Monthly Archives: January 2015

Learning while Incarcerated at MCCF

Administrator’s Note: Community Advocates conducts a justice and recovery class called “It’s T.I.M.E.” at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. The 13-week class provides education and support for individuals who have mental health and justice related issues. It focuses on “Thinking, Identifying, Making changes and Entering a new life” through peer-to-peer education, resources and community reentry plans. Periodically, we ask students to write down their thoughts about the class.

Dear Community Advocates

I just wanted to take this time to sit and write and thank the Community Advocates who take their time to reach out and offer a helping hand to those of us who are in jails and institutions who are simply forgotten about, or who are looked down upon just b/c we’ve made a mistake or bad choice that put us away from our families. I personally appreciate the classes offered here to us which teach us more about our illness’s that most of us face. Whether its to help get back on the right medication’s or to teach us technique’s on how to make better choices so are distorted thinking doesn’t come into play. This way once we are released back into the community we have the resources as well as the knowledge to help better our lifestyle.

For me, since taking the Community Advocates class I’ve learned more about myself and my illness that I face on daily basis. I’ve learned that I have to speak up and be an Advocate for myself and communicate with others when I’m having a problem or a bad day. I understand and realize that I need my med’s and that there not to hurt me but they were prescribed to help me better control my illness. I also learned that my community offers a lot of programs like (Community Advocates) to help me with my issues so I don’t continue down the same destructive path that keeps me coming back to jails and institutions. I am grateful to the (Community Advocates) and Mr. John “JB” Brooks who take the time to help those of us who are in need of help and wanting to change and not continuing to live an un-healthy lifestyle. I truly believe this program works, but only if you’re ready and willing to better yourself as well as your lifestyle.




Hopemarket Testimonial by Sandra Webster

My name is Sandra Webster. I started coming to the Hopemarket about two years ago. They have so much to offer. When I started here I had nothing and now I have a nice place to call my home. I came out of a bad situation and needed a little help getting back on my feet. Hopemarket and Hopeworx helped me with that. My family and I are so greatful and thankful for that. I encourage you to come out and see what we are all about. I love coming to the Hopemarket and I know you will also. If you can’t make it, you can help by a donation which would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Hopemarket from Sandra Webster and family.

Healthy PA and Medicaid Expansion

Health care reform has come to Pennsylvania in the form of Healthy PA. Under Healthy Pa, among other things Medicaid is being expanded. This means that not only adults who are parents, over 65 or disabled are able to receive Medicaid, but also any family who earns 133% below the federal poverty level. For each type of family, if they make less than the specified amount, they qualify for Medicaid. Take a look at the chart to see who qualifies:

Single Person Family Of 2 Family Of 3 Family Of 4 Family Of 5 Family Of 6 Family Of 7 Family Of 8
$1,342 $1,809 $2,276 $2,743 $3,210 $3,677 $4,143 $4,610

For those who had Medicaid before this initiative, you should’ve received a letter stating which Healthy PA plan you fall under. There are three plans: Healthy PA PCO, Healthy PA and Healthy PA Plus. The PCO plan is the most restrictive and is a private coverage option. Healthy PA is the middle one and has restrictions on inpatient care coverage. The most comprehensive coverage is offered by Healthy PA Plus. If you received your letter and are not happy with your coverage, you can appeal your case. The Pennsylvania Health Access Network can help you understand your coverage, and can direct you in the right direction should you need to appeal your coverage. Their number is 1-877-570-3642.

Celebrities With Mental Illness: Herschel Walker

In recent years, Herschel Walker, a Heisman award-winning running back and former NFL player, has gone public about his troubles with dissociative identity disorder, a complex mental health disorder. People with DID are influenced by two or more distinct personalities, or identities, which prevent them from acting like themselves. Walker has received treatment for the disorder and wrote a book about his experiences. “I feel the greatest achievement of my life will be to tell the world my truth,” he said in an interview with ESPN.

This article was borrowed from You can find it at:

Karaoke Night

We have Karaoke night very couple of months. It’s a time were people come together and have some fun. We do a lot of singing and dancing. We do have some light snacks and drinks. You can also bring something to eat or drink if you want. Karaoke nights are usually on a Saturday night between 3:00 to 6:00pm, If you like to come just drop by Hopewox. We kindly ask for a 1:00 Donation and that is it. If you are a Hopemarket member you do not have to pay. Our next Karaoke is on Jan. 24th from 3pm to 6pm at Hopeworx the address is 1210 Stanbridge Street Suite 600. So come on out and have a great time.

Co-occurring Substance Addiction and SMIs: Recovery

“Over five million adults in the U.S. have a co-occurring substance use disorder and serious psychological distress” (Magura, 2010). Studies show that comorbid/co-occurring disorders are far more complicated than single psychiatric disorders. This means that people that are struggling with both an addiction and a mental health challenge have a more difficult time recovering and living a fulfilling life than people with single diagnosis. According to many studies, the aid of “mutual aid groups” has proven very effective. Sharing with people who have similar experiences is truly helpful. Not only do these groups provide accountability, empathy, and guidance to recovery, they offer a chance for people who have progressed to help others which helps them with progression of their own recovery.

There are many mutual aid groups offered here in Montgomery County. There are the traditional twelve step programs (AA and NA), there are support groups run by mental health agencies and there is also a newer, evidence based program called WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan). WRAP is a unique, evidence based program in which each individual composes a WRAP plan for themselves usually with the help and support of others who have already experienced “working” their WRAP(although one can compose a WRAP on their own). Not only are there support groups following the WRAP model, there are also instructional groups and even a program to train people with SMIs who can then be employed in the mental health system. There are also facilitator trainings. These are run by “Peers” for Peers. “People typically develop WRAP plans as part of a WRAP group facilitated by trained peers recovering from mental illness and certified as educators” (American Psychiatric Assicialtion, 2012).

WRAP is a scientifically proven mutual aid group to help in recovery. It can be used as a supplement to other treatments and is particularly helpful in treating co-occurring disorders.

To find out more about support groups in Montgomery County go to the Montgomery County Network of Care website:

If you are interested in the research evidence supporting WRAP, go to

American Psychiatric Assicialtion. (2012, 05 21). New Study Examines Benefits of Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) for People with Serious Mental Illness. Press Release. Arlington, VA: APA.
Magura, S. P. (2010, August 10).

Effectiveness of Dual Focus Mutual Aid for Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders: A Review and Synthesis of the “Double Trouble” in Recovery Evaluation. Retrieved January 8, 2014, from PubMed Central®: