CommonGround is Coming to Philadelphia
by patricia.deegan on Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 6:12pm

Melody Riefer (PDA Director of Training) and Allison Davies (Senior Trainer) spent the week in Philadelphia training a class of local mental health professionals to become Certified CommonGround Specialists (CGS). We will be training 30 CommonGround Specialists who in turn, will implement CommonGround in at least 9 mental health centers in Philadelphia.

I arrived on Friday to watch the new trainees supporting mental health service users in their first use of CommonGround. Although it was a training simulation, I was deeply moved to watch how yet another group of service users found great value in the software. Many people were printing out Personal Medicine Cards on how to manage symptoms as well as consumer fact sheets on psychiatric medications.  Others were printing materials on how to get help for domestic violence, herbal supplements, how to return to work and school, spirituality and recovery, and moving from homelessness to being a home owner.  During the debriefing, service users said that CommonGround was empowering and helped to level the playing field with their care providers. They wondered why all people in service settings don't routinely have access to CommonGround.  They were calling for CommonGround to be used in all mental health settings, prison, jail and hospital settings, with kids who get medications at school, etc. It was a truly uplifting day.

Later in the day I met with Dr. Arthur EvansCommissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)and his medical directors. Dr. Evans and his team have made remarkable progress in recovery transformation in Philadelphia.  We are honored to have the opportunity to work with this progressive team and to bring CommonGround to Philadelphia.