**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.

Nominate a Peer Worker for National Council for Behavioral Health Award of Excellence!

Are you a health care hero or do you know someone who is?

The National Council for Behavioral Health is looking for people, groups, and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions – through treatment, advocacy, leadership, management, and technology.

If you would like to submit a nomination, please use the newly streamlined form here, by Monday, January 7, 2019.

They are looking for nominations of exceptional individuals in the behavioral health settings, including Peer Support Workers.

Nominate yourself or a colleague, register for NatCon19, and grab your seats for the Awards of Excellence celebration, Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in beautiful and historic Nashville.

The Awards of Excellence will have it all – golden trophies, heartfelt speeches and top-notch entertainment. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

2019 Suicide Prevention Conference

May 1-2, 2019

Best Western Premier, Harrisburg, PA

Proposals for presentations are being considered through January 18, 2019. Read the request for proposal here.

If you have any questions, email info@preventsuicidepa.org.

Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) Launch Announcment

On behalf of Governor Wolf’s Unified Opioid Command Center, I would like to let you know of a new online tool launching to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and supportive services for themselves or a loved one.

A team comprised of staff from the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Human Services worked together to create the Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) to centralize the ways to connect a person to drug and alcohol treatment as well as related support resources. The DART can be found at www.ddap.pa.gov/GetHelpNow.

The DART is a free, anonymous resource. Results are generated based on a person’s answers to the nine (9) questions included, and users may skip a question at any point. When they finish the questionnaire, they will be able to email, download, and/or print their results. The tool is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs listed in a person’s results.

Thank you for your continued support as we help Pennsylvanians affected by substance use disorder.


Lynn Kovich, Deputy Secretary
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Department of Human Services 

Safety Not Stigma: Reframing the Way We Talk about Guns and Violence

Hosted by Mental Health America’s Regional Policy Council (RPC)
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
2:00 pm Eastern time/11:00 am Pacific time

Media coverage of gun violence often misrepresents the linkage to mental illness in ways that contribute to stigma against those living with mental illnesses. Emerging practices and policies are creating a different reality “on that ground,” one that has the potential to unite - not divide - the mental health community and the gun-owning community.

This webinar will explore the following:

  • Guns and suicide: the real intersection of gun violence and mental illness;

  • Partnering with the gun-owning community to promote safety; and

  • Public policy that reduces suicide by firearms while respecting rights of responsible gun owners.

Speakers include:

  • Shel Gross, Director of Public Policy for Mental Health America of Wisconsin

  • Jean Papalia, Madison Police Department, Retired

Thank you for joining us for this special opportunity to learn more about violence, mental illness, and responsible ownership of guns.

Click here to register

National Peer Specialist Registry

Doors to Well Being, National Technical Assistance Center, and the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNAPS), with the support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA), have launched a National Peer Specialist Registry. Peers from around the country can now sign up to demonstrate their training and connect with potential employers and other peers. National Certified Peer Specialists (NCPSs) can list and be found by their credential.

Add your name today!

If you are looking to hire peer specialists, check out the National Peer Specialist Registry’s growing list of peers by location, expertise, and experience.

OMHSAS Mental Health Training Survey - Serving Transgender/Non Conforming Individuals

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be making training available to county staff and providers in 2019 to enable their mental health services to better meet the needs of individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming. There will be both online and in-person opportunities with at least one in-person training targeted to each OMHSAS Region. 

The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is partnering with OMHSAS to develop this training specific to the needs of our mental health system. In order to ensure they appropriately meet staff needs, they have created a survey to gather feedback. If you would like to provide your input, the survey will be open through December 20, 2018. 

Survey link: https://redcap.chop.edu/surveys/?s=DPK8NJ93YK

An Update on General Assistance from Richard P. Weishaupt, Senior Attorney at Community Legal Services

It is with great thanks that I can say that Pennsylvania has reinstated the General Assistance program.  As you may recall, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously held that Act 80, which eliminated the GA program, had been enacted in a manner that violated the Pennsylvania Constitution.  It has taken several months for the state to revise their computer programs and retrain their staff, but they have been accepting applications while they were reprogramming.  Finally, eligible Pennsylvanians began getting benefits today, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Payments began being authorized beginning Monday, 11/19, and benefits began appearing on people’s Access Cards today, the morning of 11/20.  We began getting reports of this happy news a few hours later.  We have been told that the process of granting benefits to the folks who have already applied will continue for the next few days.  Initial payments should be completed by the end of November.  People who finished their applications a month ago will get a month of benefits ($205 in most counties, including Philadelphia and Allegheny County) while others who finished the application and turned in all of the needed paperwork in August or September will get more.  Those who only recently applied will get less.

