What We Need: June Mental Health Forum

June’s Mental Health Forum had to be unexpectedly rescheduled.

For the in-person portion, we will be meeting in the Tea Garden outside the Mad Hatter Cafe and Co-op in Athens, PA.

Join us to share your concerns and ideas for improving mental health and mental health supports in our community. We will be building on our first forum and welcoming new people into the conversation, new perspectives and new ideas for taking action to create change.

This event is FREE!

Join us for all or for part of the discussion.

We will have both in person and virtual participation again.

Please register by if you plan to join us! CLICK HERE to go to the registration form.
If you are joining us virtually, we will email you the meeting info.

What We Need: Community Mental Health Forum II

June is Men’s Health Month.

On the Wednesday before Father’s Day, we will be holding our 2nd Mental Health Forum, with a focus on Men and boys.

Share your concerns and ideas for improving mental health and mental health supports in our community.

We will be building on our first forum and welcoming new people into the conversation, new perspectives and new ideas for taking action to create change.

This event is FREE!


Join us for all or for part of the discussion.

We will have both in person and virtual participation again.

Please register if you plan to join us!

If you are joining us virtually, we will email you the meeting info.

Registration:
https://forms.gle/XuBKQWCmSDH9e5y87

Community Mental Health Forum Series – A Great Beginning

Williamsport what we need community mental Health forum led by Liz Terwilliger hosted by the Break Room

On Sunday, May 23rd the first in a series of community discussions about mental health was launched in Williamsport, Pa. The forum was conducted both in-person and on-line to allow as many participants to attend as possible. The discussion was led by Liz Terwilliger, Libertarian candidate for Congress (12th District). The Break Room, a business focused on safe and fun ways to release stress and negative emotions hosted the event.

“The difficult times we all experienced this past year has highlighted the need for more attention to the mental health of our community,” said Liz. “These forums are needed to allow members of our community to identify what we need so that we can work together with area organizations and our representatives to find solutions that fit our unique needs.”

The discussion at the forum was far-reaching; conversation ranged from barriers to accessing care, qualifications and requirements placed on providers, and the stigma of mental illness and of seeking help. Also discussed were the preconceived ideas about individuals with mental illness and specific diagnoses and the recent increase in teen suicide.

As discussion around the stigma of mental illness and of seeking help gelled, Liz summarized the sentiment of the discussion, “I am not weak because I need help. I am strong because I sought the help I need.” This sentiment, changing the way we think and talk about mental health and wellness permeated the discussion.

Special attention was given by the group to our unique challenges living in a rural are. “A consensus from participants was the challenge in some of our district due to distance of mental health providers who are taking new patients, who covered by insurance or just finding any at all.”

Some participants identified cultural barriers they had personally experienced, such as hesitance to seek help due to fear of losing one’s guns or fear of what others in their family or community might think or say about them.

In each area the group discussed concerns and needs in depth and developed an action plan which will be acted on in coming weeks. The next Forum was scheduled for June 16th from 11am-1pm at the Lewisburg Farmers Market. For updates and more information, visit the Events and the Issues pages at lizterwilligerforcongress.org.

What We Need: Community Mental Health Forum

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

The Break Room is a place built for therapeutic stress release.

Join us for a community discussion about “what we need” for Mental Health Awareness Month hosted by The Break Room of Williamsport!

Share your concerns and ideas for improving mental health and mental health supports in our community.

This event is envisioned as a combination in person and virtual group discussion.

The Break Room will be open for smash therapy during the forum and after for those who wish to try it out. (Smash therapy pricing per The Break Room)

This event is FREE!

Please register using this form – if you are joining us virtually, we will email you the meeting info. https://forms.gle/tzzATMSmFEAd4WhQ7

Spotlight: Endless Mountain Mission Center

Endless Mountain Mission Center Works to End Homelessness in Bradford County

Endless Mountain Mission Center (EMMC) near Troy, PA works to address homelessness here in Bradford County. I recently spoke with their director, Tammy Storrs, about what EMMC is doing.

While homelessness in Bradford County may not be evident to you or me, that is due to the efforts of people like Tammy and the volunteers at EMMC. Tammy explained that EMMC handles 5-7 calls a week these days. “half are literally homeless, sleeping in cars, tents, sheds and half are moving from couch to couch staying with friends and family,” Tammy told me. When possible, these people are sheltered at EMMC.

To stay at EMMC there are rules that need to be followed. “People here can’t have pets. They have to sign in and out when they come and go. We don’t allow any drugs or alcohol.” Mental health issues impact a person’s ability to stay as well. If they self-harm, for example, they have to leave EMMC. The reason, Tammy explained, is that “We have to think about the welfare of everyone staying here.” They may be taken to the hospital or BSU for treatment and then they are placed in a hotel. If someone can’t stay at EMMC, for whatever reason, Tammy works with other agencies in the county’s network to find housing for them.

EMMC is funded primarily through donations from individuals, churches and other organizations. They receive grants from the United Way and others to fund operating costs. Some funds also come from a HUD grant for rapid re-housing, rent assistance and homelessness prevention.

Tammy also told me that homelessness impacts people with mental illness, individuals with drug addictions, domestic violence cases and the elderly.  Tammy said, “For an elderly person, if their Social Security income is $700-800, and there isn’t low-income housing available, they can’t make it. Even if rent is on the low end for the county, around $600, it’s just too much.”

I asked Tammy about her biggest challenges. Her answer, mental health issues. “If you’re going to fight for something, a place for people with mental health issues is really needed. These folks need supervision, permanent supportive housing. Someone to make sure they take their medications, go to work because they just can’t manage on their own. They don’t have the capacity to deal with everyday life.  They need a rent payee to ensure they make that rent payment.”

Currently there is no supportive housing for mental health in Bradford County. A network of agencies works together (EMMC, Human Services, Main Link, Futures, Abuse and Rape Crisis Center and the Area Agency of Aging) to meet the needs of the community with the resources they have. “People don’t think there’s a problem because we’re working 24-7 at it. Without the network, you would see it [homelessness] a lot more. If people saw it, they’d realize that most people don’t choose it.”

As a candidate for Congress, and as a Libertarian, I support initiatives like what Tammy and the rest of EMMC are doing for our community. This partnership of government and private organizations is filling a need in our community. While I like to see minimal government involvement, it is only by the tireless actions of individuals like Tammy Storrs that the resources of the government and community are used effectively. Together we can address the root causes of homelessness in our communities and support organizations like EMMC. Together we can bring real change

Please join me in recognizing the efforts of Tammy and the EMMC by visiting their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/endlessmountainmissioncenterbradfordcountypa. If you want to learn more about homelessness in our District and organizations working to address it, visit our website, http://lizterwilligerforcongress.org/index.php/issues/community-solutions.