Calling all community leaders, advocates, health and fitness professionals, mental health professionals, faith leaders, and anyone with a drive for justice: Save the Date. Saturday, March 17, 2018.

All Philadelphians should have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives. Unfortunately today, this is not the case. It’s time to raise the bar for everyone. Join us at Philadelphia’s first Health Justice Summit to learn how our communities can be intentional about improving the health of our city. We’ll see you there.

Register for free at


New Opportunities Workshop Open House for Adult Job Seekers

Thursday, February 22, 2018, 6pm-8pm

Temple University-Paley Library, Lecture Hall

13th & Montgomery Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19122 

Temple University's Office of Human Resources is hosting a general interest meeting for adult job seekers interested in participating in a FREE 8-week professional leadership development/workforce readiness seminar:  “New Opportunities Workshop” (NOW professional development training).  Temple University will cover the entire cost of your participation; if interested in learning more about eligibility and enrollment in this FREE professional seminar, you’re urged to attend our upcoming Open House event.

Our 8-week seminar classes are held one night a week.  Each seminar class is two hours, 6pm-8pm. Classes are taught by management and corporate business leaders from the Philadelphia area.  The seminar ends with a dinner reception with hiring managers from the Philadelphia business community, and a certificate ceremony celebrating those that successfully completed the 8-weeks of professional development training.

To RSVP, email Mike Robison,, state that you plan to attend the Open House event and attach your most recent resume. If you have any questions, you may also call him at 215-204-0677.


Doors to Wellbeing has an Exciting Opportunity for Youth!

Are you interested in being part of a brand new, innovative opportunity to grow your leadership skills while designing, planning, and implementing a Mental Health National Youth Convergence?

Doors to Wellbeing (D2W) is looking for young, emerging leaders, within the ages of 18-30, who are interested in building up personal leadership skills and working with a team of youth responsible for leading and organizing a Mental Health National Youth Convergence. Attendance at the event is required. If selected, you will be partnered with a nationally recognized Young Adult Mentor to learn from and have as a guide.

Application deadline: January 15th, 2018

For more information and to apply, click here.

Save The Date:

Mental Health National Youth Convergence

August 6-8th 2018

Washington, DC


Peer Facilitator Training: LiveWell Depression Support Group (Philly)
Saturday, Jan. 20th 1:00 - 5:00 pm  &  Saturday, Jan. 27th
1:00 - 5:00 pm
Transforming lives through wellness education and peer support, the LiveWell Program® 
is a recovery and relapse reduction program that empowers people to be actively involved
in their own depression treatment and mental health care.  Our peer-led, experiential-learning (or activity-based) weekly depression support groups are always free and open-to-the-community, because we believe all people with depression should have equal access to information, support and hope.
In 2018, we intend to expand our weekly depression support groups to other Philadelphia neighborhoods, and will train new peer facilitators.  Although a stipend will be provided for weekly materials (printing, copies, etc.), this is a volunteer position. There is no contract of commitment for trained facilitators. However, we ask that you only apply for the training if you can realistically see yourself being available to facilitate two weekly (1.5 hour) support groups per month. 
Spaces are limited; so please contact us for an interview ASAP. We especially want to hear from you if:
·       you are a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)

·       you have lived experience with and/or recovery from depression

Email:  Please include a brief introductory paragraph about yourself, as well your email address, phone number, and best time to reach you. (No phone calls please.)

Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (Pa PSC)
Save the Date for Our 1st Annual Conference

Coming Together:
Creating a Culture of Community
1st Annual Conference
April 6, 2018
9:00am - 4:00pm
Ramada Inn - State College

Click here for poster:

People First Fall 2017

Peer Support Offers New Hope for People with Mental Health Conditions and Criminal Justice Histories - By Elisa Ludwig

Some programs in Pennsylvania provide forensic peer support, in which peer supporters have a history of mental health challenges and, ideally, also have lived experience with the criminal justice system. These programs can be powerfully effective in helping individuals return to life in the community after time spent in jail or prison.

Supported Education Helps Students in Recovery Earn Academic Degrees and Pursue Career Goals - By Elisa Ludwig

Supported education is a critically important set of services to help students succeed in post-secondary schools, from vocational training through graduate programs.

Life with a Semicolon - By Joyce Snyder

“Two years ago, at the age of 47, I got my first tattoo: a green semicolon on the inside of my forearm...A semicolon is used when an author could have ended a sentence but instead chose not to. I am the author, and the sentence is my life.”

(Click here to download)

Communities in Crisis: Local Responses to Behavioral Health Challenges

Hardly a day goes by without a report on the impact of the opioid epidemic or the tragedies that befall individuals with mental illness. Serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUD) are having a devastating and far reaching impact on individuals, families, and communities in the United States, with nearly 10 million adults suffering from SMI1 and 20 million from SUD.

Policymakers in Washington, DC and the states are taking action, enacting legislation, and funding new programs, while the President intends to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency. To read the full report: click here

Pennsylvania Disability Employment and Empowerment Summit (PADES) 2017

PADES 2017 will be bigger, better, and more valuable than ever before! If you are a student or a person with a disability seeking employment, an individual who works with students or people with disabilities seeking employment, or an employer dedicated to inclusion, PADES is for you.

The summit will be held, December 6 and 7 at Valley Forge Event Center in King of Prussia, PA.

If you are interested in participating in the summit as an attendee, job fair participant, or exhibitor and want more information, visit to register by Wednesday, November 22.


Certified Peer Specialist Information Session

Date: December 7, 2017, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location: Community Behavioral Health, 801 Market Street, 11th Floor, Room 1154A

Attendees will learn about:

  • CPS training requirements
  • Certified Recovery Specialist overview
  • Volunteer opportunities with PRO-ACT
  • Mental Health Partnerships
  • Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner requirements

To register click here:


CPS Training for Deaf Individuals

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is recruiting qualified individuals who are deaf, use ASL, are seeking employment and want to take Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) training to learn how to use their personal experience in mental health recovery to help other individuals who are deaf and have mental health needs.

OMHSAS is offering this training opportunity to individuals from other states who are deaf and ASL users and meet their state/territory training requirements to become a CPS. Priority will be given to Pennsylvania residents.

