As I helped JB and Kathie facilitate the It’s T.I.M.E Class briefly, during last week’s graduation, I introduced the story telling portion with my own background. I chose to write my story as if it were directed toward my employer, however, the classmates were able to interpret my story with their own, discussing how different portions of the class had helped them change the way they perceived and handled different situations in their lives.
Below is my own story:
I am employed now, and I wanted to share some of my inner goals with you, to show you that I have grown and continue to grow. First, I have qualities that I believe you may find necessary and appealing for the work environment. I can speak Spanish just as naturally as English, with the same virtues and values that I hold close to myself. These virtues include patience, eagerness, thoroughness, ambition, and attention to detail.
When asked a question I am able to assess the situation, and identify if I can aid the situation or if I need assistance. That kind of worth ethic makes a team player. I am also more focused on my personal goals, and professional goals, and more specifically I look to blend the both to have a balanced quality of life.
I am further along, then where I was in my early 20’s. Now I’m reaching 28, which is closer to 30 and I reflect back thinking, this is possible but how? That question I satisfy to answer, that I am here because of the support of family and friends, and even people I never met who had an optimistic outlook, and shared that positive energy and thinking with me. Even recently when I was in attendance of the Distorted Thinking module of the it’s T.I.M.E. class, I arrived at the realization that there are ways of thinking that challenge one’s own, for the better.
I have encountered different doctrines in my life through my experience at work, such as something new that has been introduced to me, called the Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga. Taking a moment to acknowledge the feeling of meditation helps me center myself when I feel my emotions need a personal therapy session.
Taking in the time to pause all the things that surround you is a powerful self-help tool and can be taught to others, and helps me work and live with more peace in my life. I’d like to thank you for consideration and for listening to my story, and I hope that my story can instill positivity.
May 11, 2016
Rep. Thomas P. Murt
19 South York Road
Hatboro, PA 19040
Re: Your letter dated March 22, 2016
Dear Rep. Murt:
Thank you for your letter to the CSP Executive Committee dated March 22, 2016 in which you responded to our questions regarding funding for the state budget and other concerns about mental health services in our community. We appreciate your candidness and your promise to support and advocate for increased funding to meet the mental health needs of thousands of individuals and families in Montgomery County.
The CSP Advocacy Subcommittee reviewed your letter and had some follow up questions and comments. On behalf of the Advocacy Subcommittee, below are the comments and some answers to the questions you raised in your letter:
1. We acknowledge that this year’s state budget did not include the restoration of the 10 percent cuts to mental health. Will you and your colleagues support the 10 percent restoration of funds in the FY2016-17 budget?
2. In response to the waiting time to see psychiatrists, there is definitely a shortage of psychiatrists in part due to the fact that there are not enough future doctors choosing the field of psychiatry. We suggest that a partial solution to this shortage is for providers to hire more nurse practitioners who can prescribe medications until individuals have access to the doctor. Mental health agencies will need more money to cover the increase in staff but this would reduce prison and hospital stays and reduce costs. Regarding tele-medicine, we advocate for the urban and suburban areas to continue with face-to-face meetings to ensure the quality of assessments and diagnoses. Tele-medicine should be saved for rural areas where transportation to doctor’s offices can be difficult, for homebound individuals if mobile treatment teams aren’t available, and during a crisis situation where time is of the essence. We are pleased to see that you agree that transition between jails/hospitals and the community needs improvement. Warm hand-offs are a viable solution and can be facilitated by transition teams that include peers and are connected with mental health agencies. The CSP Committee will work with our county mental health administrators to develop ideas and details to present to you in the future.
3. Have you received any response from the Judiciary Committee regarding improvement in services for individuals who have mental health and justice related issues?
4. Thank you for supporting and advocating for more transportation services like Transnet. Transportation has been an issue for decades and as more individuals with disabilities live in the community, the greater the need has become for transportation assistance.
5. Our CSP Committee which includes our county advocacy organizations, is dedicated to educating and partnering with community members to bring awareness of and change to the laws and policies that affect the daily lives of people living with mental health disabilities so that we can all live and work together as contributing citizens of Pennsylvania.
Thank you for your support and making sure our voices are heard.
Kathie Mitchell, Chair
Montgomery County CSP Advocacy Subcommittee
Cc: CSP Committee
*Speech made by Eric Goldstein at Community Advocates Open House
Jefferson said in helping to found our country that we needed to have a revolution every once in a while as a way to keep the principles of who we are honest. I have worked in Behavioral Health for 43 years and feel Mental Health, later Behavioral Health, some day, something else needs a revolution on a regular basis. When I started it was psycho dynamics, then it was the Medical Model, and later Recovery with its strong peer aspect.
Now a good revolution does not throw away. It is a dialectic process and builds on the good stuff so to speak. So here we are with Peer and Recovery. Going backwards, Jefferson would say, is not the right direction but carry forward to the next spot is where we are at and my sense is it is time for another revolution.
Unfortunately, we are in a dicey place. Many people are trying to push us backwards. Back to the days of “lock him up”. Many say science is most important. Others believe those with mental health are the ones causing violence throughout the nation. In the future, I hope I have more time to talk about what we need. The next step is not reactionary backwards. No, the next is normal inclusion. Not fighting but overwhelming the country with integrative inclusion and the biggest step of all is to obliterate stigma.
We, the behavioral health community, need to help the world stop their suffering because they hide in the closet of their mental health. This community and its strong allies in Montgomery County and throughout the nation need to be the leaders of this revolution for more than us but for the whole world. This time it is for us to show the world because the whole world is watching.
Right here at HopeWorx we have several examples of modern day advocacy at work. I would like to highlight the Montgomery County Advocates who for almost a decade, sometimes without recognition, have been daily battling for the rights of the consumer. Using a powerful peer approach with some good old fashioned 1960’s organizing and a modern day use of data, the team works with the community. A few years ago, with people like Tory Bright and Nancy Wieman as encouraging members of the team, set their sights on the prisons. Peer advocacy in the county jails has been tried before but in my years few advocacy teams have really worked as well as wished. HopeWorx Community Advocates are successful because they know when to use the peer and when the advocacy. I tell you as a 40 year professional they are remarkable. One cannot ignore the leadership and the members of the team. So they have not shrunk. Instead, their work has grown.
Interesting that the President and Congress have agreed on so little except the overcrowding of the prisons and the need to stop is one thing they do agree on. But the battle will be over the best way to shrink the population. Right here in Montgomery County is a team that could actually show millions how to do it and we wish and hope for all your support. Regardless, we love the work so we will go on. Just keep in mind the money will start to come in the form of grants soon and we should all be prepared.