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“Spirituality and Mental Health”

The social self.

The social self. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This January 5, 2016 article by Danielle Nelson on the Jamaica Observer website talks about the struggles between Spirituality and Mental Health because of the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

“Mayview wants to ease patients’ transition” Feb 25, 2008

I loved this article it offers some down to earth ideas on how to help folks transition from Mayview State Hospital into the community.  It was originally printed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on February 25, 2008

The article can also be viewed on the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s website at …  http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_554085.html 

Mayview wants to ease patients’ transition
Monday, February 25, 2008

Something as simple as inviting someone to dinner can have a huge positive impact on a person who’s been released from a state mental health facility, Bob Fairchild said.”Sometimes the people on the ward may be the only family that person had, and so being without a family can be a major depressive,” Fairchild said Sunday morning at an adult education program at Bower Hill Community Church, Mt. Lebanon.

Fairchild, 38, who said he’s spent time in Pennsylvania’s mental health system in the central part of the state, was a surprise participant. He came to the Moffett Street church for an afternoon program, arriving early because of infrequent bus service from his North Hills apartment.

His comments gave a personal touch to remarks from Allegheny HealthChoices Inc. CEO Mary Fleming and Mary Jo Dickson, administrator of the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health. The two had been invited to present an update on the closing of Mayview State Hospital in South Fayette.

Slated to close by year’s end after 115 years of service, Mayview will be the third state mental hospital in Allegheny County to close in the past 25 years, following Dixmont in 1984, and Woodville in 1992. The closings follow nationwide judicial rulings against long-term hospital stays for the mentally ill, treatment and medication improvements and a general movement toward relocating patients in communities.”It’s important that people know what to do, know about mental illness,” Dickson said. “We have to plan for what’s happening with current patients at Mayview, but also plan for people who would use the hospital if it was there in the future.”

When the state announced in August that Mayview would close by the end of 2008, the hospital had about 225 patients, with about 60 patients discharged before the announcement.

“Today, we have 180 patients at Mayview, with about 150 from Allegheny County,” Dickson said. The hospital serves Allegheny, Beaver, Greene, Lawrence and Washington counties. The plan was to have the patient number down to 150 by June 30, but Fleming said that might not occur.

“One of the big problems we have in reintroducing these people back into communities is finding suitable, affordable housing,” Fleming said. Allegheny HealthChoices is a nonprofit organization hired by the five counties to oversee the five-county Mayview planning process.

Fleming said the reintroduction of most patients into a community setting has to be done correctly the first time, because “when you discharge a patient, that bed closes. You can’t take the person back and put them in that bed again,” she said.

Rick Stouffer can be reached at rstouffer@tribweb.com or 412-320-7853

[AFSCME] “Union concerns valid” [regarding discharge of Mayview Patients]

  The following article was found on the “Observer-Reporter.com” dated December 5, 2007 ( http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Story/Mayview_editorial_2007_12_05T00_32_44 )  Apparently discharges have resumed at Mayview, but AFSCME is raising concerns as to whether or not supports being implimented will be enough for former patients from Mayview State Hospital.

Union concerns valid

Certainly, the union that represents employees of Mayview State Hospital has a vested interest when it questions the planned closing of the institution. But the concerns it raises about patients being released to the community are still valid.

Two former patients have died within the past couple of months – one of whom jumped or fell from a Pittsburgh bridge and the other who was struck by a train. Discharges were suspended for a short time after the fatalities but have since resumed. The state maintains that a review found that the deaths were not related to the discharges.

Additionally, a former Mayview patient is charged with killing a Washington woman last December.

Aside from the job issue, Richard Caponi, a district director for AFSCME, a public employees union, said “the concern obviously from everybody is patient care. Is the community able to accept and care for the residents as they need to be?”

In the past, he said, when Mayview patients were released, there was a back-up available. If they couldn’t function or if they had a relapse, they could go back to Mayview. “The concern is now where are they going to go?”

Torrance State Hospital at Blairsville will remain open. The state also says discharged patients will have access to community hospital psychiatric beds. Washington County is developing supportive services for 16 or 17 county residents who will be released.

Will these efforts be enough? We can hope so, but like the employees union, we have nagging doubts about releasing these patients into the community. Even with services available, we fear that many of them will try to fend for themselves, whether they are capable of doing so or not.

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.

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