IF YOUR ARE IN CRISIS
OR NEED HELP NOW - CALL 911 or 610-279-6100
Every day, the dedicated and skilled staff members at Montgomery County Emergency Service work tirelessly to aid in the recovery of individuals experiencing a mental health crisis in Montgomery County. On December 20th and 21st, you are invited to witness MCES staff members' dedication and skill expressed in a very different way as MCES proudly presents its production of Thornton Wilder's masterpiece "Our Town."
The cast includes MCES crisis workers, case managers, social workers, registered nurses, psychiatric technicians, allied therapists, administration-- many of whom have never been in a play or, at least not for several decades. The idea to stage a production of "Our Town" came from the staff's deep affection for one another, the desire to collaborate on something unifying, creative, and honest to enhance morale and be more accessible to the wider community.
"Our Town" tells the beautiful, funny, heartbreaking and hopeful story of the everyday life of the people who live in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire. Wilder wrote in 1938 that his play was about "the life of a village against the life of the stars." This deceptively simple play tells the truth and the story of all of us as we strive to connect and really look at one another in the course of the hubbub of our daily lives.
Come experience the magic of live theatre as MCES presents "Our Town" on December 20th at 7:30pm and December 21st at 2:00pm in the theatre at Building 33 on the Norristown State Hospital campus, 1001 Sterigere Street, Norristown, PA (enter via Gate 2 off of Sterigere Street, proceed on Circle Drive and park in the designated areas by Building 33.)
MCES's production of "Our Town" was prominently featured in the November 30 Sunday Inquirer.
Well Being: Mental-health coworkers share lessons from "Our Town"
by Art Carey
The name of our town is West Norriton, 40 degrees north latitude, 75 degrees west longitude. Population: about 16,000, give or take a few hundred. It's just across the border from Norristown, the Montgomery County seat. Down there, at the bottom of that sloping cornfield, is the hospital for those with urgent psychiatric troubles. Goes by the name of Montgomery County Emergency Service, MCES for short.
Our story begins last spring with a team-building staff retreat. Leading it is Gabriel Nathan, an enthusiastic young man with a theatrical background. He serves as a development specialist at MCES.
"Work can become so busy and chaotic that we don't have time to look at each other, to stop and really appreciate each other," he laments to his coworkers.
Click here to read the full story
In September, MCES's Forensic Education/Diversion Specialist and Crisis Intervention Specialist trainer Michelle Monzo began an odyssey that will take her across the nation as she trains Amtrak's police officers on crisis intervention and stress management.
Amtrak had a wide array of choices before them to present mental illness and crisis intervention education to their officers, but they picked MCES's Michelle Monzo to get this very important job done. Amtrak officers routinely come across individuals in crisis in the course of their patrol work and they need to know how to handle situations that could rapidly spiral out of control.
Michelle's journey will take her to Philadelphia, New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Chicago and one or two locations in California. In 2011, Michelle provided a one-day course to Amtrak's police officers that was held in similar locations throughout the nation. This year, Amtrak has broadened its commitment to providing crisis intervention and mental illness education to its police officers and is having Michelle facilitate a more comprehensive, two-day course for its officers.
Amtrak employs approximately 500 police officers charged with protecting 31.2 million travelers annually on 21,300 miles of track. The training will be delivered department-wide throughout the year.
MCES is proud to announce that the J. P. Mascaro & Sons Company, through the Pioneer Crossing Landfill Charitable Contribution Program, has provided a grant to fund the production of 1,000 Suicide Prevention Tool Kits for law enforcement officers and emergency responders.
The J. P. Mascaro & Sons Company originally supported this initiative last year and, when our supply of police/emergency responder tool kits was exhausted, the Trust funded a second round of Suicide Prevention Tool Kit production. This resource, developed and created by MCES, places suicide prevention directly in the hands of those who are frequently interacting with an individual who is or may be suicidal.
Additionally, the kit makes the point that "no one is immune from suicide risk and that the information given here applies to you and your colleagues." With the tragedy of three police officer suicides in Montgomery and Delaware counties during the month of September, it is especially imperative that this important resource be in the hands of as many police officers as possible.
MCES offers its most sincere thanks to the J. P. Mascaro & Sons Company for this generous and timely support.
While Crisis Centers are generally involved in crisis intervention and prevention, there are times when post-vention is not only necessary, but critical. The loss of a child is the worst, most unimaginable nightmare for a parent to experience, and twice this year, MCES has answered the call for help in such a circumstance.
At the beginning of the school year, two teenagers took their lives in unrelated events. In both of those instances, law enforcement contacted MCES to provide help to the children's parents. In addition to crisis counseling, follow-up support services were provided and, in one case, home visits were made to address some of the family members' immediate needs. MCES staff also worked closely with school staff and social workers at the students' schools.
There are some experiences in life where the phrase "you just had to be there" rings especially true. Such was the case with the unique, off-beat and greatly appreciated concert for MCES patients and staff on October 10 featuring comic folksinger Deirdre Flint.
Deirdre's unique blend of parody, satire, and sincerity rang out true and clear in the MCES cafeteria as she sang songs about cheerleaders, Facebook, introverts, and, yes: cheese. Patients and staff participated in a call-and-response sing-a-long where Deirdre required the audience to shout out the names of different kinds of cheese ("CHEDDAR!" "MOZZARELLA!" and even "STILTON!") to complete her lyrics about her favorite food.
Deirdre Flint has been performing since the 1990s in a wide variety of venues, from coffee-house to concert hall to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Kerrville Folk Festival. She has released two solo albums, "The Shuffleboard Queens" (1999) and "Then Again" (2002) and, in 2005, she joined the band "The Four Bitchin' Babes," frequently touring with them across the country.
On a gorgeous, sun-dappled Sunday morning in early October, approximately 5,000 individuals gathered at the Philadelphia Art Museum to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's "Out of the Darkness" Community Walk.
MCES social worker Tova Tenenbaum, EMT Ryan Fogarty, Development Specialist Gabriel Nathan, System Development Specialist John Fulford and his family joined officers from Narberth and Lower Merion Township police departments as part of the team "Walking for the Blue Line."
The purpose of this team is to raise awareness of police officer suicide, which is particularly pressing as Montgomery and Delaware counties suffered the loss of three police officers to suicide in September.
Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc.
50 Beech Drive, Norristown, PA
610-279-6100 or toll free 844-455-7455