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Advocacy Alliance for Mental Health

Bringing mental healthcare out of the shadows
There’s a gap in mental health care in rural Pennsylvania.

Distance to mental health providers, lack of public transportation to care, long waiting lists, shortage of providers and other barriers keep people in our region from getting the counseling they need.

And even when care is easily accessible, there are other hurdles. Like the social stigma linked to mental healthcare. In communities where it seems like everyone knows everyone else’s business, no one wants the stigma related to mental illness.  

26 percent of those surveyed said they experienced between one and five days with less than good mental health.

--Community Health Needs Assessment Survey – Geisinger Community Medical Center, Dec. 2012

Geisinger is there

Educating our region on the value of mental health
Geisinger Community Medical Center (GCMC) supports The Advocacy Alliance’s Northeastern PA Health Care Quality Unit (HCQU). The Northeastern PA HCQU works to improve community service systems to meet the physical and behavioral healthcare needs of those who have mental and other developmental disabilities.

The primary goal of the HCQU is to assure that people are as mentally healthy as they can be to fully participate in community life. HCQU activities include:

  • Evaluating systems of care
  • Providing clinical health care expertise to residential and day program providers
  • Training caregivers
  • Combining community healthcare resources with state and regional quality improvement structures and processes. 

Adult mental health advocacy
People with mental illness have a better quality of life when they can speak confidently for themselves. So the focus of treatment, housing and employment is based on a person’s self-identified goals for recovery.

The Advocacy Alliance’s advocates include Certified Peer Specialists and other mental health professionals who work in communities, at Clarks Summit State Hospital, and in community adult psychiatric in-patient units. The adult mental health advocate visits the GCMC behavioral health until at least weekly to provide advocacy services for patients.

Child and family mental health advocacy
Our advocates, including Family Peer Advocates, work with families of children who have emotional or behavioral disorders. Advocates ensure that families’ voices are heard and included in ongoing dialogues on the regional, state, and federal level.

Consumer/ family satisfaction teams
To learn about what they think would help in the delivery of their services, The Advocacy Alliance also assesses adults’ and adolescents’ levels of satisfaction with the services they receive, with teams in the following counties:

  • Lackawanna/Susquehanna
  • Luzerne/Wyoming
  • Carbon/Monroe/Pike
  • Schuylkill
  • Wayne
  • Tioga
  • Columbia/Montour/Snyder/Union
  • Huntington/Mifflin/Juniata/Centre