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“Secretary of the Commonwealth reminds Pennsylvanians of voter registration deadline”

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This April 13, 2015  Pittsburgh Action news article talks about the upcoming deadline for voter registration.  The deadline is April 20, 2015 if you plan on making your voice heard in the 2015 election you need to register now or you will lose that opportunity to be heard until next year.

“Meet Ida May Fuller, recipient of 1st Social Security check”

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This January 30, 2015 AP news article found on the Lancaster Online Website talks about the recipient of the first Social Security check, and offers a stark reminder that without action on the part of the federal government, Social Security Disability will be out of money in 2016.  The rich seem to view the disabled as expendable and as such when costs need cut, the first cuts to occur generally impact the poor, disabled and middle class.  If those on Social Security don’t come together and rally for change, we will remain easy targets for the rich to prey on.

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Why does Pennsylvania make it so hard to vote? PennLive editorial”

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This January 2, 2015 PennLive article talks about the ways that Pennsylvania makes it more challenging for citizens to vote as compared to other states who not only simplify the process, but manage to secure the integrity of the vote at the same time without creating unneeded hardship on voters.

Map of the 67 counties of the Commonwealth of ...

Map of the 67 counties of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Are all candidates for governor guilty of marginalizing the disabled and elderly?”

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This May 1, 2014 article on The Patriot-News website talks about an event in Philly that was to include a panel of people running for the office of Governor of Pennsylvania.  A mix

Tulip Closeup, Demuth Museum Garden, Lancaster...

Tulip Closeup, Demuth Museum Garden, Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Puzzler4879)

of Democrat and Republican candidates were invited, but in the end all the candidates didn’t make it to the even and only three Democrat candidates sent proxies in trying to keep their word.

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“Legislators debate Pa. block grant expansion”

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This March 16, 2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article talks about some of the debates and controversy that continues to evolve around the use of block grants for human services programs in Pennsylvania.

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“3 proposed changes to Medicare Part D you should know”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Medicaid administrator) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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This March 3, 2014 ydr.com article from York, PA talks about changes in Medicare Part D that people on Medicare should keep an eye on and be aware of.

 

 

 

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“Top Obamacare scribe calls Corbett plan ‘a sham'”

English: Tom Corbett at the McCain rally at th...

English: Tom Corbett at the McCain rally at the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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This December 15, 2013 article found on the Philly.com website talks about the Obama administration’s response to Governor Tom Corbett’s health care plan, specifically pointing out it includes items that go against the 2010 federal health care law.

 

 

“Congress addresses mental illness in wake of rampage”

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This March 6, 2013 article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website gives a glimpse into a recent hearing on mental illness and the treatment of folks who have a mental illness as well as the struggles families go through trying to get help for their loved ones.

 

 

“JFK Gives Mental Care Prescription”

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This February 5, 1963 article found in The Pittsburgh Press, vol. 79 number 323 on page 11, outlines JFK’s plans to reduce the cost of caring for folks with mental illnesses and mental retardation (currently known as intellectually disabled) by increasing spending on community based services.  Points made in the article include that it would cost less to treat someone in the community then it would to have them treated as an inpatient.

I post this particular article to show that the current battle being waged over human services funding is not a new one, but a rather old one.  It is a battle that while the names have changed, the arguments seem to have remained very much the same.  On one side there are those who feel that it is a waste of money to help those with mental health or intellectual disabilities, while at the same time there are those who are just as adamant that it is the right thing to do and a worthy cause to help folks with these sorts of diagnosis.

Is it possible that maybe we are running on a mouse wheel trying to come up with new answers to an old problem?  if so, should we maybe consider getting off the mouse wheel and look to see what else is out there that might work and be beneficial to both sides of the battle line.  The people getting hurt by the battle are those being fought over.  We get glimmers of hope from one side that get ripped away by the other side.