What: Certified Peer Specialist Training for Deaf Individuals who are ASL Users

When: December 4 - 15, 2017

Where:  Hyatt Place, 440 American Ave, King of Prussia, PA 19406

Questions: PJ Simonson at

Registration: email PJ Simonson at and request an application for 'CPS Application for Deaf Candidates'


Wolf Administration Hosts Training to Enhance Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

The Pennsylvania departments of Labor & Industry (L&I), Human Services (DHS), and Education (PDE) in Pittsburgh on Monday continued Experience the Employment Connection (EEC) 2017, a series of statewide collaborative trainings under Governor Wolf’s Employment First initiative. The Employment First initiative underscores the commonwealth’s commitment to helping individuals with disabilities find meaningful, competitive, integrated employment.

Experience the Employment Connection is a series of 15 interagency training sessions across the state of Pennsylvania, designed for public employees to collaborate, share resources, and partner on responsibilities to increase the effectiveness of our state agencies and transform the lives of people with disabilities. Numerous agencies and offices work together to create employment outcomes for individuals in Pennsylvania, and EEC allows for these professionals to pursue a collective approach for the individuals they serve.

EEC 2017 will be held in Washington, October 3; Johnstown, October 5; Altoona, October 6; Norristown, November 1; Philadelphia, November 2; Reading, November 8; and Allentown on November 9. Previous training sessions included York, Harrisburg, Erie, New Castle, DuBois and Williamsport.

More information on this event can be found at EEC 2017 is sponsored through a collaboration of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Office of Developmental Disabilities, including intellectual disability and autism services, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, and the Bureau of Special Education.

Paradigm Scholarship for Working Women

The Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce offers scholarships up to $5000 to working women who are currently enrolled in a two or four year year accredited institution. The qualifications are:

  • A full-time employee, working at least 30 hours per week for a Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce member company
  • Completed at least one full year of college and must be currently enrolled (within the last 18 months) at a two or four year accredited institution working towards an undergraduate degree. Masters and advanced degree candidates are NOT eligible for this scholarship.
  • Have a minimum of five years full-time work experience
  • Hold an exemplary work record
  • Submission of an official copy of your college transcript
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation including one from your supervisor at current employer
  • Submit a 200-word essay on why you should be selected as a recipient of the Paradigm Scholarship for Working Women

The following factors are considered when selecting scholarship recipients:

  • Current enrollment
  • Need
  • Potential for future success 

To apply, please click here.


Celebrating a Decade of Promoting Equitable and Inclusive
Care for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender and Queer Patients
and Their Families

To access the report, please click here.


Pennsylvania Honors Winners of Third Annual Statewide Contest for Artists with a Disability

September 25, 2017 - The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) celebrated the winners of the third annual statewide art contest, “Art: The Universal Language,” during a ceremony and exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda. The statewide contest was open to artists of all ages and disabilities. Artists submitted more than 440 drawings, paintings, photos, 3-D works, and mixed media pieces. The art contest is a collaboration among DHS, The Arc of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association, Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A piece of 3-D work by 12-year-old Johnathan Perry of Cheltenham entitled House of Love and Diversity was named the Best in Show.

Winning entries will be displayed in the rotunda during the ceremony and online here.

The winners in each category are:


Age 12 and under - Tahlulah Sahara Bravo

Age 13 to 17 - Nelisurabe Corona

Age 18 and Older - Kathy Michels   


Age 12 and under - Eleanor DeCoursey

Age 13 to 17 - Nicholas Polaski

Age 18 and Older - David Vasquez, Jr.


Age 13 to 17 - Corey Smith                      

Age 18 and Older - Timothy Pfautz


Age 12 and Under - Johnathan Perry (Best in Show)

Age 18 and Older - Monique Dennis

 Mixed Media / Other

Age 13 to 17 - Newport High School Life Skills Art Students              

Age 18 and Older - Russell Achilles


Law Enforcement—Mental Health Learning Sites Program Seeks Applicants

“In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, The Council of State Governments Justice Center is seeking applicants for the Law Enforcement—Mental Health Learning Sites Program. This program is designed to identify and highlight agencies from across the country with successful police-mental health collaboration programs between the law enforcement and mental health systems that are willing to share their expertise with the field.” Applications are due October 27, 2017. For details, click here. 


What Does It Mean To Be Called “Crazy” in A Crazy World?
Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness by Will Hall reveals the human side of mental illness. In this remarkable collection of interviews and essays, therapist, Madness Radio host, and schizophrenia survivor Will Hall asks, “What does it mean to be called crazy in a crazy world?”
More than 60 voices of psychiatric patients, scientists, journalists, doctors, activists, and artists create a vital new conversation about empowering the human spirit. Outside Mental Health invites us to rethink what we know about bipolar, psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, medications, and mental illness in society.
Free Book Download!
Join Will Hall’s email list and receive an eBook download of Outside Mental Health in mobi, epub, kindle and pdf format!
To receive a free download click here:


CPSs Voices Needed

The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition (PaPSC) and the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) in partnership with the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is forming a statewide workgroup for the purpose of developing a formal certification process for Pennsylvania's Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) under the PCB.  PaPSC is currently seeking CPS applicants interested in serving on the statewide workgroup. 
This initiative is the result of information gathered from a statewide survey, focus groups, statewide teleconferences and feedback from the Mental Health Planning Council. 
The Peer Specialist Certification Workgroup is time ended and will meet in person for three meetings.  The meetings will be held at the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center, 403 East Winding Hill Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.  The meeting dates are: Friday October 13, 2017, Tuesday November 14, 2017 and Tuesday December 12, 2017 from 9:30-3:30.   Workgroup members will be responsible for their own transportation costs and lunch.  Attendance at all three meetings is required with no substitutions.  CPS desiring to be considered for the workgroup should complete the application by clicking the below link:

Applications Due by 9/29/17.

PCB Stakeholder Workgroup Application: Click here


SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) team would like to inform you that the
MFP grantees have started to accept fellowship applications to award fellowship for the 2018-19 academic cycle. 

The MFP seeks to improve behavioral health outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the number of well trained, culturally competent behavioral health professionals available to work in underserved, minority communities. 

Specifically, the program offers scholarship assistance, training and mentoring for individuals seeking degrees in behavioral health who meet program eligibility requirements. 

Please help us by sharing this application table with your colleagues. 

The attached table outlines the fellowship application periods for each of the grantees who are awarded funds to implement the MFP. 

Click here for more information:

DBHIDS, is partnering with Community College of Philadelphia and weighing input from the faith-based community, created the concept of a certificate in Faith and Spiritual-Based Counseling. This certificate is a 45-hour noncredit workshop that gives behavioral health providers and spiritual leaders the skills necessary to help people living with behavioral health challenges from a faith- or spiritually-based perspective. Rather than focusing on any one tradition or philosophy, the Faith and Spiritual-Based Counseling workshop is inclusive. Click here for more information.


