Farewell, Joseph and Susan!

Two titans of our world, Joseph and Susan Rogers retired from MHP today, June 29, 2018.  We celebrate this new chapter in each of their lives and are humbled and grateful for the decades of advocacy, leadership and powerful change that they authored not only for themselves, but alongside thousands of individuals living with a mental health condition.  Together, they insisted that we believe in hope, that our belief required action and then paved the way for us to build a bridge to hope -- through peer support, community inclusion, and demanding a seat at the table. Today, because of their work, thousands of people diagnosed with a mental health condition are living the lives they had always imagined for themselves.

Thank you, Joseph and Susan!  We wish you the best!

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Our Statement on Family Separation

Mental Health Partnerships (MHP) is shocked and horrified by the atrocities and human rights violations happening to families and children attempting to cross the United States southern border. Michael Brody, President and CEO of MHP, released the following statement in response:

“The traumatic events that the children and families are experiencing will impact their mental, physical and emotional health for years to come. Separating young children from their families, and forcing them to live in cages, will have long lasting effects on the parent-child relationship, and the children’s ability to form attachments. Extensive research shows the negative impact that trauma and toxic stress have on the brain despite the resilience of children, including experiencing symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Poor People's Campaign

The Poor People's Campaign is a continuation of the nonviolent action started by Martin Luther King Jr. fifty years ago. He and others invited people who had been divided to stand together against the “triplets of evil”—militarism, racism, and economic injustice—to insist that people need not die from poverty in the richest nation ever to exist. 

In 2018, hundreds of organizations and thousands of people have gathered together to stand against poverty and inequality, ecological devastation, systemic racism and the war economy and militarism. May started the beginning of 40 days of moral nonviolent action in over 40 state capitals across the country. The campaign will end on June 23rd in Washington D.C. in a mass rally to Stand Against Poverty. 

Learn more about the campaign and how to become involved at https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org

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Ned Redmond
2017 Annual Report

See what we accomplished together!

The hope-building we do, together with our many partners, is not something that’s easily defined, measured, and evaluated. Nor is it easily shared with people secondhand. That doesn’t mean we won’t keep trying to show the impact of hope in action. Indeed, the data and the myriad stories from our partners are both the result of and source for hope.

As an organization and movement built on hope and great achievements, it’s no surprise we look toward 2018 with such anticipation.

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What Philly drug users are teaching us about solving the overdose crisis

Mental Health Partnerships, a city-contracted nonprofit that provides behavioral health services, has conducted their outreach and survey efforts in Kensington’s homeless camps. While those results are not yet published, the organization’s findings line up with the health department’s survey, said Stephanie Jamison, MHP’s organizational learning and development manager.

“The housing crisis is a health crisis,” Jamison said. “The survey indicates that 59 percent of respondents have recently participated in drug treatment,” Jamison said. “Providers need to make stable housing a central focus of their treatment and support services. No one should be discharged from an inpatient or residential treatment setting without a solid plan for stable housing.”

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MHP's Own Kathy Laws Receives Montgomery County Mental Health Award

Kathy Laws (Family & Youth) was the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Robert H. Miller Award, given annually to one individual "who has made a long term commitment to the field and whose involvement, service and contributions to the improvement of the quality of life of persons with mental illness is noteworthy and exceptional." Kathy was recognized for her passion, advocacy, and trail-blazing efforts on behalf of Families and Youth.

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City Moves People Out of Homeless Camps

The city moved people out from the homeless encampments in Kensington Wednesday as part of a program to fix the area's opioid epidemic. Those living there were offered shelter and treatment programs.

Source: https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/City-Moves-People-Out-of-Homeless-Camps_Philadelphia-484114781.html Published Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | Credit: Miguel Martinez-Valle

https://youtu.be/R9cwjgXSjxo

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We listen. We are you. Videos seen at MHP's Bell of Hope Awards 2018

MHP's programs are successful because our staff truly listen and respond to the needs of our participants.  Check out “Anne & Ebony’s” story of how true partnership can be a life altering force.

