Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pam Howard and Cathy Hillman promote their important programs PLUS websites of note

Information galore at our Giant program today.

Cathy Hillman, a licensed clinical social worker, arrived first. She'll be our guest speaker at New Directions next Tuesday. She drove all the way from Trooper, PA.

Holiday traffic makes it difficult to get around. Be patient!

Visited Cathy at Central Behavioral Health in Abington in October and wrote about it.

We had a good turnout today.

Ada and Robin.

Tom and Martin took time off from their rock band "The Bad Boyz."

B/c we're a nonprofit, Giant gives us a $25 gift card and Robin Franklin and Suzanne Foreman set up a refreshment table of healthy snacks and your choice of coffee or tea.

Cathy and Pam Howard took turns explaining their programs.

Pam, who has a master's in counseling, told us she used to work at Hedwig House, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. She came to Montco in 1979 so has worked there for 16 years. Official name is Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.

So much information was imparted that I'd be sitting here on my red couch until the cow jumps over the moon if I wrote it all down.

If you're interested in an Information Session to become a certified peer specialist, attend at the County office in Norristown on Monday, Dec. 21, from 9:30 to 11:30 am.

It's a point of pride, said the animated Pam, that we were the first in the state to create the certified peer specialist training program.

They trained 300 individuals, 80 of whom are currently working "with organizations we contract with."

This is an area of growth.

Pam explained where the funding comes from. Magellan Insurance and Medicaid.

The Pennsylvania state budget still has not been passed yet. Outrageous! The legislators take time off instead of thinking about their constituents.

There are homeless people in Montco who need places to live, Children and Youth needs funding, as do peer specialists. Pam has a special fund that pays for these services until the budget is passed.  I get weekly reminders by State Senator Art Haywood and always send out a reply to the legislators to get off their butts and pass the budget.


Image result for senator art haywood

Pam talked about the importance of finding new contractors who will do an excellent job for the County. The County is interested in evidence-based services. For example, while many forms of psychotherapy are effective, cognitive behavioral therapy has been studied and proven to work. Doesn't mean other forms of therapy are not as effective. They simply haven't been tested.

There are seven Community Mental Health Centers in Montgomery County. It's mostly for low income people, but not always. The newest center is Central Montgomery County located in Abington, run by Cathy Hillman.

Read about the fascinating history of Central in Norristown. It's one of the oldest providers. That organization is still there.

Another one of Pam's points of pride is the new Crisis System. Some people are in constant crisis but learn to strengthen their ability to get out of crisis. She thinks of it as getting stronger muscles so that gradually the individual will be able to help herself/himself.

If a person is in crisis, it's important for the individual to respond quickly, for as we know the crisis will only get worse and the person will likely end up in the hospital.

The County runs a Mobile Crisis Unit which will come out to your home. They come out in an unobtrusive car.
Image result for paddy wagon

At ND, people always tell us the neighbors are used to seeing cop cars arrive at their street. What a terrible feeling!

On Saturday, January 12, we're having another program at the Giant, when Lt Tim Troxel of the Upper Moreland Police Dept will speak.

Pam said that the mobile unit will be there within half an hour.

The County is also developing a Trauma-Care Unit which will help three groups of people - veterans, people with mental health issues and those with addiction issues.

Pam is enjoying going round to various contractors to meet with them and learn what they do. She is one busy woman!

The County also sponsors a Hearing Voices Network. One is located in the Bracchia Bldg on Byberry Road in a former Upper Moreland school building.

It's ten minutes away from my house. I used to hit tennis balls on the back of the building.

A big problem, said Pam, is the lack of affordable housing.

YourWayHome is an organization to help end homelessness in Montgomery County.

Cathy Hillman described some of the excellent services of Central in Abington. It's located near Carabbas Restaurant in Willow Grove. Gosh, I'm hungry.

Image result for italian meal

Central is getting licensed so they can open their doors to consumers. Some of their offerings include:

Outpatient therapists
Trauma-related therapy
Recovery coach - will help you get a job. Help with the job application, practice an interview, and if you're anxious one of their SIX recovery coaches will go out with you to help ease your anxiety.

Group psychotherapy. Cathy loves doing this, especially working with addicted individuals. I believe it was Pam who said that perhaps 80 percent of those with addictions were traumatized during their lives. 

There's also a Certified Illness Recovery Team utilizing an RN, behavioral specialist to help with your illness. Say, you need help managing your diabetes, they'll assist you.

They'll advise you of companies who are hiring.

Everyone should have a meaningful job. That's something both Pam and Cathy are adamant about.

They'll also advise about getting along with co-workers or asking your boss for a day off. These can be very difficult for some people.

Hold on. Lemme ask my boss for a day off.

Ahem! Nervous cough.

RUTH: Uh, Ms. Deming, may I have Sunday off?

BOSS: Get back to your red couch. You may NOT have the day off.

I asked Cathy about treatment at her center.

Suppose I was feeling really down and weepy. Could I come in and just hang out there, to be with people instead of isolating myself at home?

Sure, she said. And I should be able to get a quick appointment to talk to somebody. This was the terrible problem with Creekwood.

She emphasized what a great team of people work for her, plus the people at Central in Norristown.

When Pam and Cathy finished up, they stood around for half an hour answering questions.

We gave them gifts.

 Above is the gift of food we got from Giant.
 We gave them poinsettias.
Pam has an 11-yo daughter Mara, short for Margaret. I bought them two chocolate-covered pretzels at Kremp.

Mara is very talented. She sings, takes ballet, and also enjoys sports.


Ace Study - The Adverse Child Experience Study

Developing Child -

Trauma -

National Child Trauma  -

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