Training & Education Center (TEC)

Mental Health Partnership’s
Training & Education Center (TEC)is seeking a person in recovery from
•    bipolar or major depressive disorder
•    and/or borderline personality disorder                                  
to co-facilitate 10-week family skill-building workshops on weeknights

Orientation and Observation this Fall, 2017
(evening, time and location to be determined)

A travel stipend will be offered during orientation and observation of family workshop sessions, then payment for each completed workshop class @ $75 per class, starting spring of 2018        

Please send resume to: IF you have the following qualifications:

•    Access to a car to get to Montgomery, Chester & Phila. County sites

•    Personal lived experience with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and/or borderline personality disorder

•    Appreciation for what family members of people with these disorders experience

•    Belief that recovery goes better when a person’s family learns skills for being supportive and understands these disorders 

•    Experience in training or public speaking

•    Ability to co-facilitate with a therapist and trained family member

Free Expungement Clinics in Philadelphia
Authored By: Community Legal Services of Philadelphia


Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, along with several community partners, will be holding Expungement Clinics in Philadelphia on July 26. If you have a criminal record in Pennsylvania, you may be able to have it expunged or sealed. Volunteers will be available to help you.

When: July 26, 2017
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: Community Legal Services
North Philadelphia Law Center
1410 W. Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140




WHEN: JULY 31, 2017
TIME: 5:30PM - 7:00PM




Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association
Certified Peer Specialist Telecom-2

Let Your Voice be Heard
Certified Peer Specialist Certification

Now is the time to voice where you see Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) certification being located and how it will be defined.
OMHSAS recently proposed that CPS training and certification should go under the Pennsylvania Certification Board for oversight and to provide increased credibility to CPS services.
PMHCA will host a second statewide telecom for CPS's and interested parties.
When:  Tuesday, August 1st, 2017     

Time: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Phone: 1 866 740 1260
Code: 8993898

The information received from this telecom will be shared at the OMHSAS Planning Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, 2017.

Certified Peer Specialist Telecom-1

Let Your Voice be Heard
Certified Peer Specialist Certification

Now is the time to voice where you see Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) certification being located and how it will be defined.
 OMHSAS recently proposed that CPS training and certification should go under the Pennsylvania Certification Board for oversight and to provide increased credibility to CPS services.
 PMHCA will host a second statewide telecom for CPS's and interested parties.
When:  Tuesday, July 25th, 2017    

Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
 Phone: 1 866 740 1260
 Code: 8993898

  The information received from this telecom will be shared at the OMHSAS Planning Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, August 31, 2017.

Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association
4105 Derry Street | Harrisburg, PA 17111
717-564-4930 | 1-800-88PMHCA(76422)


Dr. Mark Salzer and Dr. Gretchen Snethen of the Temple University Collaborative...

discuss the importance of community participation for everyone. To listen click here:


Mental Health Partnerships brings expanded care to tri-state region

The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania has endeavored since 1951 to bolster long-term recovery outcomes for those in need.  A newly announced name change to Mental Health Partnerships speaks, in part, to its expanded reach and ambition.

Joining NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller is Michael Brody, President and CEO of Mental Health Partnerships. Listen to the podcast below by clicking on the link:


Peer Specialists Are Not Clinicians

by Patricia Deegan on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 9:54am
Categories: Opinion Peer Support
Peer Specialists are an emerging workforce in behavioral health. Many Peer Specialists work side-by-side with clinicians on ACT teams, psychiatric rehabilitation programs, CommonGround Decision Support Centers, inpatient units, first episode psychosis teams, integrated health/behavioral health teams, etc. There is no doubt that Peer Specialists have many unique skills that enrich the entire team. However, within these traditional clinical settings, it's not unusual for Peer Specialists to begin to adopt the language and practices associated with the clinical worldview. In other words, over time the work of many Peer Specialists begins to resemble the work of other clinicians on the team.
For full article click here:


Free Movie and Recovery Gathering

Recovery Community Connection and Fire Tree Ltd. are excited to announce a special screening of the Movie: Generation Found. Come out and get involved in the local efforts of The National Recovery Movement!! Please tell your friends! There will be a diaper drive to benefit moms who are new to recovery, food, and a silent auction. Don’t miss this !!

Doors open
 5:30 pm
800 West Fourth Street
Williamsport PA 17701
Thursday July 13, 2017
 Movie Starts at 6pm


Suicide prevention resource for LGBTQ youth

To access the site click here:

DBHIDS Certified Peer Specialist Information Session
When: July 13 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Join us and learn about CPS training requirements Certified Recovery SPECIALISTS (CRS) overview VolunteEr OPPORTUNITIES at PRO-ACT and the Mental Health partnerships (MHP) Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation practitionser (CPRP) certification Contact Cathy Washington for more information at 215-685-5415 or email.

To register:


Against the odds, emergency rooms are getting people into addiction treatment

Gina Marchetti walked into the emergency room to a familiar sight: a patient, just brought back from a heroin overdose by paramedics, sweaty and miserable and hooked up to machines. His mother, on her knees next to her son's bed at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, crying and begging him to get treatment...

Click here to access the full article:


iNAPS 2017 Conference
Call for Proposals
Sheraton Crescent Hotel
Phoenix, Arizona
October 16-18, 2017

The International Association of Peer Supporters is seeking proposals from presenters for the 11th annual international peer support conference. Recovering & Sustaining Peer Support: Creating a Path for Our Future is the theme of this year's conference, which promises to be an exciting and inspiring event.  

The deadline for submissions is June 16th, 2017.  

Submit proposal:


Fairmount Behavioral Health System Behavioral Health Workshops

June 2nd    Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma, Amy Jacob, 6-2-17, 9:30 to 4 pm, Fairmount Behavioral Health System, 561 Fairthorne Ave. Phila., 5 CEU's, $130 pp. lunch included

July 28th   Trauma-Informed Resilience Thinking in Clinical Practice, David Dan, LCSW, 7-28-17, 9:30 to 4 pm, Fairmount Behavioral Health System, 561 Fairthorne Ave. Phila., 5 CEU's, $130 pp. lunch included

NEW    September 22nd   The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, Allison Bressler, MA, Co-Founder, A Partnership for Change,9-22-17, 9:30 to 4 pm, Fairmount Behavioral Health System, 561 Fairthorne Ave. Phila., 5 CEU's, $130 pp. lunch included

NEW  October 13th   The Clinical Application of Neuroscience, Craig Strickland, Ph.D., 9:30 to 4 pm, Fairmount Behavioral Health System, 561 Fairthorne Ave. Phila., 5 CEU's, $130 pp. lunch included,  (more information to follow)

To register:


Peer Support Specialist Certification Survey

The Coalition has this to say:

Let Your Voice Be Heard

In 2011 the process for having a formal credential for PA Certified Peer Specialists through the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) was explored. Due to several reasons it was decided that the timing was not right to follow through with this process at that time. The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition was a part of that conversation.

