This July 28, 2014 Titusville Herald article includes a brief run down of events happening at the Social Connection Drop-in Center in Titusville, PA
I witnessed something that impressed me more then you can imagine. our local Community Support Program (CSP) has been floundering at best for as long as I can remember with meetings in the past discussing what activities should be held for Consumers at the drop-in center, and other misc. topics that really didn’t pertain to what CSP is about.
What I saw and was part of this past week was an awesome sight for me to see, our local CSP was discussing issues that could have a potential impact on our community as a whole, and the Consumers especially. among the topics, there was discussion about the upcoming Service Area Planning Meeting, and Consumers were encouraged to come and voice concerns either themselves, or to give their concerns to a spokesperson who would voice them for them, whether Consumers choose to speak or not while they are there was optional, and everyone was encouraged to at the very least show up so that folks at the state level could see there was interest and concern about the future of Warren State Hospital.
Another topic we touched on included the petition I’ve been circulating for HB 1448 which is sponsored and first presented by Representative Dan Frankel, and if passed into law would create a non-lapsing trust fund that would be used for Community mental Health Services. The money for the fund would come from any money gained from the sale or lease of land currently used by state MH-MR facilities. NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania has a PDF file of a downloadable petition that can be printed and then sent to the person listed on the bottom of the second page of the petition. their site is located at …. http://www.namiswpa.org/
Also discussed was the letter writing campaign being championed by Rachel Freund of PMHCA, here’s an excerpt from the WRCSP December 2007 minutes where I first learned about this.
“PMHCA continues to work with our partners on the campaign to raise the monthly $60 personal spending allowance for people in personal care homes. Already nearly 400 letters have been sent to the Secretary of Welfare and her deputy secretaries, as well as PA Senators and House Members. We can help you host a letter writing event at your center – join your voices with our efforts so we can help the 8800 people struggling to live on $60 per month! For more information on any of these points contact Rachel Freund at 412-621-4706 or firstname.lastname@example.org “
The WRCSP minutes were found at this address …. http://www.pmhca.org/?page=csp®ion=western
So what does this all mean? It means that for the first time in my experience with the local CSP in my county, we had a VERY productive meeting that talked about real issues that could effect not only us as individuals, but also our community that we live in. Was this a fluke? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m hoping that future meetings are as productive and stimulating as this one was. I saw people who normally don’t get involved in discussions, asking questions and offering their views instead of sitting their being told what to think they were forming their own opinions and ideas about things. The person running the meeting was encouraging Consumers to speak up and be heard, which is something that I’ve heard other counties doing, but until now, never really saw it in action in my own, with the exception of rare individuals who tried to encourage Consumers and for whatever reason were squelched in the past. If what I saw this past week continues, it could mean a new day in Warren County, but I find myself asking, ‘Is the county ready to hear what we have to say? or is it just false hopes?” Time will tell, but I hope it continues because I saw more life in that CSP meeting then I had seen in other local CSP meetings I had attended and life is a wonderful thing to see developing and growing.