DMH Connections

A publication of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

September 2013  


2013 Banner


Logo for National Recovery Month  


This month, DMH celebrates Recovery Month, a national observance that raises awareness that mental health services and addiction treatment can enable those with mental illness or a substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. The focus is to applaud the gains made by those in recovery, just as we would commend those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. 


We hope you'll spread the word: We have the positive message to share that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.


In This Issue

Connections Corrections
DMH YouTube Spotlight - SAMHSA's Road to Recovery Television Series
Meet DMH's New Director of Employment
Four Years of Rocking Into Recovery
Upcoming Trainings -Protect, Report, Preserve: Abuse Against Persons with Disabilities
Conferences and Events
Joining the Voices of Recovery Together on Pathways to Wellness
Stakeholders Meet DMH's New Office of Recovery and Empowerment Director
DMH Awarded SAMSHA System of Care Expansion Implementation Grant for Transition Age Youth and their Families
DMH congratulates the 2013 Performance Recognition Program
Peer Employment Training - Register Today!
Save the Date - Celebrating Heroes
Photo of the Month

DMH Office of Communications and Community Engagement

Questions or suggestions?

Call 617-626-8124

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DMH is Getting Social! 

Twitter birdDMH is on Twitter!


Spread the word: DMH is on Twitter!  We're sharing great information, resources, links, happenings and content with you in live time. Follow DMH on Twitter @MassDMH or just click the button at the bottom of this block and we'll follow you back!


If you have news items of interest to the mental health community to Tweet, send it to Anna Chinappi or Michelle Cormier Tallman. Remember, Tweets are 140 characters. (Not words!)


DMH joins the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and several of its agencies on Twitter -- please follow them too. Here's a list:
  • EOHHS - @Mass_HHS
  • Department of Public Health - @MassDPH, @MassinMotion
  • Division of Health Care Finance and Policy - @MassHealthCare
  • Department of Veterans Services (DVS) - @MASSDVS
  • DVS Save Team  - @MassVeterans
  • DVS Women Veteran Network - @WomenVeterans
Thank you for supporting DMH communications efforts. As always, any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact Anna Chinappi. 


 Follow us on Twitter

Commonwealth Conversations


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Health and Human Services Blog 

 This social media platform provides news, updates and serve as a forum for open dialogue about issues related to all 16 EOHHS agencies.

 Click here to read blog posts by Secretary Bigby, Commissioner Fowler and others


Department of Public Health Blog 

Click here to view the DPH blog which features expert tips on nutrition and physical activity as well as a roundup of health and wellness events 

Contribute to the next DMH Connections

Please send all materials to 

Submission Deadline for the next Issue
Friday September 13


Click here for Submission Guidelines




In the article "DMH Community Celebrates Inspiring Young Adult Leaders for 2013"  

Lyn Legere's name was spelled incorrectly.



In the article "Call for Nominations: Ulis Advocacy Award" Margo E. McMahon, Ed.D. was omitted as an Isaiah Uliss Advocacy Award. Previous recipient. Mary Gregorio of Center Club expresses her sincere apologies to Margo and to anyone else who may have been omitted. 


YouTube logo icon DMH YouTube Spotlight
Road to Recovery July 2013:  Recovery Is a Family Affair
Road to Recovery July 2013: Recovery Is a Family Affair

The process of recovery applies not only to the person living with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder but for all family members as well. One or both parents living with mental illness or substance use conditions can traumatize children, which often has a lasting impact and can lead to multigenerational behavioral health problems. Similarly, children experiencing mental illness or emotional disturbance has a strong impact on siblings and parents. More and more, the field of behavioral health is recognizing the importance of engaging the entire family in treatment and recovery. This online show will demonstrate the positive results gained from taking a whole family approach in treatment and recovery, one in which all family members are engaged and supported in the healing process. Also, family issues in certain settings such as military families and nontraditional families will be explored. 
Click here to watch the entire broadcast of "Recovery Is a Family Affair: The Complex Dynamics in Families Struggling With Mental and Substance Use Disorders."


SAMHSA's Helpline 1 800 662-4357
Meet DMH's New Director of Employment  

Michael Stepansky 

Photo of Michael Stepansky


Michael Stepansky officially began his duties this summer as DMH's Director of Employment. The new position recognizes the critically important role employment plays in a person's recovery and the importance of coordinating the Department's employment efforts on a statewide level. 


"Inasmuch as employment is key to recovery, there is really no part of DMH that can't support employment in some way for the people we serve. I am extremely excited to be in this role at this time," said Michael.  


Michael will be working closely with DMH's six regional employment directors, as well as DMH providers, peers, Site Offices, hospitals and many community partners including career centers, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), regional employment networks, and UMass Medical School. 


