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David T. Jones Chosen to Lead Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services

Contact: Monica Lewis-Wilborn, Director of Communications
267-588-6609, monica.lewis-wilborn@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA, PA — After a five-month search, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced the appointment of David T. Jones as Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), a $1 billion healthcare agency with nearly 800 employees.  Jones had been serving as Acting Commissioner following the departure of Dr. Arthur Evans, who left to become president of the American Psychological Association in February.

“The Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services addresses some of the most challenging issues and critical needs facing our city and the people who live here. From the growing opioid crisis to the pain and hardships often associated with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, DBHIDS has been at the forefront to help our most vulnerable citizens,” Kenney said. “It takes a hardworking and compassionate person to lead an agency with so much to do and so many to serve. I’m proud to say we found such a person in David T. Jones. He has the knowledge, the vision and the ability to lead DBHIDS and ensure that those in need receive the best service and treatment possible.”

Prior to serving as Acting Director of DBHIDS, Jones spent four years as Deputy Commissioner. In that role, he provided oversight to the department’s fiscal and administrative operations. Prior to his time in Philadelphia, Jones was Chief of Behavioral Health and Crisis Services for the Montgomery County (MD) Department of Health and Human Services. There, he administered a wide-range of diverse programs addressing child and adult mental health, substance misuse, crisis center, victims assistance, and consumer services.

As a behavioral health administrator with more than 25 years of progressive management experience, Jones has produced measurable results to improve the lives of children, adults, and families with behavioral health needs. He possesses in-depth knowledge of state and federal regulations inclusive of Medicaid managed care and mental health rehabilitation standards and has excelled in managing both urban and suburban public behavioral health systems that achieved outcomes inclusive of increasing access to care and expanding the range of services available to residents with behavioral health care needs. Additionally, he has national experience developing multi-disciplinary coalitions to affect sustainable community-level change.

Such experience will be helpful as DBHIDS is at the forefront of key initiatives for the city, including the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Crisis. Under Jones’ leadership, DBHIDS will be carrying out work to implement recommendations brought forth from the task force to serve those impacted by opioid misuse. The department will continue to be involved in the cross-sector response to other issues, including homelessness and multi-dimensional supports for youth in the city.

“I’ve had the great pleasure to work with DBHIDS and its dedicated staff since 2013. So, I know first-hand what we can do to ensure the well-being of children, adults, and families in this great city,” said Jones, who earned a Master of Science in Community School/Clinical Child Psychology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

“I am both humbled and excited to be at the helm as we continue innovative and impactful work, especially as we aim to address the opioid crisis and provide the highest quality of services to our most vulnerable citizens, including our children,” Jones added.

Eva Gladstein, Deputy Managing Director of the City’s Health and Human Services Cabinet that includes DBHIDS, praised Jones for leading DBHIDS in an acting capacity and expressed confidence in his ability to manage the department during such a critical time.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with David and am convinced there is no better leader for DBHIDS today,” Gladstein said. “We conducted a national search and many of those we considered for this role have the intellect and experience required for the position. David stood out, however, as a leader with integrity, charisma, and an extraordinary ability to connect vision, people, and ideas to implement the quality service and programming needed to positively change lives and communities throughout Philadelphia.”

To learn more about Jones, please visit his profile page in the Leadership section of DBHIDS.org.

Brittany Borden

Brittany Borden

Monica Lewis-Wilborn

Monica Lewis-Wilborn

Andrea L. Brooks, MSW, LSW

Andrea L. Brooks, MSW, LSW

Nicole Connell, M.Ed.

Nicole Connell, M.Ed.

Philadelphia Provides Resources to Manage Post-Election Stress

According to the American Physiological Association 2016 Presidential Election Source of Significant Stress for More Than Half of Americans

PHILADELPHIA, PA –  According to the American Psychological Association, 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The survey was conducted online among adults 18+ living in the U.S. by Harris Poll.

Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services (DBHIDS) understands that Philadelphians may be feeling particularly stressed as a response to last night’s election results.

Stress and increased emotions can manifest differently in all residents, however, the presence of this stress should not to be underestimated. Immense and/or chronic stress can lead to anxiety, increased alcohol use, depression, and other serious health issues.

“If you are having a stressful reaction to the election, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective and help yourself or those around you to cope with post-election stress,” said Dr. Arthur Evans, Commissioner of DBHIDS. “We have developed a number of strategies and resources to help our community members become and stay strong, resilient and well.”

While emotional responses are common and understandable, it’s important people take action to effectively cope and manage stress. Please find some helpful tips below.

