Archive for category: News

Revolutionizing Population Health Management With Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

September 2015 — Free Executive Web Briefing Sponsored By Beating the Blues US

Presented By: Samantha Matlin, Director of Evaluation and Community Impact, Scattergood Foundation and former Special Advisor to the Commissioner and Senior Director for Health Promotion, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) & Dana Careless, Manager for Health Promotion, Philadelphia DBHIDS

As the health and human services industry shifts to a population health approach, organizations are looking for new, innovative ways to provide care and ease the transition. Technologies and programs such as online cognitive behavioral therapy have become increasingly popular for organizations looking for innovative ways to provide treatment to the populations that they serve. Whether it’s new tools or innovative uses for technologies in the current market, digital technologies are changing the way organizations provide care and manage the shift to population health.

Hear Samantha Matlin, Ph.D., former Special Advisor to the Commissioner and Senior Director for Health Promotion, and Dana Careless, Manager for Health Promotion at the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), discuss how the City of Philadelphia is using digital technologies like Beating the Blues US, an online cognitive behavioral therapy program, to support their shift to a population health management approach. During this exclusive 90-minute session, Dr. Matlin and Ms. Careless shared examples of technologies currently being used and the innovative ways these tools are being offered to individuals needing care.

This highly anticipated case study presentation showcased:

  • the conceptual model of how Philadelphia DBHIDS has been moving to a population health management approach;
  • real world examples of key technologies being offered to individuals needing care and the innovative ways these technologies are being used;
  • an exclusive look at how Philadelphia DBHIDS has been using online cognitive behavioral therapy and the lessons learned while implementing the use of this technology.

Click the links below to view the briefing slides as well as the audio.

Download Slides (PDF)
Webinar Recording Video (MP4)

Newly Released Person First Guidelines

Just-Released: Person First Guidelines

Words are among the most powerful tools for communication that human beings have at their disposal. They can be used to heal, affirm motivate, inform, build capacity and consensus, inspire, praise, and educate. Unwittingly, and often with no intent at malice, they can be used to minimize, marginalize, pathologize, stigmatize and oppress.

The fields of alcohol and other drug treatment and mental health services collectively referred to as behavioral health have long used words to diagnose and label individuals and families by their (respective) challenges. This is taught in colleges and universities as the way in which we identify people and the challenges for which they present with care. However, this labeling has a tendency to elicit pity or sympathy, create oppressive situations, cast people and families in a negative light and/or in “victim” roles and perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Labeling people and families by their challenges (e.g. homeless, alcoholic, addict, schizophrenic, diabetic etc.) also tends to dehumanize, disenfranchise and reduce the person or family to being that challenge, instead of someone living with, in recovery from or experiencing symptoms of it.

The field of behavioral health services is historically paternalistic in its approach to working with people and families. Social healing words (strengths-based language) help the field eliminate that paternalism and move away from doing things to and for people and families to doing things with them.

Learning a new language, especially for adults, is often challenging. Many people in the behavioral health field were trained to label the people and families with whom they work. Insurance companies pay for diagnoses rather than, wellness and healing. Thankfully, large systems employing vast numbers of people have begun to reevaluate such ideologies as illness in the workforce costs companies billions of dollars each year in lost productivity. The art is in recognizing the use of words that are grounded in the strengths and capacities of people and families. This recognition promotes whole health (physical, emotional,social spiritual), improved outcomes and healing.

The following work represents years of thinking affirmatively about people, families and communities and how best to support their journeys to wellness. Some believe that moving away from deficit language devalues their work and diminishes their roles as experts who have spent years getting their educations and working in their fields. Conversely others feel relief that they do not always need to be the expert. One person working in a community-based program in DC related that he found his work less taxing because he was stepping out of the way to promote people deciding their own courses of care. We believe there is little cost associated with changing language rather the benefits are immeasurable in terms of better outcomes and more collaborative relationships with people receiving services, their families and their communities.

Click HERE to access the full guidelines or see below.

Just-Released: Final Evaluation of the Porch Light Study

The Yale School of Medicine spent four years evaluating our Porch Light program – a collaborative endeavor of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and DBHIDS that aims to catalyze positive changes in the community, improve the physical environment, create opportunities for social connectedness, develop skills to enhance resilience and recovery, promote community and social inclusion, shed light on challenges faced by those with behavioral health issues, reduce stigma, and encourage empathy. More information about the Porch Light Project can be found HERE.

Now they are ready to share the evaluation results.

The evaluation was guided by a theory of change that specifies how certain neighborhood characteristics, collective efficacy among residents and aesthetic qualities of the neighborhood, can reduce established health risks associated with neighborhood decay and disorder. Public murals were expected to enhance these neighborhood characteristics in the short-term so as to promote long-term community health. The Porch Light theory of change also specifies how creation of a public mural by individuals with mental health or substance abuse challenges can reduce behavioral health stigma and enhance individual recovery and resilience. In collaboration with Porch Light stakeholders, the research team developed a logic model based on this underlying theory of change to guide the evaluation and examine community and individual-level outcomes.

