**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.

BHARP Leader in Youth: Third Annual Summer Youth Conference: Empowering Youth to Become Leaders in Their Own Lives

August 7, 2019 9-4 pm Ramada Hotel State College, PA

Registration Information No registration fee. A light breakfast and lunch provided.

To register call 1-570-917-3475 by July 30th, or email: carolyn11913@gmail.com.

Do You Supervise Peer Support Workers? Then Researchers Have Some Questions for You

Researchers in the University of South Florida’s Department of Psychiatry and at Magellan Health are investigating the backgrounds, training, and experiences of individuals who currently supervise at least one peer support worker in a behavioral health setting or agency.

Click here to take survey.

Beyond Twelve Steps, Peer-Supported Mental Health Care

Like a ghost town of psychiatry’s past, the abandoned buildings on the old campus of Central State Hospital, in Milledgeville, Georgia, tell a story of pain and progress. Patients once arrived by train at the small Victorian-style depot (now being repurposed into a museum) and checked in at the Powell Building, which mimics a capitol with its white brick, stately columns, and black dome and cupola. When Cathy Wrighton worked there in...To read the full article click here.

Suicide Prevention Task Force

Governor Tom Wolf announced a first-of-its-kind, statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force to develop the state’s suicide prevention plan, a long-term strategy to reduce suicide in Pennsylvania, and let Pennsylvanians in crisis know their lives are valuable and help is available. The announcement was made by various state agencies that will be represented on the task force, Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Prevent Suicide PA.

It is vital that people with lived experience with mental health recovery and/or who have survived suicide attempts participate in this task force. To apply, get more information or to be added to the task force email distribution list, please email Caitlin Palmer, caipalmer@pa.gov, special adviser.

Certified Recovery Specialist - 10 Day Specialized Training

This training prepares individuals to obtain the credential that recognizes the work of recovering individuals in the provision of recovery support services in assisting others in accessing and sustaining recovery from Substance Use Disorders. Participants will receive 54 hours of education in the following domains:

* 18 hours in Recovery Management

* 12 hours in Education and Advocacy

* 12 hours specific to the field of addiction

* 6 hours in Professional Ethics

Dates: June 3-7, 2019 & June 10-14, 2019

Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm (lunch is provided)

Location: Philadelphia Recovery Center 1701 W. Lehigh Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19132

No Cost to Attend - thanks to DBHIDS scholarships

For more information contact: Melissa Groden - mgroden@councilsepa.org

Click here to view flyer

Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator Training for PA Residents

Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator training is all about how to train and prepare WRAP® Facilitators. It is a workshop for experienced facilitators with an in-depth knowledge and thorough mastery of both WRAP and facilitation skills. Certified Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators go out into their communities knowing that they possess the skills and knowledge to train others to do this work faithfully and in a manner that is consistent with the curriculum, values and ethics, and practices of WRAP Facilitator Training.

The qualities that the Copeland Center is looking for in Advanced Level WRAP® Facilitator applicants are:

  • Experience- Applicants have completed a minimum of 5 independent WRAP groups, Mental Health Recovery and WRAP presentations, and/or supported individuals in writing their own WRAP

  • Growth as a facilitator as demonstrated through evaluations

  • Motivation- Applicants are highly motivated

  • Committed to the 5 Key Concepts of Recovery - hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, and support

  • Dynamic presentation and facilitation skills

  • Demonstrated commitment to the values and ethics of WRAP

  • Have a thorough knowledge of all parts of mental health recovery and WRAP

To apply, you are asked to submit an online application. Please prepare your materials before beginning the application.

The online application asks for:

  • Biographical information

  • Training history including most recent WRAP Facilitator refresher

  • Experience facilitating WRAP groups - The selection committee is most interested in experience with 8-12 week WRAP groups and Seminar I in the 2- and 3-day format.