People whose applications have been approved will be sent a notice starting around 11/20 saying they are eligible and should check to see if there are benefits on their Card.  If they don’t have an EBT Access Card, they should contact the CAO to get one, but anyone with food stamps should already have one.  People who are approved for GA and already have Medicaid but not Food Stamps will need to get a new card from the CAO. 

Here are the numbers we have received from the Department: As of last Friday (11/9) 2458 people have been found eligible and their payments will be issued this week and next week. 

Another 6049 cases are pending, meaning something else needs to happen – they need to provide verification, including Employability Assessment Forms (EAF) and/ or they may need to be interviewed. They should check their mail or contact the Department if it is not clear what they need to do.  They can check on the status of their cases by going to the County Assistance Office or by calling the Customer Service Center (215-560-7226 for Philadelphia, and 1-877-395-8930 for the rest of the state) . 

13,748 people have been found ineligible – we’re not sure why.  They may not have submitted verification or kept an appointment or who knows what.  They should have gotten or will soon get a letter saying why they were turned down.  They can appeal within 30 days of the date of the turn down.  They can also try to fix the problem by bringing in the needed verification or asking for an appointment.  Under Department rules they can “refresh” their application within 60 days but they will only get benefits back to the day that they provide needed verification or complete their interview.  In either case they should act quickly.  People who live in Philadelphia can contact Community Legal Services (215-227-2400) or Philadelphia Legal Assistance (215-981-3800) for help. People who live in other counties can contact their local legal aid program for help—information is available at https://palegalaid.net.

More detailed information and copies of Departmental policy can be found on the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia website.  www.clsphila.org/GA .  A copy of the most recent DHS policy will be on the CLS webpage shortly.

Richard P. Weishaupt

Senior Attorney

Community Legal Services, Inc.

The 2019 PAPRS Scholarship Application is Now Open!

Applications for the 2019 Conference in State College will be accepted until December 28, 2018.

These scholarships are for registration only to attend the PAPRS conference. Scholarships do not cover lodging, travel, or any other costs.

Submitting this application does not guarantee receipt of a scholarship.

If you are awarded a scholarship and then find you cannot attend, you must notify PAPRS so that the scholarship can be given to someone else. Failure to register and attend the conference, without notifying PAPRS, may disqualify you from receiving future scholarships.

Click here to access the application

Contact Tricia Fisher, Education Manager with questions at tricia.fisher@paprs.org or 717-655-7662

Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

As part of Google's commitment to the community, they have partnered with Lime Connect, a nonprofit organization that supports students with disabilities while they pursue education and promising careers, to help university students with disabilities work toward their academic goals in the field of computer science.

Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2019-2020 school year and will be invited to attend the Google Scholars’ Retreat in the summer of 2019.

For more information visit Lime Connect.

Temple University Collaborative introduces #CollabChats Podcast Series!

The Temple University Collaborative is excited to introduce their new podcast, Collab Chats! Collab Chats is a podcast series from the Collaborative that highlights center research projects and community inclusion research from other Rehabilitation and Research Training Centers.

For their first episode, they sat down with their director, Dr. Mark Salzer. In the podcast, they talk with Mark about the fundamentals of community inclusion, what providers can do to implement community inclusion in their programs, the history of the Collaborative, and what the future holds for the Collaborative. Listen on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Youtube or listen on their podcast page at: http://tucollabchats.org

Full transcript available at: http://www.tucollaborative.org/sdm_downloads/collab-chats-e1-dr-mark-salzer-transcripts/

Peerpocalypse 2019 is now accepting workshop proposals!

Peerpocalypse 2019 planning is underway! Workshop proposals are now being accepted. Have an innovative idea to share with others? Submit a proposal! 

Deadline for submissions is November 9th at 11:59 PM.

The event will take place on May 20th to May 23rd at the Salem Convention Center in Salem, Oregon.

Click here to submit a proposal or here for early registration.

To learn more about Peerpocalypse, please visit the website here.

Pennsylvania’s Dual Diagnosis Conference 2018: Broadening Understanding, Strengthening Support

The Office of Developmental Programs and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services are pleased to announce a statewide conference focused on Building Capacity to better support individuals with complex needs in the community.

Conference will be held at the Blair County Conference Center in Altoona, PA on November 13 through 15th, 2018.

Read more here.


Mental Health America Presents: Your 2018 Mental Health Voter Guide

This November, vote with mental health in mind. 

Do you know your candidates' plans to protect access to mental health care?

Changes in health care and voting laws are happening at the state and federal levels, making it more important than ever for the mental health community to be involved in this year’s election.

Mental Health American prepared this voter guide to help people affected by mental health and substance use conditions feel empowered and able to vote; that candidates at the federal, state, and local levels are hearing the concerns of the mental health community; and that all voters are encouraged to vote with mental health in mind this November.