I’m seeing an overall improvment in the quality of the care I receive, but I also know that there are many who are falling through the cracks, because of funding cuts to community based services when people fall through these cracks, thats when the media pays attention and our society goes into a state of shock and disbelief while at the same time denying any responsibility for what happened.  I saw an article the other day that indicated the person who went on a shooting spree at Western Psych in Pittsburgh, PA had actually contacted Western Psych approximately 40 times for mental health reasons prior to the incident.  If this is true then that tells me that it isn’t just the person who committed the crime that is at fault, but I have to suggest that the system failed this person not neccesarily because Western Psych messed up, but because as a society we have underfunded human services programs to the point where waiting lists are the norm and people who are in critical need of help end up waiting for months to get the hep they need.  Most cases the person doesn’t go on a shooting spree, but the effects are still costly.  Someone who is depressed for example is at a high risk of comitting suicide, which if they succeed, will impact the person and everyone they know, and also create a ripple effect that effects others the person may not have known, but still there is an impact.  There is the lose of the individual, then the survivors may end up losing wages as well, because they had to take time off for funeral and grieving.  Because these people took time off, their employer may have lost business because the business may not have been able to run as efficiently during that time.  The ripples continue on and on.

While not every person with a mental illness is able to work a traditional 9 to 5 job, there are ways that they are able to give back to their community.  In my case, I write this blog, research the history of Warren State Hospital, I serve as secretary on a Consumer Advisory Board for my local mental health service provider, I occasionally write and publish articles.  Am I lazy?  Some may say I am, but if they got to know me, they would realize that even though I may not be holding down a jb, I am working towards the goal of being able to work.  I have an Anxiety disorder that makes it very challenging to do things like buy food without panicking.   A lot of what I do is in a very small fairly controlled realm and for me if I stay in that realm I function fairly well, but when I try, and I often do try, to step beyond my realm I start to have problems.  I have been expanding my world a little and in the past year have gone from feeling like I couldn’t leave my home without a purpose (like buying food) to where I am able to go for walks around my neighborhood and not feel like I have to have a purpose for leaving my home.  I still struggle a lot, new things scare me, even things that are good cause me to have problems.  I love computers, so I’m finding ways to use technology to help me overcome my anxiety.  Metaldetecting is one example of something I’ve done to help myself work on expanding my world a little.  I’m currently looking at trying geocaching while these are more like hobbies, to me, they are stepping stones, things I can do that allow me to use technology to help me get out of my home and into the world.  They also offer something I can use as a sort of “prop” to help me talk to others a little easier, which is something that I generally can’t do unless someone approaches me and initiates the conversation.  Technology that I’m using is such that I would not be allowed to use it if I were in a mental health facility as an inpatient, I would have to try to use whatever was available to me which may not be much in the way of things that are interesting to me, and help me to engage in conversation with others.  Being in the community and being able to try non-traditional methods of helping myself with the encouragement of the professionals that have been helping me,  has enabled my progress to keep moving forward, though like anyone I have good days and bad days, and the bad days make progress come to a screeching halt sometimes, but with the community supports I have in place, I am able to serve on a board, which is something that if you had suggested I try back when I was in my early 30’s I would have had a complete meltdown over the mere thought of trying something that important.

In closing I want to thank those who have been supportive of me and helped me face my ongoing challenges, but at the same time I hope that those who feel that fundiung the programs I utilize aren’t worthwhile, I hope that maybe something I shared here will help increase an understanding of what has been helpful to me and take away the idea that it costs less for me to be in the community with my support system then it does for me to be in a facility as an inpatient.

JFK was just one of many who have seen that it was more cost effective for folks to be treated in the community, maybe it’s time for others to wake up and see that there might be some truth to it and that cutting funding to these programs is detrimental to not only my success but also the success of many others.

“Vote for America’s Mental Health in 2012”

 

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This page on the Mental Health America or more commonly known as MHA website offers a variety of information geared towards the mental health community explaining things like voter id and other voting related topics.  It’s a great starting point for folks who either have never voted or maybe voted, but want to learn a little more before they vote again.

 

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