Following recommendations of the Youth and Young Adult PSS Workgroup in response to the recent expansion of CPS services for Traditional Age Youth and Young Adults, the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is revisiting the topic on certification through the PCB. Once again the Coalition is taking a lead in being a voice for Peer Specialists.

To be clear, no decisions have been made at this point. The Coalition board has not taken a position for or against this proposal. We are in the process of gathering information. OMHSAS has made it clear to the Coalition leadership that they want the Coalition's and its member's feedback. To this end we have developed a survey to gather information from as many CPSs as possible. Please click below to take the survey. Also, please feel free to share this survey widely so that we can get as much feedback from as broad a group of PA CPSs and stakeholders as possible.

In addition to the survey we are planning multiple meetings throughout the state to gather face-to-face feedback as well. Information on these days can be found on our website.

Take the survey:


Introducing a new and exciting training...
Real World School for Certified Peer Specialists
All the Additional Skills Needed to be a Successful Peer Support

Are you a CPS that wants to find out what a CPS job looks like from day to day? Want to see if you
have all the skills you might need? Or, are you an employer looking to provide additional training
to recently hired individuals? The Real World School for Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) can help
you with these things — and much more.
Our two week school is designed to help individuals who are certified as peer supports build upon
the skills learned in the two week certification class. Since 2005 WellSpan Philhaven has provided
community based peer support services in Central Pennsylvania. We have developed a comprehensive
training process that covers a wide base of skills CPSs will need to be successful. Our goal
with this training to is provide support and guidance for other CPSs who are just starting out their
Our two week training will include a wide variety of modules with discussion on topics such as:
* Being Professional * Confidentiality
* Understanding Your Position * Resume Writing, Hiring Process
* Shadowing a CPS * Documentation/Writing a good IRP
* Ethics/Informed Consent * Tricky Issues
* Roles of CPSs— Will include field trips to talk with a CPSs working in these roles
* Meeting Medical Assistance Regulations—Billable time, documentation, etc.
* And so much more...
The first class will be held May 29th—June 9th from 8:00am—12:30pm. (Due to the holiday on
May 28th, the first day of class will be from 8:00am—4:30pm.) The class is limited to 12 students.
We will be meeting at our Harrisburg Office located at 2601 Herr Street, Harrisburg, PA. Cost per
student is $225. This includes all materials and a morning snack.
If you would like to be part of this exciting opportunity or would like additional information please
contact us at:
Kim Maldonado (717) 221-9610 Option 2
Victoria Craig (717) 221-9610 Option 3

For flyer click here:


iNAPS Spring Newsletter 2017

Click here:


Koons Scholarship Application 2017
The Glenn Koons Scholarship Fund Application

The Glenn Koons Scholarship Fund was established to help individuals in mental health recovery with costs associated with Certified Peer Specialist training.
Applications are being accepted for June 2017 scholarship distribution and must be received by May 15, 2017.
To apply online click here:

Print a paper application:


PMHCA to host CPS Pennsylvania Certification Board discussion

We would like to hear your opinion and vision for certification of Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) in Pennsylvania. There was a recent proposal by OMHSAS to have certified peer specialists acquire certification through the Pennsylvania Certification Board to provide increased credibility to CPS services, provide the possibility of reciprocity with some states for transfer of certification and to establish a clear ethics code and oversight of alleged ethical violations.
PMHCA will host a statewide telecom for CPS's and all people interested in peer support in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, April 25, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Call in number: 1-866-740-1260  access code  8993898
Please note pages 3-5 in the attached OMHSAS PowerPoint which was presented at the March 3rd OMHSAS Planning Council meeting.
Aggregated information received from this teleconference will be shared at the OMHSAS Planning Council meeting scheduled

A Conversation with Robert Whitaker
Challenging the Brain-Illness Narrative—Shifting the Paradigm

Wednesday, May 3rd 2017
(doors open at 6:30pm)

Where: Science Center, Room 213
Montgomery County Community College
340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422

Download flyer for the event:

Author of Mad in America, Anatomy of an Epidemic and Psychiatry Under the Influence.
Robert Whitaker is an American journalist and author
who has won numerous awards as a journalist
covering medicine and science, including the George
Polk Award for Medical Writing and a
National Association for Science Writers’
Award for best magazine article. In 1998,
he co-wrote a series on psychiatric
research for the Boston Globe that was a
finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public
Service. Anatomy of an Epidemic won the 2010
Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for
best investigative journalism. He is President of the
non-profit organization Mad in America: Science,
Psychiatry and Social Justice.
All are welcome. No registration necessary.
Contact Mary Fala at 484-681-9432 with any questions. 

Montgomery County Community College is not affiliated with the event and the College should not be contacted regarding the program.

Art: The Universal Language
General Contest Guidelines

 Information and application for the contest:
Individuals with disabilities offer unique, diverse, and valuable perspectives that can benefit all Pennsylvanians. Artistic ability and expression offer unique opportunities for everyone to appreciate and understand the talents and perspectives of Pennsylvanians with a disability. A team of judges including representatives from the sponsoring agencies will recognize winners based on the following criteria: originality, imagination, visual interest, and skillful use of materials. 
This contest is open to any Pennsylvanian with a disability. Contestants are limited to one entry. 
Media Categories
Art must fit into one of the media categories listed below. Artwork must be small enough that winning pieces can be shipped to and from Harrisburg at the artist’s expense and without needing to be assembled. Artworks must weigh less than 10 pounds. 
Painting,  Drawing,  Photography,  3-D,  Mixed Media/Other
Age Divisions
First, second, and third place will be recognized in each media category and in each of the following age divisions. If the artist is under age 18, contest entry requires approval and a signature from a parent or guardian. 
12 and under,  13 to 17,  18 and older
Submissions must be received by Friday, July 14, 2017. First, second, and third place winners in each media category and age division will be notified. The first place winners will be given instructions concerning an awards ceremony to take place this fall in Harrisburg, where the winning pieces will be displayed. 
DO NOT MAIL ORIGINAL ARTWORK. Artists should submit a high resolution image. Acceptable file formats include JPG, 
TIF, PNG, BMP, GIF, and PDF. Acceptable submissions may be in the form of: 
[  a digital image on CD mailed to the address listed below
[  a high resolution photograph mailed to the address listed below, or
[  an attachment sent to the email address listed below. The file may not be larger than four megabytes. 
Failure to follow these instructions may result in disqualification. 
All submissions must be accompanied by the required entry form completed in full. No more than ONE entry per artist, please. Artists agree that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the sponsoring agencies of this art contest have their irrevocable permission to use the submitted artwork for any lawful purpose. Images of artwork and the completed entry form can be emailed to:
or mailed to: 
 Attn: Devon Grant
 625 Forster St.
 Harrisburg, PA 17120