  • URL link to your WRAP presentation recording (video) - Applicants are asked to create an unedited 20 minute video presenting an overview of the Five Key Concepts of Recovery and all the sections of WRAP® (Wellness Toolbox, Daily Maintenance Plan, Triggers and Action Plans, Early Warning Signs and Action Plans, When Things Are Breaking Down and Action Plans, all the parts of the Crisis Plan, and Post Crisis Plan). Our preference is for you to upload the video to youtube.com, vimeo.com or similar and leave the link (url) in the application.

You will also be asked to briefly answer the following questions:

  • Who do you intend to co-facilitate WRAP Facilitator trainings with?

  • How do you practice the WRAP values and ethics: a. with self? b. when working with a co-facilitator? c. during the WRAP group experience?

  • How has living WRAP enhanced your life?

  • Share an experience about a WRAP facilitation curriculum guideline that resonates with you and why.

Supplemental Materials required:

After you have completed the online application, please send us the following application materials to complete your application:

1. A copy of your WRAP Facilitator certificate. Please scan and email.

2. At least 5 evaluations from at least 3 different 8-12 week WRAP groups or 2- or 3-day Seminar I courses you have facilitated (15 total evaluations from Seminar I that's 16+ hours). Please scan and email.

Materials should be emailed to info@copelandcenter.com with the subject line: ALF OMHSAS (LAST NAME). Complete applications will be reviewed by a committee of Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators prior to enrollment.

Note: Participation alone is not a guarantee of certification. Certification is based on demonstrated level of knowledge through written and/or oral exams. Course instructors will make every effort to work with participants toward successful completion of the course and/or establish next steps for certification


PLEASE NOTE: Training goes to 5pm on Friday, June 28. Please plan your travel accordingly. There will be a dinner held on Sunday, June 23 at 4:30pm for all participants as the opening session of course.

Participants selected to enroll in this training will be required to report back to the Copeland Center on trainings they conduct in the future. 

Additional Resources: 

Article for Preparation: Path to Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator Training

Implementation Document: The Way WRAP Works!

To apply for this training, click here!

2019 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 2019 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, we award the $1,000 scholarship 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 2019 scholarship, complete the online application or use the paper application and mail it to the address on the application. Thedeadline for submitting applications is May 24, 2019.

PMHCA and MHAPA rely on the financial support of individuals and organizations to make this annual scholarship possible. This year, please consider a gift.

Your support will enable us to continue this tribute to a wonderful person, who guided the recovery of so many. And by giving to the scholarship, you're helping to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the lives of people in mental health recovery.

If you have questions, please contact the PMHCA office at 1-717-564-4930, 1-800-887-6422, or pmhca@pmhca.org

Free Family Peer Support Specialist Training

This is a Family Peer Support Specialist training for primary caregivers who are interested in becoming a Family Peer Support Specialist.

This is a 5-day comprehensive training using the Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA) Parent Peer Support Provider Practice Model. This Practice Model provides a framework for the essential functions of a Family Peer Support Specialist, offering core competency training and practicing of skills across the 6 phases of family peer support: Connect, Discover, Support, Empower, Prepare and Take Care.

May 8-10 and May 13-14, 2019

Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration Building

215 Jacob Murphy Lane, Uniontown PA 15401 

Conference Room #1 & #2

Deadline for applications:   May 3, 2019

Register online

June 3-7, 2019

Community Behavioral Health                  

Small Conference Room 7th Floor

801 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

9am to 4:30pm

Deadline for applications:  June 1, 2019

Register online


Contact Jill Santiago at santiagoj@upmc.edu, Family Peer Support Specialist Training Program Coordinator

LiveWell - New Support Group Schedule!

Depression and mental wellness support accessible to all.  Daily, weekly, or whenever you want it.  Walk-ins welcome. Always free.   

