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“PMHCA 2012 Mental Health Conference Highlights” (2 of 2)

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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This article dated June 9, 2012 also on MV: unleash your groove is written by Mike Veny and offers his impressions about how the PMHCA 2012 conference went.  He talk about his experiences, and includes a video of a drum circle he facilitated during the conference.

Thanks go out once again to Mike Veny for offering his articles to me to share with my readers.

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.  🙂

The last Night of the PMHCA Conference

  This is the last night of the PMHCA Conference, and while I’m exhausted, I’m also excited about the many things I’ve learned and experienced.  I won’t be posting anything after this until I get home tomorrow at the earliest … then again, I may need to crash for awhile after I get home and recouperrate.  I can tell by looking at my Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD), Tippy, that she’s as exhausted if not more so then I am.  So, I think she’s looking forward to returning home to our normal day to day schedule of sorts.

  Tonight is a formal dance where folks are encouraged o dress up and dance the night away on the final night of the Conference.  I didn’t dress up, but Tippy did, and once I get home, I’ll post the picture of her in her formalwear.  I can’t remember if the outfit I put on her is a bride’s dress, or if it’s an angel costume, but Tippy was dressed for the occassion until she walked out of her dress as we went down the hall, so I ended up taking it off her until we got to the lobby where I redressed her so that a couple folks who I have begun to develope a friendship with could see Tippy dressed up, but then I took it off her again so she wouldn’t walk out of it again.  A couple people took pictures of her, and I told a couple folks that didn’t get to see her, that I was going to be posting the picture of Tippy dressed up here on the blog, but I need to wait until I get home to edit the picture so it might be a day or so before it shows up here.

  Earlier, I attended a workshop on Communicating through the media.  It was a fascinating workshop, and I plan on working on some of the new skills I learned in the workshop in future posts.  My brain is too fried to remember what I learned right now so I decided it wasn’t a good post to use my readers as guinea pigs for my newly learned skills and ideas.  With any luck you may see some improvement in my blogging, but it’s hard to say for sure since as the old addage goes, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks …. it’s not an entirely true addage …. just one that in my tired mind seemed fitting somehow.

  This afternoon, we had the chance to hear the caucas reports from the various caucuses that met yesterday.  After the various reports were given, Joan Earny, the Deputy Secretary of Mental Health in Pennsylvania, spoke to the group that was there and told us someone asked her if she would be speaking today, and her response was, “No, I’m here to listen.”  She did speak in response to some of the comments, concerns, and thoughts that were brought up in the reports, she also opend the floor up for questions and allowed folks to ask anything we wanted to.  Of course she reserved the right to not answer them, but I felt that was a reasonable thing for her to do.  Many questions were asked about topics such as funding, Certified Peer Specialists and their role in both the present and future.  Other topics that were hit on included the bill that Joan Erney thought had passed today, but wasn’t sure, that would ban smoking in public places, and hospitals.  She was under the impression that bars that sold very little or no food might be exempt, but that restraunts with full menues would not be exempt.  Many other topics were covered, but I don’t recall all of them.

  For now, I’m signing off and ill post again sometime after I get home.


Live from PMHCA Conference

  Day 2 is half over here t the PMHCA Conference.  I forgot to mention that this is their 20th conference they’ve held, but that there was a year when the Alternatives Conference and the PMHCA conference were close together so the PMHCA conference was canceled.  So, if you want to be technical, this is the 21st conference scheduled, but the 20th to be held.

  After breakfast today, Ron Bassman, the keynote speaker spoke on his life experiences as both a patient in the mental health system in the 60’s and later a professional.  He offered many quotes of inspiration, read excerpts from his book, and in general built on how we need hope in order to overcome our obstacles, and that no matter what label society may put on us, we’re still people of value.  It isn’t what we are labeled as that makes us who we are, but rather what we do to overcome the lable that makes us who we are.  I’m going to be getting more information from Ron Bassman at  some point, and when I do, I will include some of his words in a future blog entry.  I left his presentation feeling encouraged and uplifted and in a sense as though I had received new marching orders to go forth and proclaim hope and encouragement to others while embracing them myself so that I can build on these things in my own life.

  We broke off into workgroups after Ron Bassman was done speaking.  I attended one on, “The Many Doors to Consumer Empowerment”.  I received a hardcopy of a document that explains how various organizations work together to form the mental health system, in addtion to explaining various accronyms, such as CSP, C/FST …etc.  the group was encouraged to get involved in the various plans such as County Mental Health Plan, and Service Area Planning.  Other areas we were encouraged to get involved in included, CSP at the local, regional, and state level if possible.  Also we were encouraged to ask questions about the various plans that ultimately dictate what will be implimented into the menal health system, or what will be dropped.  We should find out why service X is available in one part of the state and not in our part of the state in addition to finding out what we can do to take an active role in molding and shaping a Recovery Oriented mental health system.

  In addition to info I learned in the workshop, I’ve gathered a bunch of handouts from a wide variety of places since I arrived here.  I hope to offer at the least summaries of some of the info so others might benefit from it at well.

  For now, I’m signing off but will be posting more either later today or sometime tomorrow.


We’re here! (At the PMHCA Conference that is)

  We left town around 11:30 and arrived at the Raddison Hotel at about 3:00 We didn’t do too bad though on time, despite me taking us off our route onto an exit that went to the left …. never saw one of hose before, so it threw me for a loop of sorts … I always thought Exits went off to the right.  Guess that’s what I get for living in a small wannabe city my whole life.  Anyway we got back on course, and finally arrived at the hotel only to find out that our room was reserved, but it hadn’t been paid for.  Great … now we’re 3 hours from home without a place to stay.  I made a few phone calls and we were back on track.

  The only other glitch was that the southern half of Pittsburgh was without power, so the hotel was running on backup generators, so everything was dimly lit for several hours.  Knock on wood, we will have power in the morning so we don’t have to try and find the stairs to get down to breakfast.

Ive met some interesting folks so far though, and am looking forward to the rest of the conference.  For now though, one last trip outside so Tippy can potty, and I can have a smoke then I’m going to call it a day.

Going to the PMHCA Conference

  I’m goingto be in Pittsburgh at the PMHCA Conference June 9th to the 12th.  I checked and the hotel offers free internet access to folks staying there, so I’ll be taking my laptop, and hopefully I’ll be able to offer someinfo or other tid bits from the conference whil I’m there.  Posts will probably not be what you might consider to be typical posts for this blog, bu I hope they will be informative and helpful to my readers just the same.


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