in the convenience of their own homes from others who share similar struggles.
Throughout its short history, Family Tapestry has endeavored to support and empower local youth living with mental illness and their families who are affected by the illness, through education, encouragement and advocacy. Building on our grassroots beginnings, we have sought to be an agent of positive change and to support progressive steps taken in Syracuse and Onondaga County to enhance the voice of our families and youth.