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NVRA related Case


While this segment is about a state other then Pennsylvania, and also isn’t specific to mental health, it is something that does have an impact on folks with mental health issues.  Since  a portion of folks with mental illnesses receive public assistance, and other services that NVRA requires these agencies to ask if people they serve are registered to vote where they currently reside, and if the answer is no, offer assistance to them in getting them registered to vote.

“Mental Health: Communities will take on more mental health care – Lebanon Daily News”

Mental Health: Communities will take on more mental health care – Lebanon Daily News.

This article was found in the June 9, 2011 edition of the Lebanon Daily News.  It explains some of what is happening with the shift from state institutions to community based care and some of the history behind the shift as it pertains to Olmstead.

PA Olmstead Plan

Here is a link to a PDF file outlining the Pennsylvania Olmstead Plan


I don’t know a lot about the plan it is something I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of in terms of my understanding of it, but it is of importance, because it has a direct impact on the state hospital system in Pennsylvania, and secondly an impact on the community based mental health systems in Pennsylvania.


A Success! :)

I had fun at the PMHCA conference, but it truly is good to be back home.  Things seemed to be more relaxed overall  I think I heard someone say there were about 420 people in attendance, workshops were informative, and while I didn’t attend any of the caucuses, I found the reports to be very informative.

I had attended the 2008 PMHCA conference, which I believe had 620 people in attendance, and I felt more relaxed at this year’s conference then I did at the 2008.  it was crowded at times, but in general it was possible to walk from place to place without constantly being in shoulder to shoulder contact with other people unlike the 2008 conference where it was crowded and very noisy.

The atmosphere was calmer at this year’s conference, PMHCA was wonderful in helping me out by making a little announcment asking folks not to feed or pet the service dog.  I believe this also made a huge difference in how much I enjoyed the conference since everyone got that little reminder early on.  I was able to reconnect with old friends, and also meet some folks face to face I had only known on Facebook, I also met many other wonderful people.

I found out from one person that the “information overload” I feel so often and resort to things like an ipod and blue tinted sunglasses, might actually be a hypersensativity thing possibly associated with my diagnosis of ADHD.  I had known that the color blue had a calming effect on me, and that wearing my blue sunglasses seemed to help a lot, but never really figured out why it helped.  So to the gentleman who happens to wear infrared filtering glasses for a similar reason, and offered that bit of insight to me, I really appreciate the lead and will be looking into it further.

One workshop I attended was about advocating for folks in personal care homes.  I wasn’t overly surprised about what was given as examples of their findings while surveying folks residing in personal care homes.  In many ways what I had heard confirmed a lot of what I had thought I was seeing locally.

Some things that were confirmed included …

  • Isolation of folks living there.  this isolation could be geographicly induced, but many times it is because once someon is in a personal care home the ‘out of sight out of mind’ concept kicks in and former friends and even family will often loose touch with the person in the personal care home.
  • Financial issues … folks in personal care homes in Pennsylvania are suppose to receive $85 a monh from their Social Security benfits.  While there are homes that abide by this, it is not allways the case.  There are places that don’t give any of that money to their residents while others only give the resident a portion of it.
  • Often it is very difficult for someone in a personal care home to move out if they want to.  because all their money is tied up in the personal care home except maybe $85 it is nearly impossible for folks to realistically be able to save up enough money to be able to afford to pay for first/last month rent + a security deposit without the help of a friend or family member, which because of the isolation factor there isn’t always someone who can help someone move out of a personal care home.
  • Many times, personal care homes require that they also be the representative payee for the resident. Which in my opinion and the opinion of others seems like a HUGE conflict of interest.  Myself and others feel that there should be an independant 3rd party who takes this role and that there is no reason for the personal care home to take on that role for any resident.

There are more things then that that I felt like I got confirmation on indicating that the problem was wider spread then just my local area.

At any rate, the conference was awesome for me, and I’ve decided that my personal goal is to try and save enough to go next year.  The folks will begin planning for next year’s conference within the next week or so, and while they plan, I’ll be coming up with budget strdegies of my own to hopefully enable myself to be able to attend.

Thanks PMHCA for all you did for the conference, and also for everything you do beyond the conference that I’m only beginning to fully realize the immensity of the task you have chosen to take on.  Keep up the awesome job and know there are many backing you.


Update on the conference

It seems like things are going pretty smooth I think I heard there were about 420 folks registered in attendence, so it was a smaller group then what I experienced in 2008.

I was more at ease this time around, though today as I pack I’m feeling a tad anxious … despite knowing the conference would end and I would return home, it’s a change and however good the change may be, it’s still a change and well I have trouble with change.  I learned a lot this year and truly hope to return in the future

Having a bit of trouble staying focused right now, so I’m going to make this short and finish up on my packing … have to be out of my room in about an hour and a half, so it’s time to stop procrastinating.  Will write more about my experiences here once I’m home.