Here are suggestions to manage post-election stress (from the American Psychological Association):

  • If the 24-hour news cycle of claims and counterclaims is causing you stress and/or upsetting you, limit your media consumption. Turn off the TV. Take some time for yourself, go for a walk, or spend time with friends and family doing things that you enjoy.
  • Avoid getting into discussions about the election results, especially if you think they have the potential to escalate to conflict. Be cognizant of the frequency with which you’re discussing the results with friends, family, or coworkers.
  • Ruminating about what may happen in the future is not productive. Channel your concerns to make a positive difference on issues you care about. Consider volunteering in your community, advocating for an issue you support or joining a local group. Remember that there are opportunities for civic involvement.
  • If you are having trouble focusing or even going about your routine due to fear, try writing down your worst post-election fears, then address them. If you write them down on a piece of paper, you can address them one by one. Fact check. Think about what is actually possible. Hopefully, this exercise will help you relax and find some peace.
  • If you are experiencing a sense of panic, remember that very little will change overnight. Try to remind yourself that in the weeks to come, there will be very little immediate change for you and/or your family. The new president will not take office until January. And remember, our political system and the three branches of government mean that we can expect a significant degree of stability immediately after a major transition of government. Avoid catastrophizing, and maintain a balanced perspective.
  • According to a recent American Psychological Association article, social media users were more likely to report increased stress related to the election. If using social media is increasing your stress and charging you to respond emotionally, take a break from social media to remove the stressor.
  • Lastly, research shows that being a member of a faith community can provide important social support and comfort during stressful times. Faith can also help us to put events in proper perspective.

If you are still feeling emotional or increased stress, here are some additional resources below:

  • Visit Healthy Minds Philly and take a free, 24/7, anonymous, online screening and learn about resources that exist to help you.
  • Call the Philadelphia Warm Line, 855-507-WARM (9276) or 267-507-3945, to speak with a person who also has experienced times of emotional stress. Peers are available Tuesday-Friday from 4-7 p.m.
  • Call our 24/7 Member Service Line, 888-545-2600, to learn about behavioral health services available in Philadelphia.
  • Lastly, if you or someone you care about is in extreme emotional distress and may cause harm to themselves or others, please contact DBHIDS’ Suicide and Crisis Intervention Hotline at (215) 686-4420. Trained suicide/crisis intervention professionals are available 24/7,  365 days a year to provide counseling, consultation, and referrals for people seeking assistance for acute psychiatric needs.

“Although the City cannot predict exactly what’s ahead during the upcoming transition to a new president, we promise one thing will remain constant and that is DBHIDS continues to remain committed to improving the lives of Philadelphians both physically and mentally now and well into the future,” said Dr. Evans.

Contact: Joel Avery, 215-917-1618

New York City Commissions Artists to Paint Murals for Mental Health Awareness

According to Carl Campanile of the New York Post, New York City has announced that it will use a $500,000 grant to hire artists to paint three murals to raise awareness about mental health. The artists will be asked to work with between thirty and forty people from the community who are involved in the numerous mental-health programs based in the city.

“The Health Department is launching its first Mural Arts Project using art as a public-health approach to address mental and behavioral health issues through artistic collaboration,” spokeswoman Carolina Rodriguez, said.

Funded by the state’s Office of Mental Health, the murals will be completed in three different neighborhoods. The proposal for the project cited the success of Philadelphia’s Porch Light Project, a collaborative initiative launched by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services. The program sought to transform neighborhoods with art while promoting the health of the community.

“The Atlas of Tomorrow” Mural Dedication

“The Atlas of Tomorrow” is a project of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program’s Porch Light Project, funded by the DBHIDS. It is made possible with additional support from the Hummingbird Foundation.

The mural asks that you first consider a situation in your life where you could use some direction, and then spin the dial. The pointer selects a story that will guide you to change your perspective, perhaps through an unexpected memory, a forgotten dream, or some slight shifting of the soul. It is not fortune-telling, but an exercise in short-circuiting subconscious gossip and mental reruns. It is not advice, but wisdom.

Kicking Off Population Health: Promoting Health, Wellness, and Self-Determination

DBHIDS invites you to learn about an innovative approach the Department is taking improve the health of everyone on our communities. This approach, called population health, helps to create communities in which ever member — not just those who seek out services — can thrive. A population health approach seeks to promote healthy and wellness in all, not just to diagnose and address the challenges of some.

We believe there are two compelling reasons for Philadelphia to adopt a population health model:

  1. It is a natural continuation of the important work the we’ve done to transform our system of care, and
  2. It is where the U.S. health care environment is already moving towards to further help contain costs and achieve better health outcomes.

We know that addressing not only the medical but also the social, environmental, and political determinants of health will support the health and well-being of all and bring us closer to eradicating health inequalities in and across our communities.

To ground, educate and excite community members, providers, stakeholders and others about population health and the implications of it, the Department will be hosting a variety of upcoming educational meetings focused on population health starting in June throughout August.

Additionally, below are other population health-focused meetings that we encourage you to attend this summer:

Kicking Off Population Health: Attending to the Whole Population

DBHIDS invites you to learn about an innovative approach the Department is taking improve the health of everyone on our communities. This approach, called population health, helps to create communities in which ever member — not just those who seek out services — can thrive. A population health approach seeks to promote healthy and wellness in all, not just to diagnose and address the challenges of some.

We believe there are two compelling reasons for Philadelphia to adopt a population health model:

  1. It is a natural continuation of the important work the we’ve done to transform our system of care, and
  2. It is where the U.S. health care environment is already moving towards to further help contain costs and achieve better health outcomes.

We know that addressing not only the medical but also the social, environmental, and political determinants of health will support the health and well-being of all and bring us closer to eradicating health inequalities in and across our communities.

To ground, educate and excite community members, providers, stakeholders and others about population health and the implications of it, the Department will be hosting a variety of upcoming educational meetings focused on population health starting in June throughout August.

Additionally, below are other population health-focused meetings that we encourage you to attend this summer:

Events

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