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Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association

Articles

  • 10 Sep 2020 4:34 PM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)


    Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration, members of the General Assembly, and Prevent Suicide PA today recognized World Suicide Prevention Day and National Suicide Prevention Month and released Pennsylvania’s Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan. The plan, which was developed by the state’s Suicide Prevention Task Force, is a four-year strategy to reduce suicide in Pennsylvania by fighting stigma, increasing training and education on suicide and mental health, improving data collection for suicide, and supporting clinical practices and treatment to prevent suicide and help those who are struggling or in crisis know that things can and will get better.

    “Too often, shame and stigma prevent someone from talking openly about suicide, but mental health difficulties and personal crises can touch all of us. Suicide can be extremely isolating for attempt survivors and loss survivors, so it is important to know that you are not alone. We all have a role to play in supporting people in crisis and preventing suicide. If you or someone you know has struggled with mental health or suicidal thoughts, we encourage you to reach out. Help is available,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “I am incredibly proud of the work every person on the task force did to create the Suicide Prevention Plan. This was a large undertaking and underscored the importance of collaboration between many groups to achieve such a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. This is an important step, and this plan will help save lives across Pennsylvania.”

    "Suicide is a complex policy problem that requires complex solutions,” said Representative Mike Schlossberg. “This task force created this plan based on input from survivors, family members and professional from across the state. One suicide is too high. Thousands are tragedies. We need to do whatever we can to address this crisis.”

    September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and September recognized as National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the country, claiming more than twice as many lives each year as homicide. In Pennsylvania, 2,017 people completed suicide in 2018 (up from 1,272 suicides in 1999), reflecting a 43.3 percent increase in the age-adjusted suicide rate. Approximately 1.4 million adults attempt suicide annually in the United States, with more than 85 percent reporting having made a suicide plan prior to their attempt. Throughout September, we remember those lost to suicide and support loss and suicide attempt survivors and all who experience suicidal ideation every day. We must build an open dialogue around suicide so anyone who is struggling can discuss what they are experiencing and feel safe, supported, and know that help is available.  

    In 2019, the Wolf Administration announced the formation of a statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force comprised of leadership from Prevent Suicide PA, members of the General Assembly, and the departments of Human Services (DHS), Health (DOH), Corrections (DOC), Aging (PDA), Education (PDE), Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), Transportation (PennDOT), Agriculture (PDA), Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). Because suicide is so far-reaching, this diverse array of expertise is necessary to build a comprehensive prevention plan.

    From late August through early December 2019, the task force held 10 listening sessions across Pennsylvania. More than 800 Pennsylvanians shared their stories of how suicide and mental health difficulties impact their lives and communities and made recommendations to inform the task force as they developed the statewide plan.

    In January 2020, the task force released an initial report, which included key themes heard during the task force listening sessions. The goals and objectives of the task force were refined based on public feedback. 

    The final Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan lays out the task force’s findings into actionable themes with eight specific goals and objectives:

    • Goal 1: Reduce stigma and promote safety, help-seeking, and wellness by increasing suicide awareness and prevention education.
    • Goal 2: Promote trauma-informed approaches to support all Pennsylvania residents as part of our suicide prevention efforts by coordinating with Pennsylvania’s Trauma-Informed Care Task Force.
    • Goal 3: Provide quality training on the prevention of suicide and management of suicide risk across multiple sectors and settings.
    • Goal 4: Promote screening to identify individuals at risk for suicide across sectors, including health care, behavioral health, educational and correctional settings.
    • Goal 5: Promote and implement effective clinical and professional practices for assessing and treating those identified as at risk for suicidal behaviors.
    • Goal 6: Provide trauma-informed care and support to individuals affected by suicide deaths or attempts to promote healing.
    • Goal 7: Promote safety among individuals with identified suicide risk, including firearms safety and awareness of the relationship between opioids and other substances to increased risk of suicide.
    • Goal 8: Improve the capacity to utilize data reporting systems relevant to suicide and improve the ability to collect, analyze, and use the information in a timely manner so we can inform further suicide prevention efforts.

    Moving forward, the task force will continue working with stakeholders at the local, regional, and state levels to support and monitor the implementation of the plan, and will begin with developing measurable, achievable action items. 

