New Mental Health Partnerships Program Brings Hope to Women in Prison

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PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 2017 — Mental Health Partnerships (MHP), in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, has been awarded a three-year grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to bring peer support services to women and those who identify as women who are incarcerated in Philadelphia's Riverside Correctional Facility (RCF), and to continue serving them as they transition to the community upon release.

The project, Bridges to Home, focuses on three intersecting experiences: gender; women who have been identified as experiencing serious mental/emotional/psychological distress, substance/alcohol abuse, and/or these two challenges simultaneously; and women who have historically been homeless or who will be facing homelessness.

“Mental Health Partnerships is proud to partner with the State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Philadelphia Prison System, I'm Free [Females Reentering Empowering Each Other], the Homeless Advocacy Project, and Temple University on this innovative project,” said Michael Brody, MHP President and CEO.

“We are hopeful that this will become a model for peer support in correctional facilities that can be replicated in communities around the U.S.,” said Clarice Bailey, PhD, Chief Learning Officer of the [email protected], which trains and certifies Certified Peer Specialists throughout Pennsylvania.

The goal of Bridges to Home is to provide intensive services to between 25 and 30 women each year of the grant by training women who are incarcerated to become Certified Peer Specialists (CPS), and establishing a CPS program within the facility. Women who are 60 to 90 days out from release will be linked with MHP Case Managers and CPS who will support the women as they navigate through a variety of services shown to improve community connection and reintegration by increasing the possibility of finding stable housing.

“We see the women as people who may have been caught in a system that is designed for social control,” Dr. Bailey said. “We look at social determinants for health and well-being as the social structures that are often at work, including poverty, race, gender, trauma—personal and historical.” 

The mission of Mental Health Partnerships is “to promote groundbreaking ideas and create opportunities for resilience and recovery by applying the knowledge learned from the people we support, employ, and engage in transformative partnerships.”

Contact: Clarice Bailey, PhD, Chief Learning Officer, [email protected], Mental Health Partnerships, [email protected], 267.507.3337

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SOURCE Mental Health Partnerships

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Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children.
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