The Porch Light Evaluation was part of a larger initiative, the Philadelphia Community Health Project (PCHP), conducted in collaboration with DBHIDS. The purpose of pchp was twofold: to identify appropriate comparison neighborhoods and participants from behavioral health agencies in Philadelphia for the Porch Light Evaluation, and to provide additional data to DBHIDS on the well-being, service use, and neighborhood conditions experienced by persons receiving behavioral health services. Porch Light and PCHP neighborhoods and agencies were matched on key characteristics, including conditions of neighborhood decay and disorder as well as demographic and neighborhood risk indicators, so as to enhance the scientific rigor of the evaluation.


After almost two years, residents living within one mile of more than one newly installed mural reported:

  • A sustained relative increase in collective efficacy, including social cohesion and trust among neighbors as well as informal neighborhood social control.
  • A modest but sustained relative increase in perceptions of neighborhood aesthetic quality, including the quality of the walking environment and perceived neighborhood safety.
  • A promising and sustained relative decrease (again at a statistical trend) in stigma toward individuals with mental health or substance abuse challenges.

Full findings from the study that highlight the effectiveness of Porch Light program murals are available HERE.

This evaluation was made possible by funding from: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Independence Foundation, The Philadelphia Foundation, The Patricia Kind Family Foundation, Hummingbird Foundation, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

For media inquiries, contact:

MEDIA ADVISORY: “Fables of Fortune” Mural Dedication (7/1)

Philadelphia’s Strength-based and Community-oriented Mural about Gambling

Community-wide effort to strengthen awareness of “problem gambling” – especially amongst Philadelphia’s Asian immigrant communities

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Located in the heart of South Philadelphia’s Asian-American community – and only blocks away from Philadelphia’s casinos – the new mural, Fables of Fortune, is about problem gambling. Research suggests that the Asian American community is at higher risk for problem gambling than other communities. Fables of Fortune, the newest addition in the Porch Light series, a partnership between the Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual disAbility Services and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, will greet riders of a popular casino-bound trolley service with messages of wellness, hope and recovery.  In addition, the mural illustrates stories of real people and the cultural aspects of luck and gambling; the challenges problem gamblers face; and the arrival of local casinos and gambling practices that target immigrant communities over the past decade. Created by Mural Arts artist, Eric Okdeh, the visual message behind the mural shows a path of recognition of gambling addiction, and the decision to overcome problem gambling for individuals and their families.

Join us on Wednesday, July 1 for the official unveiling. Greater details are below.



  • Jane Golden, Executive Director, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
  • Dr. Marquita Williams, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
  • Dr. Catherine Williams, Single County Authority Administrator, Director of Program Planning & Operations, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
  • Thoai Nguyen, CEO, SEAMAAC
  • Eric Okdeh, Artist, City of Philadelphia, Mural Arts Program

2300 South 7th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Remarks will take place on sidewalk North of the 2300 S 7th building

David Kim (215-685-5454 or
Kimberly Rymsha (215-685-5475 or

If you’re interested in speaking with someone on or prior to the event date and/or you planning to join us at the event, please let us know.

Funders and partners for this event include the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services/The Office of Addiction Services, SEAMAAC, City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and the Patricia Kind Family Foundation.

DBHIDS Heat Safety Policy

Service Providers:
For your reference, here is the annual distribution of the DBHIDS Heat Safety Policy. The information remains the same this year. The Policy contains safety measures for the following OMH and OAS funded programs: residential programs (includes congregate, individual living arrangements and recovery houses), licensed drug and alcohol facilities, and mental health targeted case management programs. Additionally, the policy applies to certified peer specialist programs. The safety measures entail training, monitoring, and mechanical cooling requirements. Training at provider agencies should be completed by April 15 and copies of sign-in sheets received at Office of Mental Health to the attention of the Director of Mental Health Services by May 1.

Although the Policy applies directly to the types of programs identified above, all DBHIDS funded programs would benefit from implementation of the safety measures; we ask that you share the information with all of your programs.

Thank you for your assistance with this life-saving policy.

PDF: Heat Safety Bulletin 2015

PDF: Heat tips Ad_1

PDF: May ’02–Health Matters (Front) 2004 OMH Update

PDF: May -02–Health Matters (Back)

Children’s Behavioral Health Stakeholders Gathering, Jan 8, 2015

Blue Ribbon Commission on Children: A look back and the path ahead.

On Jan 8th, DBHIDS will convene a stakeholder gathering with representatives from the city’s child serving community, parents and youth, focusing on the transformation of children’s behavioral health services and the overall promotion of social and emotional wellbeing for children. The event will feature a look back at the 2007 Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Children’s Behavioral Health to review the progress made and discuss the path that lies ahead.

For your reference, here are links to the 2007 BRC report and executive summary:

Blue Ribbon Commission Full Report

BRC Report Executive Summary

For more information, please contact Program Manager Valarie Oulds:

Respite: Need a break?


Available from November 1 through June 30

=Respite care is short term care that allows parents/guardians of children (ages 6 to 15) with a behavioral health diagnosis to take a break from the daily routine and stress of caregiving