Mental Health

The National Council Conference will be held Mon–Wed, April 23–25, 2018, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Washington, DC. This event is the health care industry’s foremost behavioral health conference. Each year, more than 5,000 leaders like you explore health care’s greatest innovations in practice improvement, financing, integrated health care, technology, policy and advocacy, and professional development at the National Council Conference. Pennsylvania is consistently among the most well represented groups from around the country.

Please register before Friday, December 1, 2017, to take advantage of a special preview rate. RCPA members are offered a more deeply discounted registration; please use the coupon code 18memberPA for an additional $225 in savings. Contact Richard Edley with any additional questions.

This year’s free training for supports coordinators, administrative entities, and employment service providers has started. Fifteen regional trainings — organized and paid for by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Office of Developmental Programs (ODP), Bureau of Special Education (BSE), and Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) — will give you access to, and the opportunity to collaborate with, your local county mental health/developmental services staff, local school special education staff, and vocational rehabilitation district office staff. You can attend!

The “Experience the Employment Connection (EEC) 2017” training has already begun. There is plenty of room for interested individuals at each regional session. While organizers were encouraging teams to participate, individuals can even if they are not part of a team. If you support transition-age students/youth with disabilities (primarily intellectual disability, autism, mental health, but also any other disability category), you are strongly encouraged to register.

EEC 2017 training content will include topics that impact educators, vocational rehabilitation professionals, service coordinators, providers, and the like. It will cover topics such as age of consent, legislation, pre-employment transition services, the OVR process, and waiver/non-waiver services through the ODP and the OMHSAS-funded county-based mental health system.

This training is approved for Continuing Education Credit for a variety of professionals and will count towards the 24-hour training requirement in ODP. Certificates of Attendance will be available to everyone who attends. More specific information is available online and also onsite.

  • Do you want to learn more about our systems and how they interact?
  • Do you work for a funding source for programs that support transition/employment for individuals with disabilities?
  • Can you offer insight into additional components that support successful transition?
  • Do you want to meet interagency colleagues who might be able to support you in your professional role?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, EEC 2017 might be for you as an individual! Please visit the EEC website to register today!

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ Children’s Bureau is hosting four regional meetings for family based providers during the month of October. If you plan to attend one of the four meetings, please use this link. Each provider is asked to register no more than two individuals. For programs with more than one family based site, please register each family based director and one agency administrator. Thank you in advance for taking advantage of this opportunity!

Early bird registration has been extended for the 2017 RCPA Conference, to be held at the Hershey Lodge, Tuesday to Friday, October 10–13. This is your last chance to take advantage of the discounted early bird rates! The deadline for early bird registration and discounted rates is now Wednesday, September 20. Please be sure to register by Wednesday to receive these special rates.

This year’s annual conference features a Keynote Address from Teresa Miller, newly named

DHS Secretary, as well as two plenary presentations; one from Jean Bennett of SAMHSA and also a panel discussion with Pennsylvania’s Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne, OLTL Deputy Secretary Jen Burnett, ODP Deputy Secretary Nancy Thaler, OMHSAS Acting Deputy Secretary Ellen DiDomenico, OMAP Deputy Secretary Leesa Allen, and DDAP Acting Deputy Secretary Jen Smith. The moderator for this panel will be Charley Curie, national consultant, past SAMHSA Administrator, and past OMHSAS Deputy Secretary. The conference also features over 70 workshops offering continuing education. New this year is the Executive Level Track of workshops. In addition, there are several networking receptions, an awards dinner, exhibit hall, and entertainment. Register here for early bird savings.

If more information or assistance is needed, please contact Sarah Eyster. We look forward to seeing you in October!

A significant number of “avoidable” visits to US emergency departments (EDs) are for mental health and alcohol problems, as well as dental problems, which the ED is not fully equipped to treat. Using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the researchers analyzed data on 424 million visits made to US EDs between 2005 and 2011 by patients aged 18 to 64 years. The researchers “conservatively” defined “avoidable” ED visits as discharged ED visits that did not require any diagnostic tests, procedures, or medications. The authors of the study from the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of California, San Francisco note that: “Emergency physicians are trained to treat life- and limb-threatening emergencies, making it inefficient for patients with mental health, substance abuse, or dental disorders to be treated in this setting.” The study was published online August 31 in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.

For practitioners, hospitals, and policymakers in Pennsylvania, reports like this and others raise the question: Where can these patients be best served in the community when urgent and emergency behavioral care services are not available in Emergency Departments? And also, how can communities and health care systems plan and practice whole person emergency care in an era of integrated and co-located physical and mental health care?

The draft of the 2018–2019 Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (CMHSBG) is now available for comment. This application was developed with stakeholder input from the Mental Health Planning Council; view/download the application here.

The application provides a review of the current strengths and needs in the Pennsylvania Mental Health System and plans priority areas for improvement.

Any comments or questions regarding the 2018–2019 CMHSBG may be directed to Wendy Tucker via email or phone at 717-705-8280. The comment period will close August 31.

In the interest of time, please feel free to submit comments to Wendy Tucker directly; however, we would be very interested in your input into the draft. Please copy Sarah Eyster or Robena Spangler with your comments. Thank you for your anticipated response to this opportunity.

The Pennsylvania Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) is sponsoring a free webinar on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm to promote strategies to increase meaningful employment outcomes for individuals living with significant mental health challenges. This webinar is part of the 2017 EFSLMP Community of Practice Webinar Series. The webinar will focus on lessons learned from research and hands-on experience.

Some questions that will be addressed during the webinar:

  • After years of detailed policy and legislation to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, why are the employment outcomes for persons with mental illness so low?
  • What are the lessons learned from the research; particularly evidence-based supported employment/individual placement and support?
  • How can our service systems and providers better empower persons with mental health (MH) labels to be in partnership with providers, advocates, and employers for sustainable employment outcomes and careers?

Presenter: Richard Toscano is nationally recognized on issues related to employment, rehabilitation, and recovery for persons labeled with significant disabilities. He has over 40 years of experience promoting meaningful employment outcomes from diverse perspectives, some of which include Community Development Director for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in the late 1970s; Founder and Executive Director of a private, nonprofit organization focusing on career development for persons with physical, mental health, and developmental disabilities through the 1980s and early 1990s; Public Service Faculty at University of Georgia / Institute on Human Development and Disability advancing employment initiatives during the mid-2000s; and National Trainer / Consultant to the Department of Veterans Affairs on the roll-out of Evidence-based Supported Employment for Veterans with serious mental illness. In addition to his technical assistance training and support to national projects, Rich is currently the Principal National Trainer, Fidelity Monitor, and Consultant to two significant studies on Evidence-based Supported Employment; one for Veterans with Spinal Cord Injuries and one for Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rich has also been a trainer on the development of state and regional resource support centers on Customized and Self Employment, US Department of Labor / Office of Disability Employment Policy initiatives to increase employment outcomes for persons with significant disabilities.

Who Should Participate? Program managers, employment specialists, job developers, job coaches, vocational counselors, educators, employment stakeholders, supports/service coordinators, self-advocates, and families.

You must register for the webinar. Questions can be emailed to Devon Grant, Executive Director for the Governor’s Cabinet for People with Disabilities, or call 717-783-4287. Recordings of past EFSLMP webinars and related resources can be found here.