Mondays 8pm           1315 Spruce Street (William Way LGBT Community Cntr) 
Tuesdays 7pm          1906 S. Rittenhouse Square (Phila. Ethical Society) 
Wednesdays 8pm     37 South 42nd Street (Inner Rhythms Studio) 
Saturdays 10:30am   1901 South 9th Street (BOK Building) 
Sundays 6:15pm       139 North 2nd Street (Clay Studio) 

From The Icarus Project: Emotional First Aid Pt. 1

April 20th 5pm-7pm EST

“Do you know how to support someone experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis? So many of us want to show up for others who need support, but just don't know what to do. This three part webinar will cover the basics of how to provide emotional first aid for someone you know and love, or even someone you just met. We will offer practical skills that you can practice in your everyday life. This webinar format will consist of one hour presentation and one hour for discussion.”

This is first webinar in a 3 part series on Emotional First Aid.

To register or to view the live recording afterwards, click here.

2019 Rural Human Trafficking Summit

The Hidden Crime of Human Trafficking in Rural Communities, the Health Care System and, Community Response

June 26-27, 2019

Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, State College, PA

Survivors of human trafficking experience significant mental health needs. In a study funded through the National Institutes of Health, it was found that "the majority of survivors have depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder or a more severe diagnosis: Disorders of Extreme Stress (DESNOS)." This conference in State College, PA will emphasize rural prevention, treatment, and community collaboration.

The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, in partnership with the Region III Office of the Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Eastcentral and Northeast Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center; and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is offering this two-day continuing education and outreach event to continue a rural human trafficking collaborative with an emphasis on rural prevention, treatment, and community collaboration.

For more information, contact Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health,Outreach Coordinator Terri Klinefelter, at 814-863-8214 or tjc136@psu.edu.

Young Adult Road Map Training April 17, 2019 in Camp Hill, PA

Young Adult Road Map helps people in their teens and twenties cope with the complications of everyday living and build a path to the future. 

April 17, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Giant Community Center, 3301 E Trindle Rd, Camp Hill, PA 17011 

Lunch provided.

Free parking.

Fee is $10 to cover the cost for lunch and beverages.

Manuals will be offered free of charge at this training only.

To learn more about Young Adult Road Map training visit Young Adult Road Map web page.

Register online now.

Have questions? Contact Zack Karenchak, zack@youthmovepa.org, Policy and Program Development Coordinator, 717-564-4930

Call for Change Project: Regional Listening Sessions

In 2004, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Advisory Committee formed a Recovery Workgroup, tasked to explore how to transition the adult mental health system in Pennsylvania into a more recovery-oriented approach. The Recovery Workgroup was convened, by invitation, to discuss the process of developing a blueprint for building a recovery-oriented service system in Pennsylvania. This collaboration of broad-based stakeholders resulted in A Call for Change, a document that would outline a destination for Systems Transformation and provide guidance on strategies for how to get there. (include link to document)

Because A Call for Change focused on transforming the adult-serving behavioral health system, in 2010, the OMHSAS Children’s Bureau proceeded with developing a document to guide transformation of the child-serving system to one that promotes resiliency for children, youth and their families.  A Call for Change: Transformation of the Children’s Behavioral Health System in Pennsylvania was drafted as a strategic plan, identifying an ideal array of services, goals and prioritized action steps to achieve systems change.

Several years have passed since these documents were developed.  In the Fall of 2018, the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council challenged OMHSAS to re-visit A Call for Change, to assess how far Pennsylvania’s  behavioral health system that serves Children, Youth and their families, as well as Adults and Older Adults has progressed with Transformation, and to identify priorities for future efforts.  OMHSAS agreed to support the assessment of progress and the issuance of A Call for Change, 2019. 

The assessment phase will include regional on-site listening sessions, intended to generate broad-based stakeholder input and dialogue.  Details for the Regional Listening Sessions are included in the attached file.  In addition, OMHSAS is posting an on-line survey to obtain input from stakeholders who are unable to attend a session.  The survey can be accessed at through May 1, 2019 at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CFCstakeholdersurvey

Any questions or comments related to the Call for Change Project can be directed to: jistemple@pa.gov

For a schedule of the regional listening sessions, click here.

