Posts in MHP in the News
In South Philly, a long-hidden heroin crisis can’t be ignored anymore

Article by Aubrey Whelan.

In South Philadelphia, a community of tight neighborhoods and strong traditions, a long-hidden opioid crisis is starting to reveal itself.

At Broad and Snyder Streets, next to a booming restaurant row and a major transit hub, Destinie Campanella makes her rounds. She lugs a bag full of Narcan, the overdose reversal drug, and water bottles to the corner where a few people in addiction sleep on cardboard mattresses. It's a sight familiar a few miles away in the open-air heroin scene of Kensington, but not here.

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MHP in the NewsNed Redmond
Philadelphia Inquirer: Council MIA as overdose-crisis advocates march on City Hall. So I knock on doors.

“They blocked traffic. They held signs. They spoke of dead friends.

But the march for safe injection sites outside City Hall on Wednesday was encouraging — simply because advocates were bringing the fight downtown.

Of course, the politicians managed to hide anyway.

With 1,217 people dead from overdoses here in 2017, the highest rate of any major city, not a single City Council member bothered to show his or her face — if not in support of safe injection sites, at least in support of finding other measures to keep people alive.”

MHP’s own Carla Sofronski and Destinie Campanella are featured in the coverage of this protest.

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What Philly drug users are teaching us about solving the overdose crisis

Mental Health Partnerships, a city-contracted nonprofit that provides behavioral health services, has conducted their outreach and survey efforts in Kensington’s homeless camps. While those results are not yet published, the organization’s findings line up with the health department’s survey, said Stephanie Jamison, MHP’s organizational learning and development manager.

“The housing crisis is a health crisis,” Jamison said. “The survey indicates that 59 percent of respondents have recently participated in drug treatment,” Jamison said. “Providers need to make stable housing a central focus of their treatment and support services. No one should be discharged from an inpatient or residential treatment setting without a solid plan for stable housing.”

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City Moves People Out of Homeless Camps

The city moved people out from the homeless encampments in Kensington Wednesday as part of a program to fix the area's opioid epidemic. Those living there were offered shelter and treatment programs.

Source: Published Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | Credit: Miguel Martinez-Valle

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Debate over Philly’s safe injection site plan gets personal

When Darlene La Torre wakes up in the morning, there’s a good chance her husband of five years will want to kick off the day debating how to address the opioid crisis. And whether Philadelphia’s controversial proposal to open a supervised safe injection facility is a good idea.

Once at work, she’ll likely get an email or text from him linking to a study or article on the merits of such a site. When she gets home, she knows he’ll be poised to follow up. And if not then, then perhaps at 2 a.m.

“He wakes up and goes to the bathroom, and I just do the slightest move, and he’s like, ‘So yeah, I was thinking about this and that.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m trying to sleep right now!’ ” La Torre said.

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Hill provides Hopes and Dreams in Dover

While Ms. Hill is more than happy to help homeless people get out of the cold during the daytime hours in the chill of winter, her mission runs much deeper than that.

“Peer support is what we do,” she said. “A lot of people need peer support and need somebody to listen and we can be that person. We have different support groups that we offer. We specialize in peer services, so we offer different support groups, such as an employment group, and do some different activities, arts and crafts, music and things like that.

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DIY livestream gives Kensington users a voice at opioid community forum

Monday night’s community forum on the opioid epidemic was a bit of a hike from Kensington, one of the Philly neighborhoods where drug use is most prevalent.

The meeting was held at CORA Services, a Fox Chase community center. It’s about 10 miles from the intersection of Emerald Street and East Lehigh Avenue — that’s 30 minutes driving, about an hour if you take SEPTA.

Still, at that intersection, an estimated 40 people living under the bridge heard the speakers of the night loud and clear. Evan Figueroa-Vargas made sure of it.

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Why help isn’t only a ‘yes’ away

“Meet people where they’re at” is a phrase frequently used by those who practice harm reduction. It means working with people with substance use disorder, even if they are unable or unwilling to stop, to reduce the risks and the negative consequences. Medication-assisted treatment, needle exchanges and safe injection sites are some of the well-known examples.

Sofronski uses harm reduction strategies in her work as an advocate with Mental Health Partnerships in the Delaware Valley, and while doing outreach in encampments like Kensington.

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Philadelphia recruiting residents to fight opioid epidemic

The City of Philadelphia is recruiting residents to help in fighting the opioid epidemic.
The city health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced a new awareness campaign on Tuesday morning.
The city is urging the public to carry Naloxone, an opioid antidote commonly known by the brand name Narcan, in an effort to reduce overdose deaths citywide.
"We had 1,200 deaths from drug overdose. Many of these can be saved because, probably half or more, there's a witness nearby," said Farley.

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Trump Wants More Asylums — and Some Psychiatrists Agree

'In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., President Trump has called repeatedly for building or reopening mental institutions.


“It is hard to describe the smell,” said Joseph Rogers, 66, executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse, who spent stretches of up to six months on locked wards, mostly in Florida, after a psychotic episode at age 19.'

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"It's the Guns," Says Mental Health Partnerships

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Mental Health Partnerships (MHP), a multi-faceted mental health advocacy and service agency, joins with all Americans in mourning the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—and we demand that our legislators take immediate action to prevent such tragedies," says MHP President and CEO Michael Brody.

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6 ABC NEWS: Therapy dogs return from helping Parkland community grieve

"A group of volunteers and k-9s spent the last several days spreading the gift of love to the families and students impacted by the Parkland school shooting.

They returned Thursday, exhausted from 5 nights and 4 days on the road.

Cici, Kelsey and Minnie are just a few of the paws from the Tri-State K-9 Response Ready Team, ready to serve communities in need - this time, Parkland, Florida."

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MHP in the NewsNed Redmond
It’s All in the Name

A few years ago, Mental Health Partnerships (MHP), then known as Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP), began expanding its supporter base and recruiting board members from outside the behavioral health space. But people from the corporate and business worlds didn’t easily grasp what the organization was all about. The name “Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania” didn’t say it all!

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