6a00d83420c49153ef01b7c781a9b2970bThis 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

Crisis Text Line (Posted 2/15/18)

The Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Crisis Text Line, a free and confidential service that is available nationally to provide support to those in crisis.

Crisis Text Line may be accessed any time by texting PA to 741741.


Flyer: PA Crisis Text Line Flyer_Option 1_Final

FTC Releases Fact Sheets on Treatment for Opioid Dependence (Posted 1/26/18)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) worked closely with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop a new resource on treatments for opioid dependence or withdrawal. The resource includes some quick tips to get people to real help, while helping them avoid products that promise help but can instead cost precious time and money, lead to relapse, and even be dangerous.

You can find this one-page fact sheet in English at and in Spanish at Feel free to share throughout your network, website, newsletters, and social media.

Consumer and Family Discussion (Posted 1/11/18)

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is seeking individuals and family members of individuals who have received mental health and/or behavioral health services to participate in a Consumer and Family Discussion with a representative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) as a part of the 2018 Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Site Visit.  The Consumer and Family Discussion will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 10AM-12:30PM.  Participants may attend in person at the OMHSAS Office in Commonwealth Tower, Strawberry Square (320 Market Street, Harrisburg) or via conference call.  SAMHSA requested that the individuals/family members in the Consumer and Family Group Discussion NOT be Planning Council Members.  However, OMHSAS welcomes referrals from Planning Council Members.

A separate meeting is scheduled for the Mental Health Planning Council (MHPC) to provide feedback as a part of this site visit.  Planning Council members will receive a separate email from their MHPC committee co-chairs regarding the MHPC feedback session.

SAMHSA also requested that individuals/family members participating in this discussion represent a broad demographic.  In order to ensure this, OMHSAS is including a demographic survey as a part of the request to participate form.  Request to Participate Forms must be returned to Jill Stemple at no later than 5PM on Friday, February 15, 2018.  If you have any questions, please contact Jill Stemple at 717-409-3790 or

Request to Participate Form: 2:2018 CMHSBG Site Visit- ConsumerFamily Group Participation Request Form….

Certification through Pennsylvania Certification Board Update (Posted 12/29/17)

Over the past 6 months, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has been taking the steps necessary to place certification of peer specialists with the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), in order to provide critical safeguards to protect our most vulnerable populations.
In September 2017, stakeholders were invited to participate on a time-limited certified peer specialist (CPS) certification workgroup.  Workgroup members were selected from the four regions of the state, and were comprised of 12 peers/peer supervisors, and representatives from counties, county representatives, Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations, providers, and Pennsylvania’s Peer Support Coalition.
From October to December 2017, the workgroup met three times and developed recommendations for the Commonwealth in moving the certification process forward through the PCB.  These recommendations included, but were not limited to, proposing a grandparenting period for Pennsylvania’s current workforce of CPS; drafting a CPS application; identifying the cost of the CPS renewal fee; drafting communications/marketing materials; and developing a Certified Peer Specialist Code of Ethical Conduct.
An anticipated start date for grandparenting is set for February 1, 2018. Keep checking this website for more information.

Dennis Marion Impact Award (Posted 12/27/17)

The Dennis Marion Impact Award was established in 2017 in honor of Dennis Marion’s commitment to public service throughout his distinguished career, which spanned over three decades.  This award recognizes local and state government employees whose initiatives, processes, and projects have led to significant improvements in Pennsylvania’s behavioral health service delivery system.

About Dennis Marion

Dennis Marion served as Deputy Secretary for Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services from 2013 to 2017. Prior to his state employment, Dennis served Cumberland County, Pennsylvania for 31 years in various positions, such as County Administrator, Director of the Drug and Alcohol Commission, and Director of the Office of Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities.  Just like Dennis Marion, whose strong leadership, passion for public service, and commitment to the people he served did not stop at the boundaries of his work in any single county or agency, this award recognizes strong performers who bridge disparate missions and drive towards a single goal of excellence in public service.

Nominations for the 2018 Dennis Marion Impact Award will be accepted until January 15, 2018.

Candidates must:

  • Be current state and/or local government employees in Pennsylvania.
  • Have made outstanding contributions to Pennsylvania’s behavioral health service delivery system.

Click here for the nomination form!

Sponsoring Organizations

  • Pennsylvania Department of Human Services – Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
  • Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania Association of County MH/DS Administrators
  • Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association
  • Pennsylvania Association of County Drug and Alcohol Administrators
  • Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association

Questions regarding the Dennis Marion Impact Award may be directed to

Join Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Planning Council (Posted 12/12/17)

Do you want to make a real difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians with mental health and substance use disorders? 

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.

To be considered for the membership term starting in July 2018, please complete and return the attached application by March 31, 2018.

For more information about the OMHSAS Mental Health Planning Council, visit or contact  Individuals interested in applying for membership are encouraged to attend the February 28, 2018 meeting of the Mental Health Planning Council in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Application: Planning Council Application 2018 

Deputy Secretary of OMHSAS Announced (Posted 10/30/17)

On October 20, 2017 acting Department of Human Services Secretary, Teresa Miller, sent the following email:
Please join me in welcoming Lynn Kovich to the DHS team. Beginning on November 13, Lynn will serve as deputy secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). With 26 years of experience in direct services work and administration in both the nonprofit and government sectors working with individuals who have developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance use disorders, as well as those experiencing homelessness, Lynn will be a great addition to a remarkable OMHSAS team.
Additionally, I’d like to personally thank Ellen DiDominico for all of her hard work and assistance during this transition period.
Together, we look forward to working together to better serve the commonwealth.
Teresa Miller
Acting DHS Secretary

Save the Date – PaPSC 1st Annual Conference (Posted 9/27/17)






Save the Date – NAMI Keystone PA Conference (Posted 9/11/17)

Join NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania for its annual state conference this March. The two-day event features an exciting lineup of speakers and workshops that will educate and enlighten all mental health stakeholders – from professionals, educators, and advocates to individuals living with mental illness and their families.

Look for more information on registration deadlines, accommodations, and scholarship availability in the coming weeks.





New DHS Secretary Announced (Posted 8/21/17)

This message is being sent on behalf of

Tom Wolf, Governor

 Good afternoon,

I am pleased to announce that, effective August 21, Teresa Miller, current Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, will lead the Department of Human Services.

Commissioner Miller’s leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the people of the commonwealth have been evident during her tenure at Insurance, and I am confident that she will lead DHS with those same characteristics and commitment.

As Commissioner Miller joins DHS, Jessica Altman will begin serving at the helm of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

Please join me in welcoming Teresa Miller to DHS and wishing her much continued success.

Governor Tom Wolf

PMHCA Announces 2017 Glenn Koons Scholarship Recipient (Posted 8/1/17)

PMHCA has announced their 2017 Glenn Koons Scholarship recipient. Below is their announcement:

Cambria County resident, Dontae George Myers was a young 29 when he lost his mom. Still grieving over his parents’ separation years before, and emotionally raw from five years of caring for his ill mother, Dontae went into a tailspin after her death. He was hospitalized and then spent time in rehab for co-occurring disorder.

Although Dontae came out of the hospital and rehab with tools to manage his mental health, he credits peer support and the community he found at the Peer Empowerment Network (PEN) Drop In Center in Johnstown, PA, with setting him on a solid path to recovery and leading him to pursue certification in peer support.

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