Threat to Our Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services

Behavioral HealthChoices (also known as the behavioral health carve-out) is the statewide program through which every county delivers mental health and drug and alcohol services recovery to Pennsylvanians enrolled in Medicaid insurance.

Bills have been introduced in the Pennsylvania House and Senate that would eliminate this successful program and could cause people to lose their current services and supports. Read more from PMHCA here.

I'm FREE Support Her Campaign

I'm FREE - Females Reentering Empowering Each Other, empowers women to transition from corrections to community. Justice Involved women count on us for support, can we count on you? Donate to I'm FREE today!

Youth MOVE PA: Scholarships Available for Mental Health Awareness Day

The 2019 Mental Health Awareness Day will be held on May 8th, 2019 at Strawberry Square in Harrisburg from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Are you a young adult between the ages of 18 to 29? Are you interested in joining Youth MOVE PA at Mental Health Awareness Day at Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, PA on May 8th, 2019? Youth MOVE PA will pay for your travel, one night at a hotel in downtown Harrisburg, and meal expenses at the state accepted rates. Youth MOVE PA will make hotel reservations.

Applications for the scholarship are due by April 15, 2019.

Application in Word FormatPDF Format or apply online.

Please email applications to zack@youthmovepa.org or postal mail to:

Zack Karenchak, PMHCA, 4105 Derry St, Harrisburg PA 17111

Winners of the scholarship will be notified by April 22nd, 2019.

iNAPS Wants Your Feedback!

On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the US Department of Labor. The draft of this definition was presented at the Annual Conference in December and valuable feedback was gained.

You are invited to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition so that we can move forward with submission.

The proposed title, Peer Support Specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles such as Recovery Coach, Peer Bridger, Peer Navigator, etc.

To complete the survey please click here or copy and paste this link in your web browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WCH7CL9

Press Release: Wolf Administration Urges Pennsylvanians to Support Local Food Banks in Wake of Partial Federal Government Shutdown 

February 6th, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary for Market Development Cheryl Cook today joined the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Feeding Pennsylvania to urge Pennsylvanians to support their local food banks following the partial federal government shutdown.

Every day, families turn to their local food banks to help meet their unmet food needs. The partial government shutdown strained resources at food banks as they worked to assist furloughed workers. This large influx of demand resulted in many food banks struggling to keep up with the growing need of resources.

“Millions of Pennsylvanians continue to feel the ramifications of the partial federal government shutdown,” said Secretary Miller. “Disruption in pay and changes to the SNAP benefits schedule are challenging families facing food insecurity, and all of us can play a role in supporting our neighbors as they navigate this difficult time.”

Even though the federal government is back to business as usual, many of the impacted families are still left wondering where their next meal will come from. Whether they are federal contract employees that are unsure if they will receive back pay, or one of the 1.8 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in Pennsylvania, charitable food organizations will likely continue to face an increased demand to help meet this need. 

In order to issue February benefits during the shutdown, DHS had to issue February SNAP benefits early, on January 16 and 17, rather than the typical issue date within the first ten business days of the month. March benefits will be issued from March 1-14, which forces SNAP recipients to make the February benefit last nearly two months.

Following the early benefit payment, DHS received calls from SNAP recipients asking about rumors that benefits had to be spent by the end of January or they would expire. This was not true, but SNAP spending over January shows that the early payments were spent very quickly, and SNAP recipients may soon run out of funds for February. 

Secretary Miller and Deputy Secretary Cook urged all Pennsylvanians to continue to support their local charitable food organization as they prepare for what could be a continued and dramatic increase in need.

“Pennsylvania’s charitable food system is built on the notion that food connects us, sustains us, and is something that everyone – no matter who they are or where they live – deserves access to,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Cook. “It is important that we band together during this challenging time to support our friends and neighbors struggling to put food on their tables. I applaud the work our commonwealth’s food banks do each day, and I encourage all Pennsylvanians to take the time to contribute in any way they can.”

