• Categories

“Kids Seeking Mental Health Services Face Long Wait Times in Philly”

Article Link

This August 1, 2013 article found on the NBC10 Philadelphia website talks about the long wait time experienced by kids who need mental health care.  The article mentions the required time that a child is to be seen in, but also states that reality can be very different from that requirement.


“Local Motorcyclists, Firefighters Set to Honor Boy Who Saved Racquet Club Residents”

Article Link

This July 28, 2013 article found on the Levittown Now website talks about a boy who saw a need and stepped up to help.  I doubt the boy or his friends thought a lot about any reward they might get, as they knocked on doors to alert residence of the danger they were in, so I feel that this article is a great example of how helping because it’s the right thing to do can have some neat surprises as a result of the effort made.  I doubt this boy and his friends knew every person who they alerted to the fire, I also doubt that they had much on their mind other than trying to make sure people were safe.  I also doubt that the boy and his friends viewed themselves as heroes when they took the action they took.  They saw a need and stepped in and did what they could to help.

I tip my hat to this boy and his friends and hope that others can look at this and realize that helping others is the right thing to do, and that doing it because it feels good should be enough of a reward.  Helping because it puts a spotlight on you and lets you say “hey look at me I did this” or helping for the purpose of getting a tax break and not because you actually care isn’t as impressive to others as when someone helps because it’s the right thing to do without regard for what they will get for their efforts.  The kids in this article could have easily stood around and watched the flames grow, or continued on their way to wherever they were heading, but they realized people were in danger and by simply knocking on doors and alerting people, I’m willing to bet they may have saved at least a few lives that night.

It is my hope that others will look at this and realize that they too can make a difference in someone else’s life, and while it may not be as monumental as alerting people to a fire in their building, it could still make a huge difference in someone’s life.   I don’t have a lot in the way of resources, but for me, I find it to be fun to see what kinds of creative ways I can quietly help others.  I generally help  others when I can, because so many people over the years have helped me at various times in my life and asked for nothing in return, and when I find a way to do something for someone else, I feel like in some sense it is giving me a chance to honor those who helped me by paying it forward.


“Wellness Center will serve an area in need”

Article Link

This May 9, 2013 article on the Philly.com website talks about a wellness center that is in the works for the North Philly area.

“New standards of care implemented for mentally ill at Retreat State Hospital”

Main Entrance of Warren State Hospital in North Warren, PA

Main Entrance of Warren State Hospital in North Warren, PA


Article Link

This January 6, 2013 article on the citizenvoice.com website talks about the history of some of the state hospitals in Pennsylvania.  The focus is on facilities in Philly and Harrisburg, but other Pennsylvania facilities are mentioned as well.

“Philly demonstration protests end of General Assistance”

Minnesota capitol building vigil in support of...

Minnesota capitol building vigil in support of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) (Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue)

Article Link

This August 1, 2012 article found on the Philly.com website highlights concerns being raised by people protesting the elimination of Pennsylvania’s General Assistance program..

“Removing the Stigma from Mental Illness”

Article Link

This article on Philly.com dated May 23, 2012, talks about some of the stigma surrounding mental illness and things that can be done to help decrease the stigma.

“Former addict finds support on road to recovery”

This article found in the Philladelphia Tribune originally printed on October 14, 2008 can be found in its original format at … http://www.phillytrib.com/tribune/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=501:recovery101408-hlt&catid=9:the-philadelphia-tribune&Itemid=20

The article describes the change that has transpired in the life of a person who has a dual diagnosis since she has begun her road to recovery.  She now works a a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) in the agency where she once sought help herself.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 02:00
Former addict finds support on road to recovery

  Yoland Smith, a former behavioral health consumer, is now a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) through the Recovery Transformation program and now helps others in the recovery process.  — ABDUL R. SULAYMAN/TRIBUNE CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER

Ayana Jones
Tribune Staff Writer

Yolanda Smith has come a long way.

After 31 years of abusing alcohol and drugs, the 47-year-old Kensington resident never thought that she would overcome her addictions. Two years ago, she decided that it was time to seek help and begin the road to recovery.

“I was no longer afraid to seek help,” says Smith who was also coping with bipolar disorder, a condition that she believes helped fuel her addictions.

She sought out the services of COMHAR Inc., a provider for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services. Smith was able to turn her life around by participating in the agency’s recovery program. She credits the program with helping her to recover from substance abuse, boosting her self-esteem, becoming a better mother to her 22-year-old son and enabling her to receive college training. Today she serves as a certified peer specialist and facilitator at COMHAR where she helps other addicts to recover.

“Recovery is possible,” Smith affirms.

Smith was one of a group of speakers who shared their stories during a press conference held at the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center at 1701 W. Lehigh Avenue. The site is the first of several planned centers that will offers a range of services including counseling, support groups and education.

Behavioral Health Department officials held the event to highlight sweeping changes in the way that it provides services to those who are battling both addictions and mental illness. Under the initiative, the department is moving from just providing treatment to clients to focusing on helping them recover.

“Transformation is about how we are evolving our system to focus on people who have behavioral health problems and substance abuse disorders,” says DBHMRS Director Arthur Evans.

“Inherent in every community is the wisdom to solve its own problems. I think that is what is at the heart of the recovery transformation — that it is a movement that is built on the idea that ‘you can do it, we can help.’”

With that in mind, the recovery transformation initiative focuses on providing care to consumers that promotes long-care recovery, resiliency and self-determination.

Evans referred to the transformation as the most sweeping change in the field since thousands of mentally ill people were release from institutions during the 1970s deinstitutionalization wave.

One of the core aspects of recovery transformation is the certified peer specialist initiative. Through the program, current or former behavioral health consumers are trained and certified to become peer specialists. As of September 49 graduates of the certification training have been employed as peer specialists.

Through a network of community-based provides, DBHMRS provides a full range of mental health and substance abuse treatment for approximately 100,000 consumers annually.

“Strengthening the Consumer Voice in Managed Care …”

I found an interesting article that contains a little of the history of Consumer Satisfaction Teams (CST) in Pennsylvania.  It is an older article, dated January 2002, but still offered some interesting information for those who might be interested in learning more about CST and C/FST in Pennsylvania.  It specifically talks about Philladelphia, PA and the closing of Philladelphia “Byberry” State Hospital and what the role of early CST was during that process.

Here’s the link to the article ….  http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/53/1/23.pdf

%d bloggers like this: