Abuse by School Employees: A Survey for Pennsylvania Families and Advocates
Senator Wayne G. Fontana, together with 30 co-sponsors, has introduced Senate Bill 1243, which would ensure greater protections for children in Pennsylvania who are victims of abuse by school employees. And the Disability Rights Network (DRN), strongly in favor of the bill, is surveying families and advocates for children abused by a school employee about their experiences. Please take a moment to complete this survey. Read More
Join Mental Health Association Allegheny County for Walk for a Healthy Community
Now is the time to register to participate with Mental Health America-Allegheny County in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community on Saturday, May 22 2010 at Schenley Park, Flagstaff Hill in Pittsburgh. Read more
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital comes to Pittsburgh in September (1-30)
What was it like to spend years in a mental institution, shut away from a society that wanted to distance itself from people it considered insane?
Visit The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital, an exhibition of personal patient artifacts left behind in their suitcases after the closure of Willard Psychiatric Center in New York. The exhibition brings the stories of the suitcase owners and a patient-centered view of the history of psychiatry to a wider audience across the country. Read more
Join the Mental Health Association of the Capital Region, Inc. for its May Festival of Hope
Festival of Hope - Two Events: Tribute Dinner and Golf Scramble Tournament. Read more
Stigma Keeps Some Latinos From Depression Treatment
A new, small study of low-income, depressed Latinos finds that those who stigmatize mental illness are less likely than others are to take medication, keep scheduled appointments, and control their condition. Read more
Mental Health Parity: Learn more and share your story
On January 1, 2010, the groundbreaking Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) (also knows as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008) went into effect. Read more
Health Care Reform Law Will Help People Living with Mental Illness
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). The Mental Health Association in PA joins mental health advocates across the nation in applauding this groundbreaking legislation. Read more
Five Organizations Receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Ten Honored for Best Practices
Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance are best positioned for success in the economic recovery, the American Psychological Association reported at its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony this weekend. APA recognized five organizations for their comprehensive efforts to promote employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance. Read more
Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) Holds Behavioral Risk in the Workplace conference
The DMEC’s 5th annual Behavioral Risk in the Workplace conference, taking place April 21 - 23, 2010, in Minneapolis, will focus on cost containment in a new economy. The three-day conference will provide real-world examples of best practices as well as emerging strategies that can minimize the costs of behavioral risk in the workplace. Learn more
Mental Health Advocates and Community Providers Support Allentown State Hospital Closing
The mental health advocacy and provider communities in Pennsylvania support the decision by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to close Allentown State Hospital (ASH), an institution for people who have mental illnesses. Read more
Wharton Professor blogs on the the hidden cost of mental illness
Total Leadership, blog, 12/03
One of the least discussed yet quite salient issues for American business in this year of health care reform is an important yet hidden cost associated with mental illness: the drain on productive work endured by family members struggling to support loved ones who suffer from such diseases. The good news for business leaders is that it’s not hard to do something to help and thus feel good while improving company culture and morale, as well as your bottom line. Read>
Protect Mental Health Services
5/14/09: Last week the PA State Senate passed a budget bill (SB 850) that would slash the community and state hospital budgets. Specifically, the budget makes the following cuts:
- Community mental health budget is reduced by $9.789M; this cut is in addition to the Governor’s proposed 2% decrease. State hospitals are also funded under this allocation.
- Behavioral Health Services Initiative (BHSI) is reduced by 24 percent ($13M)
This means services will be cut off to many individuals and individuals seeking services for the first time will be turned away. For more details click here.
What You Can Do:
- Click here to send a letter to your legislators.
- Members of the House and Senate are out of session until June1st — this is the perfect time to schedule appointments in their district offices to outline the devastating impact of SB850. To find legislator contact information click here. Talking points are provided here.
Over the next 30 days we will be asking you to take part in a campaign that will include visiting, writing and calling your legislators, participating in a state-wide call in day and a post-card mail-in effort. Stay tuned.
- With Phillies, fightin' to help the mentally ill (Phila. Inquirer, 4/30). Maani is the Phillies' graphic artist. Her latest work hangs in left field, the "HK" that honors the late announcer Harry Kalas.
She's hoping to get another message in front of the fans. For 19 years, she lived with a loved one suffering from schizophrenia. The Phillies made this pitch: Sell 500 seats to a game this season and we'll host a Mental Health Awareness Night. Click here to read.
- Perceptions about mental illness do not match reality (McClatchy News Service, 4/9)
- A Plea for the Dignity of Psychiatric Patients - A Talk with Judi Chamberlain (Boston Globe, 3/22). "I think there's still a tremendous amount of social stigma. ... there's a reluctance on the part of people who've had a psychiatric past but have become successful in life to identify themselves publicly..." Click here to read.
- People with Schizophrenia Say Bias is Part of Their Lives. (U.S. News & World Report, 1/21). People with schizophrenia often expect to be discriminated against, and are, in various aspects of their life, new research finds. Click here to read.
- A Life of Promise, Frustration and Tragedy. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/30). A heartbreaking tale of a boy and his family. Discusses stigma, issues with insurance and finding the proper mental health care. Click here to read.
- Mayview State Hospital: Last reminder of a lost era closes. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 12/28). "What we know today about people who have mental illness is that they really do much better, they recover much better in an environment that is inclusive of the community and that they get other kinds of supports and services in the community that were not able to be duplicated in this environment because of its isolation from the community." Click here to read.
- MHAPA Hails Approval of Parity Legislation! The legislation bans employers and insurers from imposing stricter limits on coverage for mental health and substance-use conditions than those set for other health problems. It will provide parity for 82 million Americans covered by self-insured plans and another 31 million in plans that are subject to state regulation. For more information.
- Mental Health Poll Reveals Stigma (BBC News). "Nine out of ten people with mental health problems in England say they are frequently stigmatised - often by those closest to them, a survey has found."
- House Approves Bill for Mental Health Parity
(New York Times)
"After more than a decade of struggle, the House on Wednesday passed a bill requiring most group health plans to provide more generous coverage for treatment of mental illnesses, comparable to what they provide for physical illnesses." Read article here.
- Healing a troubled mind takes more than a pill
"This leads us to the final lesson I've learned: Treatment is most effective when the patient is in charge and the ultimate expert in his or her own recovery. There is evidence that when patients feel in control, the results of treatment are better. Treatment works best when the doctor or therapist acts as a kind of expert consultant. As Home Depot puts it: 'You can do it, we can help.'" Read article here.
- "Lobotomist" Serves as Warning
"One of the most horrifying medical treatments of the 20th century was carried out not clandestinely, but with the approval of the medical establishment, the media and the public. Known as the transorbital or "ice pick" lobotomy, the crude and destructive brain-scrambling operation performed on thousands of psychiatric patients between the 1930s and 1960s was touted as a cure for mental illness."
Read article here.
- Caged in China: Parents Grapple with Mentally Ill
"In the cities, where incomes and awareness of mental illness have increased, some progress is being made. But in rural China, patients suffering from schizophrenia are largely left to their own devices. Families consult witch doctors in search of cures and, in extreme cases, will sometimes cage their own children with the tacit, and sometimes explicit, consent of local officials and police."
Read article here.
- Depression Help Boosts Productivity
(Human Resource Executive)
"A study suggests that offering assistance to depressed employees results in a positive return on investment. But, first, companies must work to overcome the stigma of mental illness, experts say." (OMOD quoted.)
Read article here.
- Latinos Shun Help for Mental Health Problems
(New America Media)
"… many of us do not seek appropriate treatment due to the stigma attached to these psychiatric illnesses"
Read article here.
- The sanity of hiring the mentally ill
(San Francisco Chronicle)
"Employers will say, 'I'm not sure about hiring employees with mental health disabilities,'" he says. "What I try to tell them is that they have hired people with mental health disabilities. If you put out a Craigslist ad, you don't know anything about the person you're hiring. If you work with us, we know pretty much everything about the people we refer."
Read article here.
- Young people help their peers fight the stigma
of mental illness
"The stigma associated with mental illness can be difficult for anyone to bear. For youth, it can be crippling."
Read article here.
- Specifics key to tackling mental health stigma: study
A forum on mental illness in Sydney has heard that tackling the stigma starts with talking about specific mental conditions.
Read article here.
- Speak Up, and Sign On, for Parity Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association, is asking people to sign on to its Vision for Change. That vision includes elimination discrimination in accessing mental health care. Click here to view and sign.