VACPN - VACPN Founders Award
Virginia Association of Community Psychiatric Nurses - VACPN
VACPN Founders Award
Established April 20, 2017

About this award:

The VACPN Founders Award in honor of Irma Mahone R.N., M.S.N., Ph.D. and Jeanne Fox, Ph.D. they had the insight and vision to see the need for an organization for community psychiatric nurses to be able to come together and network, share information and problem solve.  Community psychiatric nursing is a specialty, and not many nurses are aware of what all a community psych nurse does, or the demands put upon them.  Our clients range from first psychotic episodes, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance addiction, Intellectual Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities and more.  They range from children to adults, male and female.  Within our organization we work with clients who are Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), Mandatory Outpatient Treatment (MOT), VASAP, and so many more. 

We are often the first line of communication with family members seeking help for a loved one with mental illness, intellectual disability, or addiction issues.  We are the educators to these family members and individuals to help them understand their diagnosis or addiction. We are the ones monitoring for medication compliance and educating about medications, along with monitoring physical health and nutrition. We are often the ones linking them to services in the community such as primary care providers and dentists, so a shared knowledge of local community resources is vital within our group. Since we work with a large homeless population, shared knowledge of local shelters and food banks is necessary. We often will serve a client in multiple service areas due to them moving in and out of shelter services, detox units, crisis stabilization units, and/or multiple hospitalizations. Our nurses need to be updated on the latest and cutting edge treatments and therapeutic modalities in our field.  The majority of our nurses work within a community service board or behavioral health authority setting.  Our services range from outpatient clinic settings to detox units, crisis stabilization units, Mental Health Supports Services (MHSS), Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Intensive Community Treatment (ICT), Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), also telepsychiatry services.  We have nurses in education, research, and administration.  VACPN is one of the only nursing organizations that includes all practices of nursing from L.P.N.,  R.N.,  B.S.N., M.S.N., Ph.D., and advance practice nurses including nurse practitioners.   

We chose to honor Irma Mahone on our 30th Anniversary because Irma is always looking ahead.  Irma is always looking to advance shared communication within the community psychiatric setting to better assist our nurses and clients.  Without Irma’s foresight to start this organization, we simply would not exist.  Many of our nurses have said, “If it was not for VACPN, I don’t think I would have made it as a CSB nurse”.  This network and fellowship of caring, educated, and dedicated nurses is what we consider to be the heartbeat of community behavioral healthcare and the most holistic modality in treating clients with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance addiction to have more success in their mental health stability and substance addiction recovery.  

Mental health and substance abuse diagnoses continue to grow.  Depression is predicted to be the leading medical disorder by 2020. 

Here are some links that may help you: 

We want this to be a living legacy award in the VACPN Founders' honor.  We are planning to donate $100 annual to NAMI in the name of the VACPN Co-Founders Award in honor of Irma Mahone.  We will recognize a VACPN member annually for his or her service and dedication to community psychiatric nursing.

We chose NAMI because of their progress and efforts in mental health awareness and advocacy for mental health rights.  This mirrors our beliefs as a collective group within VACPN.


Past Recipients

Irma Mahone RN, MSN, PhD

Louise Pesnicak, LNP

Joyce Southern, RN