This guide includes:

  • Voter Registration Information

  • A “November Elections Action Checklist”

  • Questions for Town Hall & Candidate Forums

  • Relevant Websites & Additional Resources

  • Review of Party Platforms

  • And Much More!

Click here to download the 2018 Mental Health Voter Toolkit.


Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities Announces Funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and a 5-year research plan

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion has received funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research for another five years (2018-2023) as a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on independent living and community participation of individuals with a serious mental illness. During the next five years, Temple Investigators will partner with experts from Live and Learn Inc,, the University of South Florida, and the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery to achieve their mission of conducting research that identifies factors and interventions that enhance community inclusion and promotes opportunities for people with mental health issues to fully participate in their communities as active and equal members. This work supports United States laws and policies, especially those associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Supreme Court Olmstead Decision.

To read the full announcement with more information on what we will be doing in the next five years visit: http://www.tucollaborative.org/temple-university-collaborative-receives-funding/


Applications are Being Accepted NOW for General Assistance
On July 18, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted 7-0 to repeal Act 80 which eliminated General Assistance in 2012. This cash assistance program provides a minimal income support for individuals with serious disabilities, people fleeing domestic violence, and individuals in active drug treatment for limited periods of time -- which includes many in the communities that we all serve. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services issued a memo stating that General Assistance applications are being accepted as of Monday, August 13.
This victory is the result of your advocacy! Six years ago, Gov. Corbett proposed eliminating Pennsylvania's General Assistance program, the sole source of income for 70,000 people with disabilities. Although thousands of people, including many from your organizations, rallied against the cuts, the bill, Act 80, passed at the last minute... and by just one vote. 
On behalf of a few strong women who had lost their GA plus half a dozen community organizations, Community Legal Services filed a lawsuit, along with Disability Rights Pennsylvania and several private attorneys. In July, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court held unanimously that the statute was unconstitutional. 
Now what?

  1. Tell people to go apply NOW – instructions are located here: www.dhs.pa.gov/citizens/cashassistance/generalassistance and www.clsphila.org/ga. Checks will be issued sometime in September and will be prorated based on when the application is complete so encourage as many people to apply as soon as possible.

    Community Legal Services has posted information about who is eligible for GA and what documents individuals will need to provide when they apply. CLS’s website also has more information about the lawsuit and links to some of the legal documents. The web page is at www.clsphila.org/GA. There is also a one-page flyer regarding General Assistance at the bottom of the webpage that that you can print and share with people in your organization. We suggest bringing that flyer with you to the welfare office.

  2. Has your organization signed the PA Budget and Policy Center letter celebrating this Supreme Court decision, reaffirming our support for the General Assistance program, and signing up to get more information? You can sign it here: https://goo.gl/forms/MBzI0TUARInyx5Wu2


Temple University Collaborative Unveils Training Guide for The Role of Peer Specialists in Disaster Preparation

Individuals with mental health conditions are as likely to be caught up in natural or man-made disasters as anyone else. Disasters—earthquakes or floods, shootings or riots, or other such natural or man-made events—often have terrible practical and emotional impacts, which can be minimized if people are adequately prepared: if they have thought ahead about what they can do, what they will need, and how they can respond if they are unlucky enough to face a disaster. This document is designed to help peer specialists support individuals with mental health conditions to prepare strategies to meet their needs should a disaster strike. Download the guide here.


La Salle Department of Social Work 2018-2019 Continuing Education Series (CEU)

La Salle Departmet of Social Work is offering several Continuing Education opportunities from September 2018 to February 2019. For a list of trainings and information about location, cost, and payment, please see the flyer here.


Mental Health America Presents: #MyStoryMyWay Minority Mental Health Month

Why are the topics of mental health and mental illness not regularly talked about in diverse groups of people, such as people of color, LGBT+ individuals, and refugee and immigrant communities?

Could it be that mental illness doesn’t occur in these communities and among its varied people?

Of course not. Mental illness can occur in all people and across all communities.

Through our 2017 Minority Mental Health Month campaign, #NotACharacterFlaw, we asked the question: How does your community talk about mental health or mental illness?

The answer most people came to, was clear – we don’t talk about these issues.

However, we believe and know that people do talk about these issues, but they express themselves differently. The phrases and expressions that people use to talk about these issues oftentimes never touch on terms like “mental health” or “mental illness.”

The fact is - the way in which individuals talk or don’t talk about mental health and mental illness is influenced directly by the society and culture that a person is a part of. The way we talk about these issues is a learned behavior.

That’s why, this year, we are focusing on highlighting and validating the voices and experiences of individuals from across a range of communities through our #MyStoryMyWay campaign.

We want to listen and learn from you as you help to shed light on the way diverse communities (i.e. people of color, LGBT+, refugee and immigrant communities) perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness.

Click here to learn more about how you can get involved with #MyStoryMyWay!


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.


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:


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