This page will contain items of information that we believe will be of interest to our site visitors. The information we will be posting here will include announcements from the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), news about national trends in CPS work, and any other pertinent information to CPSs. Newer posts will be at the top of the page.

If you have a news story that you feel would be appropriate for this page please send it to

Webinar Presenters Wanted (Posted 5/4/17)

Doors to Wellbeing, a program of the Copeland Center, conducts monthly webinar series dedicated to bringing ideas, topics and methods to improve the work of peer specialists.  We are looking for new, exciting and innovative presenters for our monthly Peer Specialist Webinar Series.  This is a great way to reach the peer community.

Click here to submit a proposal to them.

Community HealthChoices vs. HealthChoices (Posted 4/21/17)

Community HealthChoices (CHC) is a new program being rolled out in Pennsylvania.

CHC was developed to:

  • enhance access to and improve coordination of medical care
  • create a person-driven, long-term support system in which people have choice, control, and access to a full array of quality services that provide independence, health, and quality of life. Long-term services and supports help eligible individuals to perform daily activities in their home such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and administering medications.

Please see the below flyer for more information on what CHC is, how it is similar to HealthChoices, and how it differs.

Community HealthChoices Flyer

Temple Collaborative 2017 Institute on Community Inclusion Announced (Posted 4/13/17)

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion invites you to join them on July 24 and 25 to discuss state-of-the-science research related to individuals with mental health challenges and issues of community inclusion. Past conferences have been very popular and spaces fill quickly. Click the links below for the flyer or to visit their website for more information.

Flyer: 2017 Institute Announcement


Interim Director of OMHSAS Announced (Posted 4/12/17)

Due to the unexpected and untimely passing of Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), Dennis Marion, there was a need to fill his leadership roll at the agency. Below is a message from the Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Ted Dallas:

Today I am announcing that Dr. Dale Adair will serve as the Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). For those of you who have not yet met him, Dale currently serves with distinction as the Chief Medical Officer at OMHSAS and is an essential member of the OMHSAS executive team.

Dale’s nearly 30 years of experience in all levels of state government and his leadership experience will be invaluable as we move forward during this difficult time and begin the process of selecting our next Deputy Secretary. I have complete confidence that Dale will make the transition to a new Deputy Secretary as smooth as possible and that the critical work that OMHSAS does every day continues without interruption.

I would personally like to thank Dale for stepping up into this role, your leadership is needed now more than ever at DHS.

Please join me in welcoming Dale to this new role and working with him so that we can ensure that services continue for the vulnerable Pennsylvanians that OMHSAS serves.

 2017 Glenn Koons Scholarship (Posted 4/11/17)

The Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association (PMHCA) and the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHAPA) are now accepting applications for the 2017 Glenn Koons Scholarship.

Glenn, a well-respected Certified Peer Specialist (CPS), guided many people through mental health recovery before his untimely death in 2011. He brought hope and smiles to everyone he encountered. The scholarship honors his life and work by supporting others who endeavor to provide peer support.

Each year, they award the $1,000 scholarship to a promising Pennsylvania candidate for CPS training who demonstrates the ability to engage people, share life experiences in recovery, provide leadership, and teach others these skills.

Application Deadline: May 15
To Apply Online: Click Here

Recovery Works Summit Registration is Open (Posted 4/7/17)

Registration is now open for the Recovery Works Summit on Wednesday, September 13 at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel.

Why attend the Summit? 

An agenda full of exciting keynote presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities!

The Summit will focus on three ways to improve recovery success:

  • Exploration of opportunities and challenges for recovery workforce development and retention;
  • Advocacy within and between the recovery movements;
  • Working together to impact public policy that effects peer based recovery support services and our recovery systems.

Please join PMHCA and other stakeholders to use your lived experiences to improve our systems and change lives through recovery and new opportunities across our Pennsylvania communities.

To Register: Recovery Works Summit Registration

OMHSAS Announcement on Service Area Planning Meeting (Posted 4/3/17)

All but two of OMHSAS’ Service Area Planning (SAP) Meetings have been cancelled, due to unforeseen circumstances. The SAP meetings scheduled for Norristown and Wernersville State Hospitals will be held to continue to support the closure of Norristown State Hospital’s civil section.  See below for details:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 from 1-4PM

Wernersville State Hospital: 160 Main Street, Wernersville, PA

Building 37 Auditorium (see attached schedule for additional information regarding parking)

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by May 2 to Jane Seidel at 610-670-4111 or

Monday, May 22, 2017 from 10AM-1PM

Norristown State Hospital: 1001 Sterigere Street, Norristown, PA

Building 33, Multi-Purpose Room

If you plan to attend, please RSVP by May 8 to Helen Brennan at 610-313-1014 or

Certification through the Pennsylvania Certification Board (Posted 3/21/17)

On March 9 we posted an announcement on this page that the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has started the task of creating a formal credentialing process for CPSs through the Pennsylvania Certification Board. We posted that there will be an OMHSAS webinar held on April 4 to update people on this process.