I would like to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone I came in contact with here who refrained from petting Tippy without getting my permission first.  It was a HUGE help to me, and I wanted to be sure to let folks know I appreciated the kindness in that regard.  Everyone was awesome!

PMHCA Conference Day 1

The first day of the conference went well from what I could tell.  I attended a workshop called “Invisible No More!”  dealing with issues surrounding personal care homes.  I was taking notes during the workshop, but there was so much info, I need to go over the notes before I go into details about what was discussed.  The basic gist is that there is a need for advocacy, and reforms in how folks in personal care homes are treated some are great, but others are equally as bad with others somewhere inbetween the two extremes in terms of car of residents.

I had done a blog entry not to long ago about Support The Journey, well, they happened to have a table here at the conference and since I had been eyeing up a hat on their website, I decided to go ahead and get it here at the conference, so I am the proud owner of a new baseball cap that has “I’m the evidence” embroidered on the front of it.  it is part of the “I’m the evidence” campaign  I need to check to be sure, but I think that part of the procedes from items bought from Support the Journey during the conference will be going to support PMHCA I know PMHCA is one of the organizations they support through their website.

http://www.supportthejourney.com  will take you to the site associated with the table I bought my hat from

and the address for the I’m The Evidence (ITE) campaign is at http://itecampaign.org

PMHCA Conference Eve …

A poet I am not, but this is sort of bouncing around my head so I thought I would post something entertaining … though I also apologize if the lack of rhythm or rhyme sends you cringing and promise not to do this too often 🙂


’twas the night before conference ….

and all through PMHCA the staff were in a flurry

because Consumers soon would be present about they will scurry….

Networking and learning as they wander about.

Of course they will take time for fun

and meetup with old friends while making some new.

Then at the end all will go home with something new

to share with others when the conference is through.


I dedicate this off beat post to the folks at PMHCA who work hard each year to put together this conference, and make each one a unique experience.

Before anyone asks, yes, you are welcome to share or snag the contents of this goofy post to my readers from PMHCA I hope you got a smile from this.  🙂

PMHCA Conference

I am going to be at the conference this year, and I have plans to do some blogging about my experience while I’m there.  I went to the conference in 2008 and was able to do some blogging during it. So, I figure since from what I can recall, folks seemed to enjoy hearing about the conference and seeing some live updates, I thought I would do it again this time around.

I’ve been working to get ready for the trip, packing the usual stuff that anyone would need if they went to the conference, but since I utilize a Service Dog, who will be with me at the conference, I also need to pack items for her.  Things like dog food, a toy, treats,a food and water dish, and of course most importantly her service dog gear.

The hotel is a pet friendly hotel, but I would like to ask folks who might be at the conference to please be awareof a couple things.

My Service Dog will be wearing either a blue vest or blue backpack with patches indicating she is a service dog.  Unlike a pet, she is trained to help me with things like medication reminders, panic attacks, and other disabling mental health issues.  She is NOT there for the amusement of these around me.  I would ask that folks talk o me and NOT my Service Dog.

Please do not talk to her, try to pet her, make little clucking noises at her to try and get her attention, or attempt to feed her…. she’s not starving trust me on this one I pay for her dog food.

I have a hard time with crowds and it would help me a lot if folks respected my boundaries which include not interacting with my Service Dog in any way.

My Service Dog is a medical device just like a wheelchair or cane or hearing aid … most people wouldn’t walk up to someone using these devices and start pulling levers, pushing buttons, or for that matter expecting the person using them to spill their guts to you about their medical history.

If you are gong to the conference, or know someone who is, I would appreciate that you spread the word.  I generally will talk to people if I’m approached, I just get overwhelmed when I have to tell 100 people not to pet my Service Dog.  So any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

So, while I’m very excited about having the opportunity to attend the conference, I’m also kind of anxious because I know there will be more people there then I’m use to being around which is tough for me without having to ward off people who think my Service Dog is there for their amusement.

I do hope to have a good time and a little help from folks in regards to my Service Dog would really go a long ways to making my trip a lot smoother.


“Support the Journey”


Support the Journey is working to not only raise awareness about Recovery from Mental Illness, but they work to support other organizations who are working on the front lines to advocate for people who happen to have a mental illness and the family, friends or others who care about them.

Organizations you can choose from to offer your support through your purchase include the following ….

  • ABCF
  • Feeling Blue SPF
  • WPRO
  • MHA-NW
  • MHA-SE

I would encourage you to help them help others, these are some great organizations here in PA.

“Along for the ride”


This link will take you to a story by someone who’s spouse has OCD and the journey taken leading up to getting a diagnosis and a better understanding of what was happening with her husband.

OCD is something I have a very basic understanding of which I don’t feel is enough to really do justice to the subject.  Reading this particular piece gave me a little better understanding of OCD and I thought others might benefit as well.

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