"Getting a job shouldn't be conditional on someone needing to meet certain goals or deadlines," Michael said. "It's actually the opposite: getting a job is the way one meets one's goals. Work is a central way one becomes more independent. It's how one meets friends, develops interests, improves one's standard of living and becomes more fully a part of society. Every day we're seeing people entering the workforce who never thought they could. With the right supports, people are proving to their families, their staff, and most importantly to themselves that they can work." 


Studies show that while approximately 70 percent of individuals living with mental illness want to work, the percentage of those who actually do find work is significantly lower. In light of this, a major focus will be to increase the number of persons served by DMH who believe they can work, which is a crucial first step. Prior to his new position, Michael worked as the Housing and Employment Coordinator for the Northeast-Suburban Area for more than six years. He was trained at Dartmouth College as an IPS "Master" Trainer" and graduated from George Washington University in 2006 with a master degree in public policy.

Four years of 'Rocking Into Recovery' with hundreds participating  

Rock Into Recovery logo
The Fourth Annual Rock Into Recovery will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 from noon to 4 p.m. on the Waltham Common. 


Along with the music of The Grateful Friends will be other events in celebration of recovery.  

Locally made arts & crafts will be available for purchase and local organizations will be on hand to give out information about recovery resources. In the spirit of just plain fun, look for a magic show, balloon animals, face painting, washable tattoos and more. But mostly, it's a time to share in the hope and exhilaration of the recovery journey.


The History of The Edinburg Center's Rock Into Recovery 


Rock Into Recovery was created by Todd Lena in February 2010. He envisioned it as a celebration for people in recovery from mental health and substance use conditions. Todd knew first-hand what it was like to find himself confused and isolated by an untreated mental health condition and a co-occurring addiction. He was grateful to all of the people who had supported him in his recovery and began to talk to them about his idea of Rock Into Recovery. Todd wanted to develop a live rock concert as the venue for this event. He was so committed to its creation that he named it and developed a website even before he was able to find partners to turn his dream into reality. Todd received strong encouragement from people at the Boston Recovery Learning Community, the Greater Boston NAMI CAN, and The Edinburg Center. With their support, he sent a proposal to The Edinburg Center's leadership and to his delight, he was invited to meet with them to discuss his idea for Rock Into Recovery.

In April 2010, Todd, along with his mentor, Chuck Weinstein, met with The Edinburg Center's CEO Ellen Attaliades and Associate Director Holly Baab. He talked about how he began his own journey toward recovery and explained to them that it began with a cup of coffee, brought to him in a hospital by a clinician from The Edinburg Center's Intensive Community Support program. 

Todd was at a low point in his life and was feeling pretty hopeless at that time. As simple a gesture as it was, that cup of coffee made Todd feel that he had just met someone who thought about him as an individual. In that moment, a seed of hope was planted that helped Todd believe that he might rebuild a meaningful positive life.  He told Ellen and Holly about all of the other people within and outside of The Edinburg Center who continued to help him along the path of recovery. He described his current life, which he shared with his wife, other family, friends, co-workers and mental health advocates. 

He then talked about his dream for Rock Into Recovery. He told them that although he eventually wanted to create a worldwide recovery celebration, he was currently looking for sponsors to help him stage a smaller celebration. He proposed staging a rock concert in a local hall and inviting persons in recovery or contemplating it, as well as their families and friends and the community at large to this event. 

Ellen and Holly were immediately taken with the idea and told Todd that they would discuss it with others at The Edinburg Center. When he met with them, they told him that they were prepared to provide the agency's complete support for Rock Into Recovery, including hiring him to coordinate it. 

The first Rock Into Recovery was held at the Sons of Italy Hall in Arlington on October 15, 2010. Over 175 people attended a free concert that was opened by Ramblin' Dan Martin and headlined by Todd Lena's band, The Grateful Friends. The audience included a diverse group of people, bonded for at least one night through a rock and roll celebration of recovery.  

The first Rock Into Recovery was so successful that plans were made to make it an annual event with a broader scope. In 2011, we changed our venue to the Waltham Common, in order to allow for additional events and a larger audience.  In 2012, approximately 700 people celebrated with us at the Third Annual Rock Into Recovery!

"Recovery is Worth Celebrating!"

~ Upcoming Trainings ~
RSVP Today! 

Protect, Report, Preserve:

Abuse Against Persons with



Sept. 11, 2013

The Log Cabin

500 Easthampton Road

Holyoke, MA 01040




Wednesday Oct. 2, 2013
The Conference Center at Bentley University
175 Forest St., LaCava 300
Waltham, MA 02452
For both trainings:
Registration: 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Training: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30p.m.

