The Newsfeed

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! Since our last Newsfeed, MHAPA, our affiliates, and the consumers we serve have been settling into a new reality after the state passed its 2012-2013 budget. We expected budget cuts to community-based behavioral health services would result in the diminished capacity of communities to provide an effective level of programs and services—and that consumers and their families would suffer as a result. Indeed, programs and services have been curtailed; and people are feeling the impact.

A Pennsylvania Association of County Administrators and Mental Health and Developmental Services survey gives a county-by-county view of how the cuts have hurt statewide. (A recent United Way survey also offers a view of life post-budget cuts.) Take a look at both surveys and please help us put a face to the numbers. Learn how here. The more stories we collect, the better we can fight future cuts.

Dennis Marion

Now, some new beginnings…

The PA Department of Public Welfare appointed a new Deputy Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS). Dennis Marion, who started on January 22, comes to OMHSAS after serving as Cumberland County's Chief Operations Officer and Chief Clerk. His extensive human service experience includes lead roles as Human Services Administrator, Administrator of Mental Health/Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, County Administrator, and Executive Director of the Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission. Read more about Dennis.

In December, MHAPA also welcomed a new affiliate, the Mental Health Association of Seven Mountains Region, which is located in Lewistown. We look forward to working with both Deputy Secretary Marion and our new affiliate in unique ways.

As always, thank you for your support and best wishes for a healthy and safe 2013.

Sue Walther
Executive Director

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