We are so proud that over 60% of our staff have lived experience!  Peer support means that our participants have access to individuals who understand their struggles, their choices, their victories!  Check out our “I was YOU” video to meet some of the truly special individuals who help MHP make a difference in the lives of individuals who are walking their path to recovery.

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Those closest to the problem are closest to the solution

"To fully understand the complexities of the growing opioid epidemic, we as a society must begin to engage one another without excluding those who are closest to the problem.  People who are experiencing homelessness, active addiction from a substance use disorder and mental health challenges need to be at the table. We must consider those who are struggling with these challenges as subject matter experts when we invite them to the table to focus on solutions towards ending homelessness and with fighting the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia, such as exploring the expansion of low-barrier non-abstinence housing first programs."

Evan Figueroa-Vargas is a Board Member at Pathways to Housing PA, as well as a homeless service provider at Mental Health Partnerships

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Debate over Philly’s safe injection site plan gets personal

When Darlene La Torre wakes up in the morning, there’s a good chance her husband of five years will want to kick off the day debating how to address the opioid crisis. And whether Philadelphia’s controversial proposal to open a supervised safe injection facility is a good idea.

Once at work, she’ll likely get an email or text from him linking to a study or article on the merits of such a site. When she gets home, she knows he’ll be poised to follow up. And if not then, then perhaps at 2 a.m.

“He wakes up and goes to the bathroom, and I just do the slightest move, and he’s like, ‘So yeah, I was thinking about this and that.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m trying to sleep right now!’ ” La Torre said.

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Hill provides Hopes and Dreams in Dover

While Ms. Hill is more than happy to help homeless people get out of the cold during the daytime hours in the chill of winter, her mission runs much deeper than that.

“Peer support is what we do,” she said. “A lot of people need peer support and need somebody to listen and we can be that person. We have different support groups that we offer. We specialize in peer services, so we offer different support groups, such as an employment group, and do some different activities, arts and crafts, music and things like that.

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DIY livestream gives Kensington users a voice at opioid community forum

Monday night’s community forum on the opioid epidemic was a bit of a hike from Kensington, one of the Philly neighborhoods where drug use is most prevalent.

The meeting was held at CORA Services, a Fox Chase community center. It’s about 10 miles from the intersection of Emerald Street and East Lehigh Avenue — that’s 30 minutes driving, about an hour if you take SEPTA.

Still, at that intersection, an estimated 40 people living under the bridge heard the speakers of the night loud and clear. Evan Figueroa-Vargas made sure of it.

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Why help isn’t only a ‘yes’ away

“Meet people where they’re at” is a phrase frequently used by those who practice harm reduction. It means working with people with substance use disorder, even if they are unable or unwilling to stop, to reduce the risks and the negative consequences. Medication-assisted treatment, needle exchanges and safe injection sites are some of the well-known examples.

Sofronski uses harm reduction strategies in her work as an advocate with Mental Health Partnerships in the Delaware Valley, and while doing outreach in encampments like Kensington.

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Philadelphia recruiting residents to fight opioid epidemic

The City of Philadelphia is recruiting residents to help in fighting the opioid epidemic.
The city health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced a new awareness campaign on Tuesday morning.
The city is urging the public to carry Naloxone, an opioid antidote commonly known by the brand name Narcan, in an effort to reduce overdose deaths citywide.
"We had 1,200 deaths from drug overdose. Many of these can be saved because, probably half or more, there's a witness nearby," said Farley.

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Trump Wants More Asylums — and Some Psychiatrists Agree

'In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., President Trump has called repeatedly for building or reopening mental institutions.

...

“It is hard to describe the smell,” said Joseph Rogers, 66, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, who spent stretches of up to six months on locked wards, mostly in Florida, after a psychotic episode at age 19.'

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