We Want Your Feedback!

On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the US Department of Labor. The draft of this definition was presented at the Annual Conference in December and we received much valuable feedback.

We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition so that we can move forward with submission.

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Janine Weeks
Gonzalez Named 2019 Recipient of Individual Artist Fellowship

WILMINGTON, DE — Nearly eight years ago, Geraldo Gonzalez was frustrated that people didn’t take his art seriously. He’d faced rejection and misunderstanding with his technicolor drawings of public transit vehicles. Eight years later, Gonzalez has exhibited art at the Delaware Contemporary, the Delaware Art Museum and many other local venues.

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Janine Weeks
Removing encampments does not end the homelessness and addiction crises

Philadelphia, PA, January 30, 2019 – Mental Health Partnerships (MHP) reminds the public that the eradication of the Kensington encampments does not address the crises of homelessness and addiction.  We believe that everyone deserves a safe place to live and a choice in how they approach their recovery. We look forward to partnering with the City and collaborating agencies to make a positive impact on these crises.

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Janine Weeks
Accessing Treatment and MAT Provider List



Call 1-888-545-2600 24/7 365 days/year to gain assistance with accessing publicly funded Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment and services.

Community Behavioral Health (CBH) manages behavioral health services for Philadelphia residents enrolled in Medicaid and can also assist you if you are uninsured or not sure of your insurance coverage.

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Janine Weeks
January 2019 Key Update is Here

The January 2019 Key Update is now on the (virtual) newsstand: The Key Update

Read scary stuff: how dangerous psychiatric hospitals are still accredited, and how the FDA reclassified ECT equipment into a lower-risk category despite decades of advocacy to prevent it!

There are exciting webinars (one tomorrow—January 24—and two on January 29); a great technical assistance opportunity from BRSS TACS (deadline January 31 at 8 p.m. ET); the launch of the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems;

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Janine Weeks
Behavioral Health Commissioner: 100% MAT Availability in Philadelphia by January 1, 2020


For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Media Contact: Joel Avery, 215-917-1618

Behavioral Health Commissioner: 100% MAT Availability in Philadelphia by January 1, 2020

PHILADELPHIA – Behavioral Health Commissioner David T. Jones today announced that by January 1, 2020 individuals with opioid use disorder in Philadelphia will be able to access Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), the gold standard for treating opioid addiction, through any of the 80 residential drug treatment programs under contract with the city.

While some form of MAT is available now at most programs, the behavioral health department’s Community Behavioral Health (CBH) division issued, and is enforcing, a contract mandate to achieve 100% MAT availability throughout Philadelphia’s entire residential drug treatment system by the announced deadline. The behavioral health department has achieved 65 percent availability to date. Any residential program that does not make MAT available by January 1, 2020 will not have their provider agreement with CBH renewed.

“Medication-Assisted Treatment is the most effective treatment available for stabilizing an individual experiencing opioid withdrawal, curbing their cravings and preventing relapse,” said Commissioner Jones. “It’s helping us keep more people with opioid use disorder alive and in long-term sustainable recovery than any other form of treatment.”

MAT is the use of Methadone, Buprenorphine and Vivitrol in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling. It can reduce mortality rates among individuals with opioid use disorder by more than 50 percent. The behavioral health department, which spearheads addiction treatment for the city, has made expanding access to MAT and increasing its use and availability its top strategy in fighting back against the opioid crisis, which continues dominating Philadelphia’s spending on treatment for substance use disorder.

CBH, the public health insurance payer within the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), spent $83.7 million on opioid use disorder treatment in 2016 and $90.3 million in 2017. By comparison, CBH spent just under $30 million treating people for cocaine addiction in both 2016 and 2017 and did not exceed $27 million on treatment for alcoholism either year.

“When it comes to treating Philadelphians for any kind of substance use disorder, opioid use disorder continues to account for the lion’s share of our direct treatment costs making it even more critical for us to expand the use of MAT across the city,” Commissioner Jones said.

In addition to requiring 100% MAT availability by January 1, 2020, the behavioral health department added 3,000 MAT slots for opioid use disorder bringing the city’s total MAT capacity to 12,479 slots of which 23% or 2,900 are currently available – 1,070 available for Methadone and 1,836 for Buprenorphine and Vivitrol.

Perhaps equally impressive is that of the 453 health care professionals in Philadelphia who completed the necessary training to obtain a waver required to prescribe Buprenorphine for treating opioid use disorder, almost half – 217 – came through the DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings resulting in up to 21,700 Philadelphians gaining access to this highly effective medication. DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings are available to any doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners seeking to obtain their waver to prescribe Buprenorphine.

“We are seeing both the rate and the distinct number of individuals with opioid use disorder participating in Medication-Assisted Treatment increase as a direct result of our continued focus on expanding MAT access and availability across Philadelphia,” said Commissioner Jones.

A comparison of the third quarter across Fiscal Years 2015 through 2018 shows a 36 percent increase in the number of distinct individuals participating in MAT. An even more dramatic 83 percent increase is shown for the number of individuals receiving Buprenorphine over the same period.

To further expand access to, availability of and use of MAT in Philadelphia, DBHIDS, largely through its CBH division: * Deploys mobile access units daily to Kensington to bring community members addicted to opioids into treatment while maintaining a weekly presence at the mural arts Kensington Storefront.