Pennsylvanians looking to help their local charitable food organizations can do so by making food and monetary donations. Most-needed food items are often listed on an individual food bank’s website. Additional in-person volunteer support will also be needed as charitable food organizations work to keep up with the increased pace. 

“We do expect the later part of February to be very busy as SNAP benefits run out and clients seek more food assistance from our Partner Agencies,” said Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “With that in mind, we ask that friends of the Food Bank consider an extra monetary donation in February.”

Arthur also expressed concern that the current federal government funding resolution is set to expire on February 15.

“We ask our leaders in Washington D.C. to work tirelessly to avoid another shutdown that would again harm federal and contractor workers and families, and possibly create an even larger SNAP crisis that might overwhelm food banks and pantries, and leave families hungry,” said Arthur.

“Feeding Pennsylvania’s member food banks have worked overtime to serve the needs of those impacted by the government shutdown as well as the needs of the 1.6 million Pennsylvanians facing hunger every day. We are grateful for the donors and volunteers that make our work possible, but we know that SNAP is the backbone of the charitable food response,” said Feeding Pennsylvania Jane Clements-Smith. “For every one meal our food banks provide, SNAP provides 12, making it difficult to nearly impossible for us to meet the needs when benefits are interrupted. We urge congress to keep the government open and ensure that essential nutrition programs continue to work for families and businesses in PA.”


Find a charitable food organization in your community here.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Ali Fogarty - 717-425-7606

CBH Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Treatment Support

Call 1-888-545-2600 24/7 365 days/year to gain assistance with accessing publicly funded Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment and services. For more information on where to go for an assessment and what to expect, click here.

MHP Bell of Hope 2019 Colloquium Call for Proposals!

Thursday 23 May 2019 Sheraton Society Hill

 In honor of Mental Health Partnerships 20th Annual Bell of Hope, we are inviting individuals who participate in peer-based supports in mental health, addiction, physical health, education and other disciplines to spend a day in dialogue exploring our similarities and differences.

Colloquium Title: Peer Support Across the Disciplines

Learning and Dialogue Topics

  • Peer Support 2.0        

    • Possible Content: Current trends in the field; visioning the future; next steps beyond recovery; flourishing

  • Evaluating Peer Support

    • Possible Content: Models for evaluation; melding qualitative story telling with quantitative data sources; moving beyond classical evaluation tools and models

  • Directed Peer Support

    • Possible Content: Facing adultism; questioning current models as adultist; visions for the future of Youth/Young Adult peer support

  • Integrating Models of Peer Support

    • Possible Content: Community Health Workers, Certified Recovery Specialists, Certified Peer Specialists: differences and similarities; creating integrated content; offerings with physical health peer models

  • Funding Peer Support

    • Possible Content: Challenging current funding decisions; education of philanthropists and other funding sources; identification of alternative funding streams; the conversation about pharmaceutical contributions

 If you have a session idea, topic for discussion and dialogue or presentation, please submit your proposal abstract to Clarice Bailey (cbailey@mhphope.org) by 15 March 2019. For additional information on the MHP 2019 Bell of Hope, contact Catherine Sui (csui@mhphope.org).

To view the proposal submission form, click here.

Deadline for Submissions: 15 March 2019

Notification of Acceptance 5 April 2019

Behavioral Health Commissioner: 100% MAT Availability in Philadelphia by January 1, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Behavioral Health Commissioner David T. Jones today announced that by January 1, 2020 individuals with opioid use disorder in Philadelphia will be able to access Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), the gold standard for treating opioid addiction, through any of the 80 residential drug treatment programs under contract with the city.

While some form of MAT is available now at most programs, the behavioral health department’s Community Behavioral Health (CBH) division issued, and is enforcing, a contract mandate to achieve 100% MAT availability throughout Philadelphia’s entire residential drug treatment system by the announced deadline. The behavioral health department has achieved 65 percent availability to date. Any residential program that does not make MAT available by January 1, 2020 will not have their provider agreement with CBH renewed. 

