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.
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."
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.
In 2011, MCES issued the "ACE" (Ask, Care, Engage) card succinctly stating how to help someone who might be suicidal. The card was adapted from a similar resource used by the Veterans Administration (VA). MCES has now adapted another VA suicide prevention resource for general community use.
Last spring, MCES began working with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC (Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center) for VA Suicide Prevention, Denver, CO to make practical suicide prevention information more available. The first product is a new trifold based on the ACE Card. MCES is now working with the Rocky Mountain MIRECC on a version of the ACE trifold based on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that will be made available nation-wide.
MCES proudly announces that longtime executive Bill Myers has been named the organization's CEO.
Bill was most recently the chief operating officer for MCES. He held that position since 2010. He joined MCES in 1991 as a psychiatric technician.
"Not surprisingly, Bill rose to the top in our search process," said Board Chairman Pete Scattergood. "His dedication to MCES, leadership skills and knowledge of the mental health field are exactly what our organization needs."
Bill assumed his new role on July 1. He replaces Dr. Rocio Nell, who served MCES for more than 30 years.
"I thank the Board for the trust it has placed in me," said Bill. "MCES is a special organization that strives to make a difference in the lives of individuals and families when they most need support. I have been privileged to be part of that effort for 25 years and look forward to leading our talented staff as we continue our commitment to mental health."
Bill has held a variety of positions at MCES, including crisis intervention caseworker, assistant director of crisis intervention and director of business services. He holds a BS in Psychology and an MBA from Penn State. He lives in Lower Gwynedd with his wife and three sons.
Diversified Search assisted the MCES Board of Directors with the recruitment process.
Deepraj Singh, MD, is the new Medical Director at MCES.
Dr. Singh joined MCES's medical staff in 2015. She is Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. At MCES, Dr. Singh performed both voluntary and involuntary psychiatric evaluations in the Crisis Center and provided psychiatric care to patients admitted to the Inpatient Unit.
Dr. Singh attended medical school at Albany Medical College and did her Residency at Drexel University. Prior to coming to MCES, she held positions at Fairmount Behavioral Health System and at Friends Hospital.
"Dr. Singh has been a versatile and valuable member of the MCES Medical Staff and I look forward to working with her to further enhance the quality of our clinical services," said MCES CEO Bill Myers.
On May 1, Director of Development and Suicide Prevention Tony Salvatore accepted the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's (AFSP) Community Impact Award on behalf of MCES.
The Greater Philadelphia's AFSP recognized Tony and MCES for their unflagging dedication to preventing suicide not only in Montgomery County but throughout the region through "a wide range of crisis intervention and emergency psychiatric services." The honor recognized that:
• MCES is one of the only area participants in the National Suicide Lifeline that is 24/7/365, and MCES has been a Lifeline member for over a year.
• Tony and MCES created a Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Taskforce following three local police suicides in 2014.
• Tony and MCES created and distributed suicide prevention tool kits to first responders, high school counselors, family members, and, through a project with their Youth & Philanthropy Club, faculty members at the Owen J. Roberts Middle School.
• SEPTA and MCES partnered on a suicide prevention project that placed signs for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system-wide, along 450 miles of railway—the first suicide prevention initiative of this kind in the area.
This is just a small sampling of the suicide prevention initiatives that Tony and MCES are responsible for. The Community Impact Award, bestowed at the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the AFSP's 7th Annual "Party with a Purpose" held at the home of Dr. Dwight Evans, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, is a fitting acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication that goes into preventing suicide.
"The recognition is nice, but I appreciate more the ongoing support of MCES's suicide prevention activities by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention over many years," said Tony.
Tony was also honored by Moving Agencies Toward Excellence (MAX Association) in March with its "Service Excellence Award for Outstanding Services."
MCES is looking to fill the following positions. Come be part of the MCES team.
Part-Time Evening and Weekend Psychiatric Techs
Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in an area of Human Services (Psychology, Sociology, Counseling, Criminal Justice, etc.) from an accredited college or university plus a minimum of 1 year of mental health direct care experience OR an Associate's Degree in an area of Human Services with twelve (12) semester Behavioral Health college credit hours plus two years of mental health direct care experience in the field; OR a High school diploma or equivalency plus twelve (12) semester Behavioral Health college credit hours plus three years of mental health direct care experience in the field or any combination of experience, education or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skill, and ability required. Other experience or education may be required by the credentialing body where appropriate.
Part-Time Environmental Services
Environmental Services Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalency (GED) and some related experience or any combination of experience, education, or training that would provide the level of knowledge, skill, and ability required.
Part-Time Ambulance Transport
Ambulance Qualifications: High school diploma or equivalency (GED) and a minimum of (1) one year of emergency or transport experience required. Successful applicants must have the ability to properly use the Montgomery County Telecommunication System.
For immediate consideration for any of the positions, please submit a resume to Sharon Bieber. Click here to email Sharon.
MCES is an EO Employer M/F/VETERAN/DISABLED