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MCES Co-hosting Forum On Suicides By Emergency Responders

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

MCES will co-host a forum on suicides by emergency responders on May 10.

MCES is working with the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, the Pennsylvania Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Sprout Health Group on the forum, which will be held at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus.

About two years ago after the suicides of two police officers in the area, MCES convened an ad hoc group to look at the issue. Members were drawn from law enforcement, EMS, and the fire services.

The group adopted three objectives: develop and distribute educational materials on suicide prevention among emergency responders; hold an educational conference to bring stakeholders together to promote action on the problems; and develop an appropriate service resource for emergency responders struggling with suicidality.

The first objective was accomplished with release of a series of materials to police departments in the county and to police cadets and EMT trainees at the Public Safety Academy.

The forum, which addresses the second objective, will feature speakers with experience in suicide prevention among police officers, EMTs, paramedics, and fire fighters. The forum will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free with lunch provided but seating is limited. The Public Safety Campus is at 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

Questions? Click here to email Tony Salvatore of MCES or call him at 610-279-6100.

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Crisis Residential Program Turns 19

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The MCES Crisis Residential Program (CRP) turned 19 this year.

CRP is an important part of MCES's continuum of crisis services. It has been a stop on the road to recovery for hundreds of people since opening in 1998 on the grounds of the Valley Forge Medical Center. It quickly became known as "the Ranch House" because of the architectural style of the facility.

Now almost 20 years and two moves later, the program has been housed for several years in a three-story building on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital. Many still refer to it as the Ranch House though it more closely resembles a farm house.

The program is recovery oriented/trauma focused care. It offers short-term, supportive treatment in a home-like environment. It is a caring setting for individuals 18 or older needing a level of care between outpatient and hospitalization. At least two experienced mental health professionals are on duty at all times. In addition, Mike Solomon, a Certified Peer Specialist, is available to give support through counseling and groups.

A typical day begins at 8 a.m. with distribution of medication. A community meeting follows around 9:30 a.m. where staff and individuals talk about what's happening and goals for the day. Additional group meetings happen throughout the day tailored to the goals identified in the morning meeting. Dinner is served around 6:15 p.m. followed by a final group meeting at 8 p.m.

Coping skills are taught and stressed. Individuals take those skills with them when they leave after an average stay of a week. Staff support is highly individualized, as in the case of a woman who needed to take a walk when she became angry. Staff would head out on the campus with her, which helped her develop skills for dealing with her anger.

"We help individuals take responsibility for themselves," says Dawn Yavuz, MA, LPC, who directs the program. "If they are experiencing a crisis situation, we encourage them to use the skills. It's a good experiential learning process."

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Allied Therapy's Mike Melcher Receives MAX Award

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

1998 is the year for another MCES milestone. That was when what was known as the "Dual Diagnosis" program was launched.

Staff at the time recognized that an increasing number of admissions involved persons with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The program was designed for patients who had a primary serious mental illness and one or more substance abuse disorders that affected their psychiatric treatment.

Mike Melcher had been at MCES for several years when the organization formalized its treatment of patients with co-occurring disorders (COD). Mike had all the prerequisites. He was a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) and had already been working with COD patients. Mike and the program settled into the Allied Therapy Department. Mike does individual counseling and facilitates educational and problem-solving groups.

Over the years, Mike has helped hundreds of patients understand the inter-relationship of mental illness and drug or alcohol abuse and the need to accept and maintain treatment for both.

For these contributions and more, we were pleased to nominate Mike for a Service Excellence Award from the MAX (Moving Agencies toward Service Excellence) Association, a regional providers' organization. Mike received the award at the MAX Annual Conference on March 29, at the Holiday Inn in Kulpsville.

Congratulations Mike!

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Suicide Prevention