“Medication-Assisted Treatment is the most effective treatment available for stabilizing an individual experiencing opioid withdrawal, curbing their cravings and preventing relapse,” said Commissioner Jones. “It’s helping us keep more people with opioid use disorder alive and in long-term sustainable recovery than any other form of treatment.”
MAT is the use of Methadone, Buprenorphine and Vivitrol in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling. It can reduce mortality rates among individuals with opioid use disorder by more than 50 percent. The behavioral health department, which spearheads addiction treatment for the city, has made expanding access to MAT and increasing its use and availability its top strategy in fighting back against the opioid crisis, which continues dominating Philadelphia’s spending on treatment for substance use disorder.
CBH, the public health insurance payer within the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), spent $83.7 million on opioid use disorder treatment in 2016 and $90.3 million in 2017. By comparison, CBH spent just under $30 million treating people for cocaine addiction in both 2016 and 2017 and did not exceed $27 million on treatment for alcoholism either year.
“When it comes to treating Philadelphians for any kind of substance use disorder, opioid use disorder continues to account for the lion’s share of our direct treatment costs making it even more critical for us to expand the use of MAT across the city,” Commissioner Jones said.
In addition to requiring 100% MAT availability by January 1, 2020, the behavioral health department added 3,000 MAT slots for opioid use disorder bringing the city’s total MAT capacity to 12,479 slots of which 23% or 2,900 are currently available – 1,070 available for Methadone and 1,836 for Buprenorphine and Vivitrol.
Perhaps equally impressive is that of the 453 health care professionals in Philadelphia who completed the necessary training to obtain a waver required to prescribe Buprenorphine for treating opioid use disorder, almost half – 217 – came through the DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings resulting in up to 21,700 Philadelphians gaining access to this highly effective medication. DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings are available to any doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners seeking to obtain their waver to prescribe Buprenorphine.
“We are seeing both the rate and the distinct number of individuals with opioid use disorder participating in Medication-Assisted Treatment increase as a direct result of our continued focus on expanding MAT access and availability across Philadelphia,” said Commissioner Jones.
A comparison of the third quarter across Fiscal Years 2015 through 2018 shows a 36 percent increase in the number of distinct individuals participating in MAT. An even more dramatic 83 percent increase is shown for the number of individuals receiving Buprenorphine over the same period.
To further expand access to, availability of and use of MAT in Philadelphia, DBHIDS, largely through its CBH division:

  • Deploys mobile access units daily to Kensington to bring community members addicted to opioids into treatment while maintaining a weekly presence at the mural arts Kensington Storefront.

  • Removed barriers preventing people from accessing MAT including urine drug screenings, vital signs and prescriber letters while reducing the use of IDs for accessing treatment.

  • Conducts warm handoffs to treatment at hospital emergency rooms since many survivors of overdose are transported to the ER.

  • Provided funding for the expansion of Temple Episcopal Crisis Response Center, which will increase the hospital’s capacity to engage, assess and treat people with opioid use disorder.

  • Provided funding for the city's first 24/7 opioid treatment unit, Access Point at NET, which offers MAT around-the-clock for immediate withdrawal stabilization enabling families to bring loved ones in for treatment the moment they say they’re ready.

  • Conducted 26 two-day trainings to help clinicians completing assessments for opioid use disorder accurately determine the appropriate level of care for people on an individual basis.

  • Conducts a monthly series supporting drug treatment programs in aligning substance use services with best practice and incentivizing them to enhance the quality of their substance use disorder screening, treatment and workforce.

PA Post: Through The Cracks

Through the Cracks is an exploration of mental health services in the commonwealth. Both data-driven and deeply personal, the series aims to spark conversations, question policymakers and health care leaders, and result in measurable improvements for those who need help. 

This series is a collaboration between PA Post and Transforming Health.

To view episodes of this series, click here.

Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) Launch Announcement

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 

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.

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.

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.

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.


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