    “Before suicide, there is stress, depression, and other treatable triggers. My hope is to build a community where we normalize addressing stressors before suicidal thoughts appear,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The Department of Agriculture is at this table because the Ag community can be more susceptible to depression and suicide. Farmers face stress and very little change of scenery. We live where we work, and it can feel like we are in a silo with no way out. Just as animals and crops demand tending, our own physical and mental health require our attention. I’ve found comfort in learning that most people can get better. The hard part is asking for help. If you feel depressed or have a numbness of emotions, you are not alone. With treatment, you can feel joy again.”

    “Our roadways connect people to work, school, and recreation and we want everyone to arrive safely,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We are proud to be members of this Task Force and contribute to its important efforts.” 

    “The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is proud of the work of the Suicide Prevention Task Force.  Suicide prevention is very relevant to us because of our role in advocating for and serving older Pennsylvanians who are more prone to social isolation and depression than any other age group.  Because of their vulnerability, older adults are at a much higher risk of suicide as they age,” said Aging Secretary Robert Torres. “The Department of Aging has resources that can help older adults who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.  We look forward to working with our many partners to implement this plan and help prevent cases of older adult suicides in the commonwealth.”

    “The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) has made suicide awareness and prevention a key priority, especially since veterans are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than Americans who never served in the military,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general and head of the DMVA. “We are committed to working every day with our community partners toward the common goal of reducing suicide across the spectrum to zero. We are grateful for the opportunity to join with other state agencies to raise awareness to help save lives and make a difference within our families.”

    “The conversation about preventing veterans suicide, is the same conversation about increasing meaningful supports, rapid access to robust resources, a genuine appreciation of military service and family support, leaving a veteran feeling dignified and filled with hope when they look for help and the normalization of talking about mental health challenges,” said James Stafford, Certified Peer Specialist at Supportive Services for Veteran Families. 

    If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal ideation or have in past, know that help is always available:

    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
    • The Spanish-language National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-888-628-9454
    • For the Mental Health Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
    • Support and Referral Helpline: 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

    These free resources are available 24/7. If you are concerned about someone else’s well-being, these resources can help you be a life-saving assistance. No matter what you are going through, help is available. 

    “Suicide does not discriminate and has the ability to impact people from all walks of life. The significance of Pennsylvania unveiling a comprehensive suicide prevention plan which included input from those in our communities most affected cannot be overstated. By bringing together leadership from numerous state agencies and organizations to address our need to better prevent suicide, we have taken a monumental step to extend our prevention efforts beyond the mental health system and examine a true public health approach. Prevent Suicide PA was proud to be part of this collaboration and looks forward to working with state representatives on its implementation,” said Dr. Matthew Wintersteen, executive board member of Prevent Suicide PA. 

    Read the final report of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Suicide Prevention Plan here. Members of the public can submit feedback on the plan at RA-PWSuicidePreventn@pa.gov.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James, DHS – ra-pwdhspressoffice@pa.gov
  • 3 Jun 2020 9:52 AM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)

    MHPC Announcement:

    Behavioral Health Telehealth Survey for Individuals and their Families

     

    The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is seeking input from individuals who have received behavioral health services and their families on their experiences with telehealth during COVID19 to guide the future of behavioral health telehealth in Pennsylvania.  An online survey will be available through Monday June 22, 2020 at:

     

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19-Expansion-Future-for-BHTelehealth-PA-Medicaid-Program

     

    Questions regarding the survey or behavioral health telehealth in Pennsylvania can be directed to: RA-PWTBHS@pa.gov

    Dear Peer Specialists,

    My name is Martha Barbone and I am Interim Director of Operations for iNAPS. We are collaborating with Wallis Adams at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University to conduct a study to better understand how the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic has impacted the work and volunteer lives of peer specialists in the US.

    I am writing to invite all peer specialists (including peer supporters, peer support providers, peer coaches, etc.) to participate in the online survey that has been constructed by the Center and iNAPS. The survey will take approximately 15-30 minutes. Participation is completely voluntary and your answers will be anonymous. The survey information will be sent directly to the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation for them to analyze and to describe the findings. We will report the findings back to you through email or a newsletter.

    If a participant would like to provide their email address, they can enter a random drawing where 10 participants will win a $50 gift certificate to Amazon. The Center will be randomly selecting 10 winners after the survey closes.