DBHIDS Certified Peer Specialist training applications being accepted april 3-21, 2017; for june 2017 cps class

Do you know someone who has a lived mental health experience who would be an excellent candidate for the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) profession? CPS applications will be accepted from April 3-21, 2017, for the Philadelphia DBHIDS-sponsored CPS Training.

Applications must be submitted by April 21, 2017, at 3 p.m. There will be no exceptions to this deadline.

PLEASE NOTE: April 2017 CPS Training Applications are for June 2017 CPS Training. The 10-day training will occur on June 5-9 and June 19-23. Interviews for this class will take place from May 1–16, 2017.

All attachments must be submitted with a complete application. Please do not submit supporting documents separately or at a later date. Incomplete applications will not be processed. Applications should be submitted by the individual who wishes to apply. Please do not complete applications on someone else’s behalf.

In addition, all applicants must attend a Story-Telling training in order to apply for the CPS training. Applicants should refer to the for Story-Telling trainings open to the public.
For more information click here:



Supporting people in achieving and maintaining recovery takes compassion and skills. With more opportunities for peers to work in a variety of systems and settings, earning the MHA NCPS credential shows that you have the knowledge and skills required to thrive as a peer support specialist.  To apply for the MHA NCPS credential, please download and carefully review the current version of the MHA NCPS Candidate Guide,

For more information click here:


it's true: the sound of nature helps us to relax

To read the article click here:


training: Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Youth: Safety & Support for All

When: Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 
Time: 9:00 to 12:15pm  
Where: BHTEN-520 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA  19123
To register:

montgomery county hearing voices network - Group facilitator training - July 12-14, 2017

Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network and
Creating Increased Connections
Montgomery County Hearing Voices Network
Group Facilitator Training
July 12-14th, 2017

Application: Click here: -
Hearing Voices Movement started in the Netherlands in the late 1980’s promoting a new way of
understanding the voice hearing experience. This new way of approaching living with a hearing voices experience is widely accepted. The Hearing Voices Movement and the representing networks are committed to providing spaces where voice hearers can feel safe to talk about and find meaning in their experience. Today, there are hundreds of hearing voices support groups throughout the world.
The Hearing Voices Movement and MCHVN understand hearing voices as a common human experience. Not all voice hearers experience voices as distressing and a voice hearer does not necessarily carry a diagnostic label or have received formal treatment.
We encourage all interested persons to apply.
We are seeking persons who . . .
1. Self-identify a lived experience of hearing voices – hearing, seeing or sensing things that others
2. Have experience participating in and/or facilitating a mutual aid group, or other group that
promotes wellness and recovery.
3. Have knowledge of the Hearing Voices Movement and that hearing voices is a common human
experience. Possible sources:
a. having attended a training on hearing voices,
b. having attended hearing voices peer support groups
c. self-learning through internet, peers, personal stories or other relevant sources
4. Have intentions to facilitate a hearing voices support group.

When: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, July 12 - 14th, 2017
Where: Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 West Lafayette Street, Norristown, Pa
Submit applications by May 26th, 2017
Please submit to Mary Fala ( or FAX 484-674-7698 or mail to Attn: HVFT,
Creating Increased Connections, 18 E. 4th Street, Bridgeport, Pa 19405)
You will be notified if accepted.
There is no cost for Montgomery County, Pa residents. For those living outside of Montgomery
County, there is a cost of $225.00.
Individuals will be awarded a Certificate of Completion- Montgomery County Hearing
Voices Network Group Facilitator Training.
Please direct questions to either David Son or Mary Fala at 484-681-9432.


OMHSAS Webinar: Overview of Revised Peer Support Services Standards - Youth and Young Adult PSS Implementation And Peer Certification

What:  The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is pleased to host a webinar on the new Peer Support Services (PSS) bulletin and standards, including information on expanding the service to include youth and young adults.  Peer certification will also be discussed.  

The webinar will include:
•    An overview of the new standards
•    Information on expansion of services to youth and young adults to include:

  • employee clearances

    training resources
    other issues
•    Peer Certification
When:  April 4, 2017 from 10:00 to 11:30am

Where:  Webinar - Please register for the webinar by clicking on the link below:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Target Audience: CPS, CPS Supervisors and other interested stakeholders

The be vocal documentary

Meet Jeff, Lauren and Lloyd, three different people who share one common experience—their lives have been transformed by speaking up for mental health. The film provides a glimpse into their lives and their diagnoses—which include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety—ultimately weaving together a story about how speaking up is key to living well. Beyond Silence, directed by Shaul Schwarz and executive produced by Demi Lovato, celebrates the strength, perseverance and dedication of these courageous individuals determined to break through the silence often associated with mental illness and help others along the way.
Click here for more information:


people first - winter 2017 issue

Click here to download and read:


Leadership Training Opportunity in Philadelphia for Anyone with Prior Criminal Justice System Involvement

The training will be on April 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Community College of Philadelphia. The deadline to apply is April 7.
Click here to apply:

Twice weekly yoga classes plus home practice effective in reducing symptoms of depression

People who suffer from depression should participate in yoga and deep (coherent) breathing classes at least twice weekly plus practice at home to receive a significant reduction in their symptoms.
To access article click here:


Certified Peer Specialists in Crisis Services Training

This training was developed collaboratively with the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

June 21 – 23
9am – 4:30pm each day

MHA of Franklin/Fulton Counties
478 Grant Street
Chambersburg, PA 17201

To download the flyer click here:

Cost: $375 (members)
                $450 (non-members)
(does not include meals or hotel costs)

Sponsored by
The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition

Registration Form

CPSs in Crisis Services Training
June 21 – 23

Please Complete all information requested below:

