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This resource, ActiveMinds.org,  is one that is working to reduce stigma about mental illness and increase awareness of mental health issues through a variety of educational outreach efforts.

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“Budget Agreement Details at a Glance ” (2012-2013) (and some personal thoughts)

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This article on the PA House Republican Caucus website does not have a date indicating a specific day it was posted, but based on the contents I’m going to assume it was either today or yesterday (June 28, 2012 or June 29, 2012) based on content and when I found it (June 29, 2012).

The article highlights various aspects of the state budget giving a brief summary of some of the hot topic items along with a few others.

While the Human Service block grant was not implemented, there was a decision made to run a pilot program to test the block grant out rather than go statewide right off the back.  Also, General assistance appears to have been eliminated from the budget, but those who have received General Assistance despite losing the cash assistance part of it, should still be able to receive Medical Assistance if I’m understanding things correctly.  I know that there are folks who have waited for a response from Social Security who aren’t able to work, so I hope that if you are reading this and know someone who is on General Assistance, you take a moment to reach out to them, because their lives have probably gone from bad to worse with this change.

I was someone who at one time was on General Assistance, while I went through the process of applying for Social Security, and if it hadn’t been for General Assistance and other programs, I would have been in a situation where I would have had the option of either living on the streets or moving in with family or friends and freeloading off them until I was told I was approved for Social Security.  For me it was a time where I was experiencing some severe mental health issues in the form of a Conversion Disorder that manifested as Blindness, compounded by PTSD, Depression and a lifelong struggle with Anxiety among other things, and I lost my job, my apartment, and was at the mercy of my family and the government when it came to trying to keep from becoming homeless.  I am grateful to those who reached out to me during that time, and hope that there are others who will do the same for folks they may know who are in a similar situation.   Sometimes something as simple as giving someone a ride to the place they need to go to apply for something to possibly help them can mean the world to someone in that situation, because even though that application isn’t a guarantee, it does offer a glimmer of hope that maybe things will improve, and when you are in that place, even a glimmer of hope can mean the world to you.  I lost the majority of my belongings when I lost my apartment, and when someone gave me some pans that they had lying around, it was a huge thing for me, because I knew at that moment that if I could manage to keep a roof over my head I would have a way to cook food.  Someone else helped me fill out paperwork during times when I wasn’t able to see because of the Conversion Disorder, and I can’t thank them enough for that act of kindness, it was something they could have easily told me I had to do it myself, but they saw I had a need for help and they helped me do what I needed to do to meet deadlines for paperwork.

My point in sharing that aspect of my life isn’t to make folks feel sorry for me, but to point out that there are ways that we can help people who will be effected by the elimination of General Assistance, that doesn’t require giving someone money.  I know there are people who are hesitant to give people money, which is why I wanted to point out there are other ways to help the folks who will be affected by the elimination of General Assistance.

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