    If you are willing to help us out with this important research, please follow the link here: https://protect2.fireeye.com/url?k=1b3baaec-476fb390-1b3b9bd3-0cc47adc5fa2-cb504f73e1e7dd55&u=https://bostonu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6rPQh6cUpqaoPdj

    There will also be an opportunity to complete a second, follow-up survey in approximately 3 months. Participation in that second survey is completely voluntary, and completing this first survey doesn’t mean that you have to complete the second one.

    Please feel free to forward this survey to peer specialists and peer organizations that you know! That way, we can get a better sense of what changes are occurring.

     

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the person conducting the survey (Dr. Adams) at weadams@bu.edu.

  • 10 Apr 2020 11:18 AM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)

    Check out PA Care Partnership's Facebook to stay up to date with them!

    https://www.facebook.com/PACarePartnership


    The decision was made to cancel the Mental Health Awareness Day event in Harrisburg, PA and change it into a virtual event later in the month.

     

    We are going virtual!

    We will be celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week(!) virtually during the week of May 18th. Through the week, we will be publishing on Facebook and YouTube speakers we had scheduled and youth and family resources.

     

    Save the Week!

    More about the virtual event will be arriving in your emails and Facebook page and we look forward to sharing with you all during the week of May 18th.

  • 3 Apr 2020 11:35 AM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)

    Are you feeling lonely? Are you feeling anxious?

     

    The Statewide Support & Referral Helpline is staffed by skilled and compassionate staff that are available 24/7 to respond to those struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to the COVID-19 emergency. Staff at the Helpline refer callers to community-based resources that can further help to meet individual needs.

    The toll-free, round-the-clock support line is officially operational. The number to call is 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600.

    The Helpline was created by the Department of Human Services DHS and the Center for Community Resources (CCR). Helpline staff are trained to be accessible, culturally competent, and skilled at assisting individuals in the ID/A community as well as anyone else who might have a need – teens, adults, special populations and their supporters. Staff use the principles of trauma-informed care to listen, assess needs, triage calls, and provide appropriate referral to community resources to children, teens, adults and special populations.


    CCR will collaborate with individuals, families, police, emergency medical teams, hospitals, schools, and human service providers on the local level to provide quality care to their community members.

     

    Many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:

    • ·         National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • ·         Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
    • ·         Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
    • ·         Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • ·         Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
    • ·         Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
    • ·         Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline – 1-888-772-7227
    • ·         National Domestic Violence Helpline – 1-800-799-7233

    Visit the PA Department of Health’s dedicated Coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

    To access ODP-specific information, visit ODP’s Coronavirus Page at: https://www.myodp.org/mod/page/view.php?id=26808.

  • 25 Mar 2020 1:34 PM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)

    Hello Friends and Members,

    We wanted to take this time to reach out and make you aware of resources that continue to be available. Please follow the links below for detailed, up-to-date information about COVID-19, the Governor’s response and helpful links.


    Home Together

    PA Parent and Family Alliance

    Unique Journeys | Powerful Voices

    The PA Parent and Family Alliance has compiled useful resources for families and providers across the state.

    Currently the list has over 200 resources in areas such as education, mental wellness, work, necessary services, art, relaxation, and much more. The list will continue to grow. 

    Check it out and feel free to share the link with anyone you think would find it useful.

    www.paparentandfamilyalliance.org/hometogether-resources

    Visit their recent blog post:

    We’re Going to Get Through This and We’ll Be With You Every Step of the Way

    www.paparentandfamilyalliance.org/blog

     

    Learn more about the PA Parent and Family Alliance:

    www.paparentandfamilyalliance.org/who-we-are

  • 22 Nov 2019 12:00 PM | Anthony Pascarella (Administrator)

    Hello PMHCA Family, Future Family, and Guests!

    First let me welcome you to the new homepage and website of PMHCA! 

    I ask your patience as I work diligently to continue to transfer over content and information from the old site to the new one. I also hope to implement some newer features to the site as a whole. 

    I thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the new site!

    Your truly
    Anthony Pascarella

About the association

PMHCA is a state-wide member organization dedicated to the support of all people who seek aid for recovery from a mental illness at any stage in their journey. PMHCA provides resources, referrals, and support to those receiving services or in recovery from a mental illness. 

2019 Fiscal Year Federal Form 990

2020 Annual Report to the Membership

 

Contacts

PMHCA@pmhca.org
717-564-4930 or 1-800-887-6422
4105 Derry Street, Harrisburg, PA 17111



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