The PaPSC, as the voice of CPSs in Pennsylvania, is in communication with OMHSAS staff and will be conducting multiple projects to gather feedback from CPSs and other stakeholders across Pennsylvania so that we can effectively advocate for CPS interests in this process. Some of the projects we will be conducting are:

  • a broad survey sent out electronically
  • ethics trainings to gather input from the training participants on aspects of ethics they would like included in a formal CPS Code of Ethics
  • focus groups to gather feedback from CPSs on a wide range of topics associated with this process including support for moving forward, fees, grandfathering, certification renewal times, expectations of benefits if implemented, etc.

Please watch this site and your email for updates and notifications as there will be a lot of information to communicate going forward.

“You Are Not Alone” Conference (Posted 3/20/17)

Save the date for Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Awareness Month Event!  Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM, in Strawberry Square (320 Market Street, Harrisburg).

This year’s theme is: “You are not alone.”

 Speakers & Entertainment* (12 PM – 1 PM) include:

Representative Michael H. Schlossberg

Stompers ProjectYouth M.O.V.E. PA

Daniel Vangelli

NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania

Stephanie Grace

Other free activities,* to be held in the upper level Community Room of Strawberry Square, include:

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention (Perri Rosen/Pat Cambri, OMHSAS) 11 AM – 12 PM

Tai Chi class (Michael Rothermel, Harrisburg Kung Fu Center12 PM – 1 PM

Guided Meditation workshop (Cheri Roth, Spiritual Entry1 PM – 2 PM

*Schedule, speakers, and activities subject to change.  An updated schedule and a list of all attending exhibitors/ participating organizations will be sent closer to the event.

CPS Certification through the Pennsylvania Certification Board (Posted 3/9/17)

At the Mental Health Planning Council meeting on March 2 OMHSAS announced that it is beginning the process of developing a formal credentialing process to certify CPSs through the Pennsylvania Certification Board. As part of this process OMHSAS is seeking broad stakeholder input. It has reached out to the PaPSC to participate in the discussions on how to move this process forward including developing procedures, a unified test, and a code of ethics. Other stakeholder organizations will be involved as well.

As a first step OMHSAS is hosting a webinar on April 4 to begin discussions on this topic. Please click here for registration and more information on the webinar.

OMHSAS Recruiting MH Planning Council Members (Posted 2/21/17)

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services’ (OMHSAS) Mental Health Planning Council is currently accepting applications for new members! The Planning Council provides a forum for youth, adults, and family members with lived experience to work side-by-side with advocates, providers, administrators, and OMHSAS leadership to provide recommendations regarding important, statewide policy and programmatic issues.

For more information about the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council, visit or contact  Individuals interested in applying for membership are encouraged to attend the March 2, 2017meeting of the Mental Health Planning Council in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Application: Planning Council Application 2017

The PaPSC has Just Released Dates for a Series of Trainings (Posted 2/9/17)

The Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition has just released dates for a series of free trainings. There are three CPSs in Crisis Services and five Orientation to Medicaid Funded Peer Support Documentation trainings scheduled from March through June. To see the locations and dates and to register for these trainings please visit our ‘Upcoming Continuing Education Trainings’ page by clicking here.

PAPRS Annual Conference (Posted 2/2/17)

The Pennsylvania Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services has announced that registration for their 2017 Conference title Psychiatric Rehabilitation: Pathways to Recovery is now open. The conference will be held at the Penn Stater in State College on May 2- 4.

For more information, contact Tricia Fisher, Education Manager, PAPRS at or 717-655-7662.

To register click here.

WRAP Around the World Conference (Posted 1/26/17)

WRAP Around the World June, 2017The Copeland Center has released information regarding their WRAP Around the World Conference taking place in Sacramento, CA in June. 2017. Join them, WRAP Facilitators, and others from systems of care around the world to share emerging practices around the Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Network, build skills, learn about current research and innovative programs, and be part of the community! Click on the image to the left to view the flyer.

DHS Press Release (Posted 1/18/17)

The Department of Human Services issued a press release on January 11 regarding the closures of the Hamburg State Center for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as the closure of the civil section of Norristown State Hospital. Please click here to read the full story.

OMHSAS Announcement on CPSs in the Deaf Community (Posted 1/18/17)

The Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services along with a statewide workgroup has been working on developing a CPS training for individuals who are deaf. They are now looking for peer support provider agencies who are willing to hire the CPSs who complete this new training as part of an internship to permanent-hire program.

Please click here for the letter from OMHSAS for more complete details and contact information if your agency is interested.