A Day for Self-Advocates on Friday, May 3rd

A Day for Self-Advocates

To be held on Friday, May 3, 2013 between 9:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. at Pocono Inne Town, 700 Main Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360

This day is an opportunity for self-advocates from Carbon-Monroe-Pike Counties to share with other self-advocates and those who support them with what they need to live an Everyday Life.

Workshops will include:

Self-Advocacy and Freedom:  Clint Heisler will speak about his journey through life as a self-advocate.  Clint will be accompanied by his service dog, Freedom.

Pennhurst and Self Advocacy:  Tom Delmastro will discuss what life was like living at Pennhurst State School and Hospital and how his life changed when Pennhurst closed.

Stress Management:  Being a self-advocate can be stressful.  Becki Fahs from the Advocacy Alliance’s Eastern PA Health Care Quality Unit will discuss techniques to better manage stress and guide the audience through relaxation exercises.

Who Should Attend?

Individuals who have developmental disabilities, identify themselves as self-advocates, and wish to learn about the lives of other self-advocates.  Those who support persons who have developmental disabilities are also encouraged to attend.

You must register for this conference.

Seating is limited, so please respond early.  Call Toll Free: 877-315-6855 or email  jd@theadvocacyalliance.org.

Please register ASAP.

Resources to Help in Responding to Impact of Boston Marathon Explosions


Mental Health America Mourns Victims of Boston Marathon Explosions and Offers Resources to Help in Responding to Impact of Event

Statement of Wayne W. Lindstrom, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America:
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 15, 2013)—Mental Health America joins Americans in mourning the loss of those killed in today’s Boston Marathon explosions. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and hope for the full recovery of those who were injured and everyone who is affected by this horrific event.
At this point, we do not know the motivation behind this tragic and senseless act.
We do know that events like this will impact families, the community and the nation. Many may feel at risk and may experience feelings of anxiety and fear. Parents may be groping with how to discuss these and similar events with their children.
The National Disaster Distress Helpline is a 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week national service that offers phone- and text-based crisis counseling and support to people in distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster, to help them move forward on the path of recovery. You may reach the Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or by texting “TalkWithUs” or (“Hablanos” for Spanish-speaking) to 66746. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. The Helpline complements the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other disaster response capacities, and is available immediately anywhere within the United States. This service is provided under contract with SAMHSA by Mental Health America’s New York City affiliate.
Mental Health America has also developed guidelines to help Americans respond and cope with tragic events, which can be found at http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/information/coping-with-disaster.

Oppose Human Services Block Grant Expansion

thementalhealthassociationinpennsylvania.createsend1_Page_1Oppose Human Services Block Grant Expansion

On Monday, the House Health Committee will consider House Bill 461, which proposes increasing the number of counties piloting the Human Services Block Grant from 20 to 30.  We also expect the proposal of an amendment to expand the Block Grant to any willing county.

This is not okay, and we need to let legislators on the Health Committee know it. Contact your legislators today and urge them not to consider any expansion of the Human Services Block Grant program. (Click here to see a list of the Health Committee members. Contact the member of the committee who represents your district. If you are unsure of who your legislator is, find them here.)

When communicating with legislators:

  • Remind them that the Block Grant is a major shift in public policy that was designed and implemented with no stakeholder participation—and no consideration of the consequences.
  • ​Explain that a true pilot program would have been implemented in a small number of counties, with a well-designed plan for evaluating its success. The initial pilot started in July 2012 and has not yet been evaluated. Greater expansion doesn’t make sense when the program has not been in place long enough to know the results. ​It is critical that the initial 20-county Block Grant implementation be rigorously evaluated to determine whether its goals of flexibility and integrated services have been met. As a matter of sound public policy, only when success has been demonstrated should expansion be considered.
  • Let them know that the Block Grant breaks promises the Commonwealth made to its citizens to provide and maintain community mental health services after the closure of state institutions. Approximately 73 percent of the Block Grant is comprised of funds previously dedicated to community-based behavioral health services. Moving these funds into a Block Grant, where they can be used for other programs, breaks these promises and puts the behavioral health system infrastructure in jeopardy.  It also puts individuals without access to community-based supports at risk of homelessness, incarceration, and being “dumped” into emergency rooms.

Speak out today! It is critical that legislators hear from you no later than Monday morning. Let them know that you oppose the Block Grant expansion.

Lackawanna County FREE Youth Mental Health First Aid

FREE Youth Mental Health First Aid

May 22 (1:00 pm – 5:00 pm) and May 23 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm)

Lackawanna College, Scranton

jb_YouthMHFA_Notice_Scranton_Page_1Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly — teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Youth MHFA is an 8-hour course that uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care. More information can be found at http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/coming-soon-youth-mental-health-first-aid.


Ten Questions To Ask Your Doctor

From NPR

Ten Questions To Ask Your Doctor

By Scott Hensley

It’s so hard anymore to get time with anyone — especially your doctor. So you really need to be prepared to make the most of each appointment.

Take heart. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has come up with a cheat sheet you can bone up on or even take with you to help during the visit.

Now, it’s true that some doctors wince when patients show up with sheafs of Internet printouts. But, as the AHRQ points out, a good conversation between doctor and patient can make a big difference in the quality of care. So don’t be bashful.

Plus, it would be pretty hard for anyone to argue that the standard questions suggested by AHRQ aren’t reasonable and relevant.

So, here we go:

  1. What is the test for?
  2. How many times have you done this procedure?
  3. When will I get the results?
  4. Why do I need this treatment?
  5. Are there any alternatives?
  6. What are the possible complications?
  7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
  8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
  9. Are there any side effects?
  10. Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking?

Of course, everybody’s situation is different. So AHRQ has a handy online tool to build a question list that’s tailored to your appointment and needs.

In any event, don’t be afraid to ask about the cost of the treatment or test your doctor recommends. Depending on what you find out, go right ahead and haggle over the price or ask about less expensive options. You might be surprised by what you can get.

Finally, even after all these years I can’t help myself from asking, “Is this going to hurt?”