Name: ______________________________________________________________

Job Title/Position: ____________________________________________________

Agency: _____________________________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________

City: __________________________________ State: ________ Zip: ___________

Preferred Phone #: ___________________________________________________

Other Phone #: _______________________________________________________

Email Address: _______________________________________________________

Special Requests: _____________________________________________________


Please submit registration and payment to:
Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition
1653 Lititz Pike #427
Lancaster, PA 17601
☐ Check here for an emailed invoice to pay by credit card through PayPal.
(registration will not be complete until payment is received)
☐ Check here if you have an employer, sponsoring agency or any other entity paying for the training that require an invoice in order to make payment

Training Announcement
Orientation to Medicaid Funded Peer Support Documentation Training
The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition is excited to announce a series of free
Documentation Trainings. These trainings are made possible through a Community
Mental Health Services Block Grant by the Office of Mental Health and Substance
Abuse Services. Here are the dates:
 Pittsburgh: March 28
 Tioga County: April 7
 Scranton: April 28

 Franklin/Fulton: May 5
Participants learn about the purposes of documentation, and examine and learn how
to write a Strength Based Assessment, Individual Service Plan, and Progress Notes.
There is also a section on Collaborative Documentation.

CPSs and CPS Supervisors are
strongly encouraged to attend.
For More Information and to Register:
Visit the Upcoming Continuing Education Trainings page of our website at
For Questions or to Request a Paper Application:
Please contact us at
To download the flyer click here:


2017 Summer Institute on Community Inclusion

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion invites you to join us on campus this summer, July 24th & 25th, in Philadelphia to discuss the state-of-the-science research findings about community inclusion of individuals with mental illnesses.
For more information click here:

OMHSAS Recruiting for MH Planning Council

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services' (OMHSAS) Mental Health Planning Council is currently accepting applications for new members! The Planning Council provides a forum for youth, adults, and family members with lived experience to work side-by-side with advocates, providers, administrators, and OMHSAS leadership to provide recommendations regarding important, statewide policy and programmatic issues.

For more information about the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council, visit or contact  Individuals interested in applying for membership are encouraged to attend the March 2, 2017 meeting of the Mental Health Planning Council in Mechanicsburg, PA.




-Tuesday, March 14, 2017 5:00pm to 7:00pm -  Beckett Life Center 1410 N.16th St. 19121 

-Saturday, March 18th 2017 10:00AM to 1:00PM - The Village of Arts and Humanity 2544 Germantown Ave.19133 

-Saturday, March 25th 2017 10:00AM to 12:30PM - Zion Baptist Church Called to Serve CDC 3600 N. Broad St. Phila.,PA 19140 


Elwyn will be providing the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) on March 20th and 21st.  

The ASIST is an important training resource we want to make available to Delaware County residents.  It is designed to provide the skills needed to help anyone, regardless of formal training or lack thereof, feel ready, willing and able to intervene in a suicide situation.  

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
March 20th to March 21st from 8:30am-4:30pm (registration begins at 8:15am on 3/20)
Cost: $85 (to cover materials and meals) – additional cost if you would like Act 48 or LSW/LCSW/LPC/MFT CEUs    
Held at Elwyn Room 317
111 Elwyn Road, Elwyn, Pa 19063
For more information, go to


Share Your Experiences with Depression in the Workplace

Kayla Weaver, a Penn State graduate student, is conducting a confidential survey examining depression in the workplace.

The study's purpose is to examine work-related experiences of employees with depression, including the decision to disclose depression to others at work. Participants will be asked about their experience as an employee with depression.

To Participate

You must be 18 years or older, employed at least 20 hours/week, and have received a formal diagnosis of depression. All responses will remain confidential.

Complete the survey online:

The online survey takes about 25-30 minutes. Upon completing the survey you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win one of four $25 Amazon gift cards. 

Questions?  Contact Kayla Weaver at for more information.

Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health
People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, according to research by academics at the University of Exeter, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland.
For the full article click here:


alternatives 2017 call for presentations - boston, ma - august 18-21, 2017-building healing communities together

The Alternatives 2017 Conference Committee, which includes consumer/survivor/peer leaders across the nation, is seeking proposals for presentations. We invite everyone to consider becoming a presenter. First-time presenters are especially welcome. Learning from each other is a clear example of self help, mutual support, and the principles of recovery in action!

Each Alternatives Conference offers in-depth technical assistance on peer delivered services and self-help/recovery methods. The Alternatives Conference is interested in including diverse perspectives that will provide critical leadership in the following categories:

Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality
Bridging the Gap Between Mental Health and Substance Use Concerns
Promising Practices in Peer-Run Programs and Peer-Delivered Services
Leadership Development
Healing Through the Arts
Holistic Health, Wellness, and Recovery
Rights Protection
Using Technology in Support of Recovery
Youth and Young Adult
Multigenerational Learning
Economic Health and Recovery
Applications can be completed online or by printing and returning the pdf.

Call for Presentations (PDF, 879KB, 4 pages) Click here:


doors to wellbeing state-by-state peer specialist database

Doors to Wellbeing is proud to announce the Peer Specialist Database - The one place where you can find out how to become a peer specialist in your state.
Click here to access the database:


ground-breaking research on the side effects of therapy

While many people who suffer from depression and anxiety are helped by seeing a psychologist, others don't get better or actually get worse. Psychological treatment can have negative side effects, like any medicine. To read the full story click here:


city of philadelphia - dbhids peer support toolkit

How to Use This Toolkit
The Peer Support Toolkit is an interactive PDF that presents key information in
brief reads, yet preserves your opportunity to delve deeper into subjects—as
your time and interests dictate—with just a click. The interactive format makes it easy to access content in an order that makes sense to you and to skip over content you don’t need in the moment. At the same time, this toolkit retains the essential benefits of a PDF format. For
example, you can share this file by email and print individual pages or the
document as a whole. You can also use the “find/search” feature to search this
toolkit by keyword just as you would any PDF. The toolkit is organized in four modules, each addressing specific implementation issues relevant to agencies in various stages of integrating peersupport services.The toolkit is designed to be downloaded to a device and opened with
Adobe Acrobat. Click here to download:

Please send correspondence about this toolkit to
Module 1:
Module 2:
Interviewing & Hiring
Module 3:
Service Delivery
Module 4:
Supervision & Retention


register now for 2017 papsrs annual conference "pathways to recovery" - may 2-4, 2017

Registration for the 2017 Conference is open on Thursday, February 2nd 2017. 
Early Bird Rates will be in effect from Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 through Wednesday, March 15th, 2017.
Register Today!


register now for wrap around the world conference - sacramento, ca - june 5-7, 2017

Join the Copeland Center, WRAP Facilitators, and others from systems of care around the world to share emerging practices around the Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Network, build skills, learn about current research and innovative programs, and be part of the community!

