Celebrating the Life of Sybil Goldman

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sybilSybil Goldman, a true champion of the children's mental health movement in America, passed away over the holidays after a long battle with cancer. If you have ever worked in children's mental health in the public sector, you would be hard-pressed not to know the name, Sybil Goldman. As Director of the Georgetown National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health, Sybil was one of the pioneers of the movement, beginning with the advent of the Child and Adolescent Services System (CASSP) program in 1985.

Over the past 30 years, the field of children's mental health has faced its share of adversities and change. In all of it, Sybil was there, lending her quiet, yet firm, voice of reason to challenging discussions around issues important to developing quality systems of care. Whether the topic was family involvement, cultural inclusion, community-based services, or peer support, you could always count on Sybil to ask the question that no one had thought of, the question that typically moved the conversation forward to identifying a better way. Sybil just had that knack, a talent that will be sorely missed.

For me, it was a gift to know Sybil from afar in my early days in the movement. We were colleagues, but not close friends. But here was the gift that Sybil had. When she stopped to visit with you or ask you a question, you could be in a room full of people, but feel as though it was just the two of you enjoying a deep conversation over a cup of coffee. What a gift.

Later on, after I started the Children's Mental Health Network, I spoke with Sybil a bit more frequently. Her passion for advocacy burned bright, and her interest and inquisitiveness about my work and advocacy in general always left me feeling a little bit better about the challenges ahead after we spoke. She had a gift for doing that. Sybil Goldman was one of the keepers of the flame, sharing it far and wide. And with that great responsibility, she never wavered.

The way she lived her life and the example she set is something to which I aspire every day. What a gift to humanity she was. Man, I am going to miss her.

Contributions can be made to the following charities in Sybil's memory. 

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 Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network



  1. Kathy wright's avatar
    Kathy wright
    | Permalink
    Scott thanks so much for sharing. Sybil was an amazing person and will be truly missed.
  2. Myra Alfreds's avatar
    Myra Alfreds
    | Permalink
    Thank you for sharing this, Scott, and for your beautiful tribute. Sybil was such a special lady and caring friend who contributed enormously to the quality and creativity of our work in Westchester. Thanks to Sybil, we were connected to the best work in this country and beyond. What you do continues her legacy today for all of us.
  3. Joan Mikula's avatar
    Joan Mikula
    | Permalink
    Thank you for letting us know that Sybil died. Honestly, I didn't even know she was ill. We began our children's mental health journey together in 1985----she in DC and me in Boston. We kept in touch as she did with so many----it always felt that no time had passed even if it had been years. She was a champion and she will be missed.
  4. Sharon Amatetti's avatar
    Sharon Amatetti
    | Permalink
    Scott your comment about Sybil being so present was spot on. Sybil was a great listener and was interested in what others had to share. She will be deeply missed by many. Thank you for preparing this tribute.
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