* Removed barriers preventing people from accessing MAT including urine drug screenings, vital signs and prescriber letters while reducing the use of IDs for accessing treatment.

* Conducts warm handoffs to treatment at hospital emergency rooms since many survivors of overdose are transported to the ER.

* Provided funding for the expansion of Temple Episcopal Crisis Response Center, which will increase the hospital’s capacity to engage, assess and treat people with opioid use disorder.

* Provided funding for the city's first 24/7 opioid treatment unit, Access Point at NET, which offers MAT around-the-clock for immediate withdrawal stabilization enabling families to bring loved ones in for treatment the moment they say they’re ready.

* Conducted 26 two-day trainings to help clinicians completing assessments for opioid use disorder accurately determine the appropriate level of care for people on an individual basis.

* Conducts a monthly series supporting drug treatment programs in aligning substance use services with best practice and incentivizing them to enhance the quality of their substance use disorder screening, treatment and workforce.

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Janine Weeks
How To Create A Workplace That Supports Mental Health

Mental health can have a serious impact on a business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80% of adults with depression reported at least some difficulty with work, home, or social activities because of their depression symptoms.

Unfortunately, disorders like anxiety and depression often go undetected for months or years. Unlike physical illnesses, mental health issues are more challenging to pinpoint.

Even though mental health can often be a taboo topic, especially in the workplace, it appears that employees want their employer to champion mental health and well-being.

Read the full article here on Forbes.com.

Mental Health Partnership Facebook Page

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Janine Weeks
After confronting mental illness and addiction, he wants to help others. But one thing’s stopping him.

The bridge of hope is a human one, forged from the bravery and resilience of individuals like James Sherrick and Ken Miller. As the new CEO of Mental Health Partnerships, I am proud to lead an organization comprised of peers, exceptional individuals like James and Ken whose valuable lived experience allows MHP to support thousands of people in their recovery journey each year.

James and Ken have my deep respect not only for the tremendous work they are doing in our community, but for sharing some of the challenges to becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist. As the demand for Certified Peers continues to grow, we need to find ways to make trainings more accessible and this career path more sustainable. I applaud Aneri Pattani for highlighting both the great need for and the challenges facing peers who want to help someone else walk their path to recovery.
~Dr. Adriana Torres-O'Connor

Read the article on Philly.com here

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Janine Weeks
Drug And Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) Launch Announcement

On behalf of Governor Wolf’s Unified Opioid Command Center, I would like to let you know of a new online tool launching to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and supportive services for themselves or a loved one.

A team comprised of staff from the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Human Services worked together to create the Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) to centralize the ways to connect a person to drug and alcohol treatment as well as related support resources. The DART can be found at www.ddap.pa.gov/GetHelp.

The DART is a free, anonymous resource. Results are generated based on a person’s answers to the nine (9) questions included, and users may skip a question at any point. When they finish the questionnaire, they will be able to email, download, and/or print their results. The tool is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs listed in a person’s results.

Thank you for your continued support as we help Pennsylvanians affected by substance use disorder.


Lynn Kovich, Deputy Secretary
Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
Department of Human Services

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Janine Weeks
Nominate a Peer Worker for National Council for Behavioral Health Award of Excellence!

Are you a health care hero or do you know someone who is?

The National Council for Behavioral Health is looking for people, groups, and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions – through treatment, advocacy, leadership, management, and technology.

If you would like to submit a nomination, please use the newly streamlined form here, by Monday, January 7, 2019.

They are looking for nominations of exceptional individuals in the behavioral health settings, including Peer Support Workers.

Nominate yourself or a colleague, register for NatCon19, and grab your seats for the Awards of Excellence celebration, Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in beautiful and historic Nashville.

The Awards of Excellence will have it all – golden trophies, heartfelt speeches and top-notch entertainment. Why would you want to be anywhere else?

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Janine Weeks
OMHSAS Mental Health Training Survey - Serving Transgender/Non Conforming Individuals

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be making training available to county staff and providers in 2019 to enable their mental health services to better meet the needs of individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming. There will be both online and in-person opportunities with at least one in-person training targeted to each OMHSAS Region. 

The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is partnering with OMHSAS to develop this training specific to the needs of our mental health system. In order to ensure they appropriately meet staff needs, they have created a survey to gather feedback. If you would like to provide your input, the survey will be open through December 20, 2018

Share Your Thoughts - TAKE THE SURVEY

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AnnouncementZunair Fayaz
Bruce Springsteen opens up about his battles with depression: 'I know I am not completely well'

Bruce Springsteen is opening up about his mental health struggles.

In a new interview with Esquire, the rock star is candid in discussing two emotional breakdowns he suffered -- one when he was 32 and another when he was in his 60s.

"I have come close enough to [mental illness] where I know I am not completely well myself," said Springsteen, 69.

"I've had to deal with a lot of it over the years, and I'm on a variety of medications that keep me on an even keel; otherwise I can swing rather dramatically and ... just ... the wheels can come off a little bit. So we have to watch, in our family. I have to watch my kids, and I've been lucky there. It ran in my family going way before my dad."

Springsteen also spoke about his late father, Doug Springsteen, who wrestled with his own demons and was diagnosed with schizophrenia later in his life.

"All I do know is as we age, the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier ... 

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