Register now for the greatest savings!
Conference Only (June 5-7) - Early Bird $375 / Late Registration $450
Conference and WRAP Facilitator Refresher (June 5-9) - Early Bird $750 / Late Registration $850
Conference and Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator Refresher (June 5-9) - Early Bird $850 / Late Registration $950
*Copeland Center Members receive $50 off with a special discount code in the members-only portal. Start or Renew your $35 membership TODAY! 

Register online for conference only or conference + WRAP refreshers
Register Now! Click here:

Holiday Inn Sacramento Downtown - Arena
300 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Limited number of rooms for $119 a night
Book Now! Click here:


Decisions in recovery: treatment for opioid use disorder

Decisions in Recovery: Medications for Opioid Addiction, is a web-based, multimedia tool that is person-centered and focuses on informed treatment choices by persons seeking recovery from an opioid use disorder including the use of medication. The handbook is a companion to the multimedia tool that mirrors the web-based content. Both resources are designed to help people with an opioid use disorder make informed decisions concerning their care. It assists in learning about MAT, compare treatment options to decide what may be best for them and their recovery and discuss their preferences with a provider. To access this free SAMHSA publication click here:


Webinar- Peer-run Organizations Serving People with Behavioral Health Conditions and Criminal Justice Involvement 

The webinar will take place on January 19, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. For more information and to register, click here: The webinar grew out of a recent national survey and the resulting report, entitled “Reentry and Renewal,” which highlights a dozen exemplary peer-run programs that serve individuals with both behavioral health conditions and criminal justice backgrounds, provides recommendations for peer-run programs to improve upon effective supports for individuals with behavioral health conditions, and spotlights needed policy changes and the importance of expanded funding and research. The survey and the document are joint projects of the College for Behavioral Health Leadership’s Peer Leader Interest Group, the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, Mental Health America, and the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion. To download the free report, click here:


pa department of human services - office of mental health & substance abuse services bulletin-omhsas 16-12 - Issue date december 12, 2016

 The purpose of this bulletin is to: 

1.  Announce that peer support services may now be provided for youth who are 14 years
of age and older with serious emotional disturbance; and  

2.  Issue revised provider handbook pages that contain service guidelines, prior approval
procedures, and billing instructions as well as other information necessary for the
provision of and payment for PSS.   

To download a copy click here:


provider handbook for psychiatric and partial hospitalization services

To access the handbook click here:


facing addiction in america: the surgeon general's report on alcohol, drugs, and health

This Surgeon General’s Report has been created because of the important health and social problems associated with alcohol and drug misuse in America. As described in this Report, a
comprehensive approach is needed to address substance use problems in the United States that includes several key...

To access the report click here:


prevention and early intervention B4Stage4: The state of mental health america 2016 by mental health america

This report is a collection of data across all 50 states and the District of Columbia that answers the following questions:

  • How many adults and youth have mental health issues?
  • How many adults and youth have substance abuse issues?
  • How many adults and youth have access to insurance?
  • How many adults and youth have access to adequate insurance?
  • How many adults and youth have access to mental health care?
  • Which states have higher barriers to accessing mental health care?

To access the report click here:


Community inclusion: from the perspective of caregivers of people with psychiatric disabilities by Mental Health America (MHA) and the Temple University Collaborative for Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities (TU Collaborative

This monograph highlights and expounds upon the views expressed in a 2016 survey of almost 500 caregivers of people with mental health conditions...

Click to view: [Open in new window][Copy to clipboard]
Or, give your recipients confidence with a preview TinyURL:
[Open in new window]


andre slater at ejp symposium on higher education in prison 2014 for education justice project


MSNBC takes a long look at the cycle of poverty in Philadelphia

The network's Geography of Poverty series reports on how the criminal justice system has kept many Philadelphians trapped in the cycle of poverty.


First friday series Moved to november 22: building informed and inter-connected peer support communities

Register here:


trauma: a neglected US Public health emergency

In the USA, the leading cause of death in those younger than 45 years is trauma, accounting for over half of deaths in that age group. Trauma costs the USA up to US$600 billion each year and yet despite these sobering figures this epidemic goes largely unrecognised...


Wellways Well Together

In Spring 2016, The Temple Collaborative spent a week in Australia bringing one of that nation’s major community mental health providers – Wellways – up-to-date on the emerging research findings and best practices models to promote community inclusion for individuals with mental health conditions. To inform its ongoing initiative to transform services in Melbourne, Tasmania, and Canberra into a ‘next generation’ provider and advocacy organization, Wellways funded the Collaborative to develop agency-specific products and trainings. These trainings and products offered a current look at the fundamental principles of community inclusion and implementation strategies that help make engagement in community life a reality for those living with mental health conditions.Click here to download:

Helping doctors help Pa. kids without over reliance on psychiatric drugs
After two years of progress reducing how often Pennsylvania kids on Medicaid are prescribed psychiatric medications, the state is offering a hotline to ensure psychiatrists, therapists, and care coordinators can call for a second more
Forensic Peer Specialist Survey for those who have completed the Forensic Peer Specialist training in the state of PA
Dear Peer Specialists with training in Reentry and Justice Involved Peers,

I am writing to request your participation in a brief survey. We are interested in learning more about the status of Forensic Peer Support in Pennsylvania. If you have participated in Forensic Peer Specialist training (or similar training) in the past, we would very much appreciate your participation!

You will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of several $50 gift cards!

The survey is brief and will only take about 15 minutes to complete. Please click the link above to go to the survey website (or copy and paste the link into your internet browser).

Survey link:

Your participation in the survey is completely voluntary and all of your responses will be kept confidential. The Northeastern University Institutional Review Board has approved this survey. Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at .

Please feel free to pass this along to other individuals who have completed Forensic Peer Support training in Pennsylvania.

Thank you very much for your time and cooperation. Your responses are very important!

