Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PA Behavioral Health & Aging Website

The Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition has created a new website for the benefit of its members & the public. It may be accessed online here.

Admittedly, the website presently has very limited offerings -- just a home page with a mission statement, and an email listserv sign-up. But I expect that this new website will grow into a great resource and become a clear expression of the interests & advocacy of the Coalition's members.

This is the mission statement of PA BH&AC:

The Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition was formed in 1999 as a statewide coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the unmet mental health and substance abuse needs of older adults across the Commonwealth.

As a coalition, regional groups representing Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southeast and Southwest work together on local and statewide levels in order to collaboratively address the mental health/substance abuse needs of older adults.

Our mission is to advocate expansion, improvement, and development of affordable, appropriate, and accessible behavioral health prevention and treatment services for older Pennsylvanians.
The National Coalition on Mental Health & Aging includes the PA BH&AC as a member, among other statewide & national organizations.

Linda Schumaker is the Executive Director of
PA BH&AC, who also supervises PA MBHAC's email alerts for news relevant to its members. Linda is a Registered Nurse who works in the Department of Psychiatry, of the Penn State College of Medicine, in Hershey, PA, and also for Pinnacle Health System. Her contact information is: Rutherford House, 3300 Parkview Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17111 (Phone: 717-564-5010; Email: pabhacoalit@verizon.net).

PSU (by the way) maintains its own excellent website regarding mental health concerns in the aging process. See:
Mental Health & Aging.

Other components of, & coordinators for, PA BH&AC, as listed in the most recent brochure about the organization, include:
  • Central Regional Coalition -- Jill Buhrman
    Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging
    2 South Second Street, Third Floor
    Harrisburg, PA 17101
    Phone: 717-780-6180
    Fax: 717-255-2792
    Email: jbuhrman@dauphinc.org
  • Southeast Regional Coalition -- Susan Saler
    Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania
    1211 Chestnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    Phone: 215-751-1800 Ext. 297; Fax: 215-636-6300
    Email: ssaler@mhasp.org
  • Northeast Region Coalition -- Karen Leonovich
    Aging Care Management Supervisor II
    Columbia Montour Aging Office, Inc
    702 Sawmill Road, Suite 201
    Bloomsburg, PA 17815
    Phone: (570) 784-9272; Fax: 570-784-3678
    Email: kleonovich@CMAAA15.org
  • Northwest Region Coalition --Rochelle Youkers
    Stairways Behavioral Health
    810 Walnut Street
    Erie, PA 16502
    Phone: 814 - 878-2169; Fax (814) 878-2150
    Email: ryoukers@Stairwaysbh.org
  • Southwest Regional Coalition -- Heather Sedlacko
    Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA)
    201 Smith Drive, Suite 2D, 6
    Cranberry Township, PA 1606
    Phone: 724-779-3200; Fax: 724-779-2131
    Email: swappahm@zoominternet.net
I know a bit about PA BH&AC, because I had met with some members of its Central Region on May 18, 2007, for two hours, when I discussed with them "New PA Laws Affecting Older Adults". They are a dedicated & inquiring group.

Although in its infancy, the PA BH&AC website hopefully will grow into a valuable resource, given the members who already participate in the organization. For an example of the content & links that such a website might someday display, see the website of another state's similar organization, the Iowa Coalition on Mental Health & Aging.

If you are interested in the combination of issues of mental health and aging, you should sign up for the email alerts already provided by Linda. You can do so using the new website here.

Update: 06/26/07:

Linda Schumaker sent me an email today, in which she provided updated & more detailed contacts for the regional components of PA BH&AC, which have been incorporated above.

Updated: 05/27/08:

The new contact information for PA BH&AC is:
Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition
525 South 29th Street

Harrisburg, 17104

Ph: 717 541-4219

Fax: 717 541-4217