**Certified Peer Specialists Recognized with Full Certification Process**

For Current CPS - Important Information - Time Sensitive

 To more formally recognize the value of peers in the workforce, Pennsylvania is moving to a new full peer certification offered by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB). This new formal certification will be necessary to provide Medicaid billable peer support services. To make this transition as easy as possible for current Pennsylvania Peer Specialists, there will be a time-limited grandparenting process for those who wish to obtain the new full certification during the grandparenting period.  

The grandparenting period begins March 1, 2018 and ends August 31, 2019.

Please view the webinar here for an in-depth description of the grandparenting process and click here to access the application. If you need to replace your original certificate from the Institute for Recovery, please fill out the form here.


Poor People's Campaign - Stand Against Poverty Mass Rally & Moral Revival

In the face of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy/militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism — we must engage in mass nonviolent moral direct action. We must declare that we won’t be silent anymore about the war on the poor! On Saturday, June 23 the Campaign will head to the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the Stand Against Poverty Mass Rally & Moral Revival capping off our #40DaysOfAction and launching the next phase of our movement for the long-haul.

For details on this event, click here. To learn more about the Poor People's Campaign, click here.


City Moves People Out of Encampments

The city of Philadelphia moved individuals experiencing homelessness from encampments in Kensington on Wednesday, May 30th, as part of a program to fix the area's opioid epidemic. Click here for news coverage on the subject from NBC10.


Treating the Whole Person: State hospital patients take pride in greenhouse work

The greenhouse at Clarks Summit State Hospital hosted a spring sale just in time for Mother's Day. It boasted a variety of annuals, perennials, vegetables, and herbs. The majority of those offerings were grown from seed by patients at the hospital.

Judy Holland, occupational therapy supervisor at the hospital, says the sale - which has been taking place for five years now - is always well-attended because "our plants are so healthy and grown without pesticides, and also because our local community likes to show support for this positive, local gardening program."

The program is facilitated on the hospital's campus by occupational therapists, who oversee and assist patient gardeners five days per week, in the mornings and afternoons.

"Patients are extremely proud of the work they do in the greenhouse," Holland says. "Their hard work and dedication results in a beautiful end product, something that is valued by others."

On Fridays, herbs and vegetables are sold at an on-campus farmers market for staff. Patients prepare recipe cards that highlight what is being sold, which are given out with each purchase.

Holland says the group of gardeners is excited about a new, large garden patch they will break ground on this month. There, they plan to grow pumpkins, corn, and sunflowers.


Certified Peer Specialist Information Session

July 26, 2018 9:00am - 12:00pm

Community Behavioral Health

801 Market Street, 11th Floor, Room 1154A

 Session topics:

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

To register, click here.

For more information, call Cathy Washington at 215-685-5415.


Webinar: Certified Employment Support Professional Certification and Credentialing.

The Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL) is offering webinars on July 9 and 10 on the Certified Employment Support Professional ( CESP) certification/credentialing. The growth in the number of individuals seeking CESP certification demonstrates the increased demand for training and consultation to educate and certify employment support professionals.

Click here to learn more and for registration.


2018 Mental Health Awareness Day

Mental Health Awareness Day is fast approaching, and on behalf of the Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the PA System of Care Partnership, you are cordially invited to attend the 2018 Mental Health Awareness Day, held on May 9, 2018, in the Strawberry Square Atrium. The event will start at 10:30 am and last until 1:30 pm, and will be located at 320 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101.

The event will have display tables and information, and speakers to bring awareness to mental health recovery through the idea that “We are Better Together: Partnering for Health and Hope”.


Pennsylvania mental Health Consumers' Association: Hearing Distressing Voices, A Simulcast Training

Thursday, May 10th, 9:30am -12:30pm

Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association (PMHCA) Office
4105 Derry Street, Harrisburg PA

Developing Empathy for the Lived Experience of Psychiatric Disability: A Simulation of Hearing Distressing Voices is a free 3-hour workshop developed by Pat Deegan, PhD. 

Learn more and how to register.


Live Well Foundation's 2017 Annual Report

LiveWell Foundation is a Philadelphia, PA based organization dedicated to ensuring that all people with depression have equal access to information, support and hope, LWF's innovative community based programs are always FREE and open to the public. Click here to view the report:


2018 Glenn Koons Certified Peer Specialist Scholarship

The Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association (PMHCA) and Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania (MHAPA) are now accepting applications for the 2018 Glenn Koons Scholarship. Glenn, a well-respected Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), guided many people through mental health recovery before his untimely death in 2011. He brought hope and smiles to everyone he encountered. The scholarship honors his life and work by supporting others who want to provide peer support.

Each year,  a $1,000 scholarship is awareded to a promising Pennsylvania candidate for CPS training who demonstrates the ability to engage people, share life experiences in recovery, provide leadership, and teach others these skills. Read about past recipients.
To apply for the 2018 scholarship, complete the online application or use the paper application and mail it to the address on the application. The deadline for submitting applications is May 11, 2018.

PMHCA and MHAPA rely on the generosity of individuals and organizations like you to make this annual scholarship possible. Donate online or by check made payable to Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association, 4105 Derry Street, Harrisburg, PA 17111, Attn: Glenn Koons Scholarship.

Join the list of generous donors who have made a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of people in mental health recovery!

Contact Samantha Harkins717-564-4930, with questions or for more information.


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 healthjusticephl.eventbrite.com.


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: https://goo.gl/BpsThq

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: https://copelandcenter.com/peer-specialists


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: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207092804.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmind_brain%2Fmental_health+%28Mental+Health+News+--+ScienceDaily%29


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: goo.gl/pzmlZM

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


provider handbook for psychiatric and partial hospitalization services

To access the handbook click here: goo.gl/ijxOX8


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.



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...
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 agoodin@mhasp.org or Adam Nester, Public Policy Manager at 267-507-3193 or anester@mhasp.org. Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.