Wallis Adams, MPH
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
National Health Insurance Survey - Early Release Program
Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2015

This report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) presents selected estimates of health insurance coverage for the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population based on data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), along with comparable estimates from the 2010–2014 NHIS. Estimates for 2015 are based on data for 103,798 persons.
Six Key Questions Counties Should Ask Themselves to #StepUp4MentalHealth
With more people with mental illnesses in jails than ever before—the majority of whom are not a public safety risk—county leaders across the country have united around a central realization: Jails can no longer be used as de facto psychiatric facilities...
Blueberries may offer benefits to post-traumatic stress disorder
For many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), available medical treatments offer only limited relief. In a series of studies conducted in rats, researchers have found that eating blueberries...
Uses and abuses of recovery: implementing recovery-oriented practices in mental health systems
An understanding of recovery as a personal and subjective experience has emerged within mental health systems. This meaning of recovery now underpins mental health policy in many countries. Developing a focus on this type of recovery will involve transformation within mental health systems...
16 Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers are coming to Pennsylvania
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced the selection of 16 locations to participate in the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) planning grant. The federal grant encourages states to adopt innovative approaches to community-based behavioral health services. “We are continually striving to serve more Pennsylvanians in the community and to ensure each member of the commonwealth has access to high-quality care. This critical initiative brings us one step closer to achieving both of those goals,” said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “Each of the selected clinics possesses the skills necessary to make the significant changes we’re working towards in transforming behavioral health services across Pennsylvania.”
World Happiness Report Volume 1
The first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012, in support of the High Level Meeting at the United Nations on happiness and well-being, chaired by the Prime Minister of Bhutan. Since then we have come a long way. Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy. This is the fourth World Happiness Report... Click here for "World Happiness Report Volume 1"
Peer Specialist Career Development Experiences Survey
Are you a Peer Specialist or Peer Support Worker? MHASP is co-sponsoring a national survey with the University of Illinois at Chicago. Please follow this link to participate with your fellow peers!!!
Click here
Over the course of four weeks in early 2016, four individual conversations were held across Pennsylvania with youth and young adults, parents and family members, service providers, and Certified Peer Specialists (CPS). Conversations were held in Philadelphia (January 22nd), Bellevue (February 4th), Scranton (February 10th), and State College (February 17th) with a total of 98 participants (n= 21, 24, 26, and, 27 respectively).
CPS for Youth and Young Adult World Cafes - Click here for report
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with over 2.4 million people currently behind bars. Poor people and people of color are incarcerated at vastly disproportionate rates. Many prisoners are held in solitary confinement or denied adequate medical care and educational opportunities, and few resources are invested in reentry or community programs. AFSC Friends Relations is piloting a program called Quaker Social Change Ministry. Read more about this important initiative here: 5 things your congregation can do to support criminal justice reform

Position Statement: HR 2646 “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis”

The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP), founded in 1951, works to promote groundbreaking ideas and create opportunities for resilience and recovery by applying the knowledge learned from the people we support, employ, and engage in transformative partnerships. MHASP provides service to more than 4,000 people with mental health conditions and their families annually and employs more than 250 people. 
A piece of legislation recently re-introduced by Representative Tim Murphy, HR 2646 the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act” contains a number of concerning provisions we feel would have serious consequences for our mental health system. As such, MHASP remains opposed to HR 2646. 
We are particularly concerned by the following components of this legislation:
1)    Assisted Outpatient Treatment or Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: This legislation provides significant financial incentives tied to block grant funding to encourage states to implement Involuntary Outpatient Commitment or AOT. AOT adds layers of bureaucracy, is coercive, and violates individual liberties. It compels a person to choose between taking medication and receiving treatment, or involuntary commitment and/or jail time. Coercive treatment alienates people from engaging in voluntary treatment. They subsequently delay necessary help, making it more likely they will need more expensive crisis and hospitalization services. It is much more effective to welcome people into the mental health system via proven engagement services such as peer and early intervention services and family support education programming.

2)    The Dismantling of SAMHSA: This bill would dismantle SAMHSA and transfers its authorities to a new Assistant Secretary for Mental Health in the Department of Health and Human Services. Our primary concern is how little focus this office would have on recovery oriented practices and peer (people with lived experience of mental illness who have use the mental health system to stay well) and family leadership. SAMHSA is excellent at involving stakeholders and allowing them to direct the system. The language in this bill clearly outlines an office that would focus almost entirely on the voice of medical professionals. While MHASP supports the inclusion of all types of professionals, one of the most positive elements of SAMHSA is its focus on making sure services are informed by the people and families that use them effectively. This bill robs those stakeholders of their seat at the table. 

3)    Restriction of the PAIMI Programs: PAIMI stands for Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness. The PAIMI programs have been working to protect the human and civil rights of people with mental health conditions since 1986. In the last version of the bill, PAIMI programs had their funding reduced by 85%, rendering them nearly useless. The current bill would greatly restrict the work of the PAIMI programs by barring them from any advocacy programming and requiring their work to focus solely on individual abuse and neglect cases. This would rob thousands of individuals with mental health conditions of access to legal services when faced with housing or employment discrimination and would rob our system of high quality advocates who can work on the systemic problems that deny individuals the opportunity to access effective mental healthcare in their communities.

4)    Lifting the IMD Exclusion: HR 2646 would lift the institutions for mental diseases exclusion in Medicaid. Lifting the IMD Exclusion will result in a far more hospital driven system and divert resources from community based care. The legislation states there is a requirement to be budget neutral. However, in our experience, governments are often not required to prove budget neutrality in a meaningful way.

5)    Peer Specialist Requirements: MHASP has been a leader in the development and dissemination of peer based services since the 1980’s. As such, we have a thorough understanding of the unique strengths and needs of the peer workforce. This bill has language that would require peer specialists to be supervised by a mental health clinician. MHASP successfully provides many peer services without the direct supervision of a licensed mental health professional. 

HR 2646 would undermine the role and expertise of peers by codifying the assumption that they are incapable of practice without a “professional” supervising them. In fact, we find them more than capable.  Many individuals engage with peer supporters because they are uncomfortable working with traditional mental health professionals precisely because they have had negative experiences with coercive treatment models like AOT. Adding an unnecessary requirement for supervision would not only drive up costs within the system, but it would undermine the quality of peer support that makes it so effective.

Please Support a Community Based System of Care, Oppose HR 2646
MHASP appreciates that Congressman Brady has not co-sponsored this potentially damaging legislation. We ask that Congressman Brady consider working with his colleagues in congress to oppose this bill until the detrimental provisions listed above are removed. 
For further information, please contact Alyssa Schatz, Director of Advocacy at 267-507-3816 or or Adam Nester, Public Policy Manager at 267-507-3193 or Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.