(continental breakfast provided)




A half-day comprehensive training from the Massachusetts Building

Partnerships Initiative (BPI) for staff on recognizing, reporting

and responding to abuse against persons with disabilities.


Crime, abuse and neglect committed against persons with disabilities are frequently unrecognized and underreported problems

within the United States.

The Protect, Report, Preserve training is designed to educate

staff about recognizing abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities; the reporting and investigation process; and promoting inter-agency collaboration and communication.


This training will equip providers with strategies for identifying and reporting suspected incidents of abuse & neglect and what to do and what not to do when abuse is suspected.



Providers, administrators, supervisors, trainers, direct care staff and others who work with persons with disabilities.

Attendees receive a FREE copy of the Protect, Report, Preserve training video and manual.



Participants who complete this training are encouraged to incorporate the materials into their agency's orientation program for new hires and as part of staffs' annual mandated reporting training. 

For more information, accessibility accommodations and registration, please contact: Jennifer Edwards-Hawkins


(617) 727-6465 x211


 Training Sponsored by:

Building Partnerships for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities Initiative (BPI)



Conferences and Events


October 8, 2013

Raise the Bar-Hire!

WorkWithoutLimits First Annual Conference

Registration 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Program 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

 Four Points by Sheraton

1125 Boston/Providence

Turnpike Route1

Norwood, MA 02062

Who should Attend:

  • Employers
  • Employment Service   Providers
  • StateAgencies
  • People witDisabilities
  • Family Members
keynote Speakers: 


Assistant Secretary of Labor for




Senior Vice President and Chief

PeoplOfficer, AMC Entertainment

Click here to Register today!
For more information or ADA accommodations, please contact:

Jason Stanislawzyk at


Click here for a printable flyer



October 29-30, 2013

Connections for Life: Recovery and Community Partnerships

MassPRA Annual Conference and Pre-Conference Institutes

Hogan Center at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester


Tuesday: Your choice of five full-day institutes by leading rehabilitation educators:

  • Integrating Employment & Recovery:  Whose Job Is It?
  • Understanding the "Rehab" in Medicaid Rehab Option
  • Treating Co-Occurring Disorders: Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed, Recovery-Oriented Approaches
  • Building Community Connections That Enhance Recovery
  • Get Certified! The Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner Credential

Wednesday: Conference Day, featuring:

Keynote Address by Dennis Rice, CEO of Alternatives Unlimited, Whitinsville, MA

27 Workshops in a wide array of topics by top trainers and innovators from Massachusetts and beyond.

For Information and accommodations, please contact: 

Mary C. Gregorio

Center Club

31 Bowker Street

Boston MA 02114




Now Available 

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Suicide Prevention Training Calendar

Please click on the link below to register.

Suicide Prevention Events Calendar

When registering for a workshop, please note that each event has tabs titled with information regarding the workshop, available CEs and cost.   

Space is very limited for each workshop and fills up quickly, so please register early.



 Upcoming Trainings from The Bridge Training Institute

Click here for the complete 2013 training schedule.

Training Institute events are held at the DoubleTree Hotel which is wheelchair accessible to people with mobility limitations. If accommodations such as ASL interpreters or visual aids are needed, please contact Stephen Murphy at: 

or 508-755-0333 three weeks in advance of the training date.


 Upcoming Workshops at the Center for Professional Innovation 

(formerly Community Program Innovations) 

 CPI offers continuing education for mental health and healthcare professionals and educators, holding day-long workshops throughout Massachusetts on clinical and management topics. Trainings are held in Billerica, Foxborough and Springfield. To view the complete schedule and to register visit   

All facilities are wheelchair accessible. If accommodations such as ASL interpreters or visual aids are needed, 

 or call  339-883-2118.


 Click here for the Transformation Center website and all the latest information and events happening throughout the mental health community.   


Please send your event information to

  Michelle Cormier Tallman

by the 15th of each month for publication in DMH Connections


 DMH Cares - Think before you print logo

 We will be posting DMH Connections on DMH's archives page of the DMH Internet.  
View issues from 2008 to the Present.

Joining the Voices of Recovery Together on Pathways to Wellness

Exploring the Eight Dimensions of Wellness


By Amanda Melanson

DMH Summer Intern


This year's Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Together on Pathways to Wellness," emphasizes that there are many unique ways people can prevent behavioral health issues, seek treatment and sustain recovery. The theme also highlights the importance of mental, physical, and emotional well-being as well as the value of family, friends and community members throughout the recovery journey. In joining the voices for recovery we explore the Eight Dimensions of Wellness and learn how we can incorporate them into our everyday lives.

Environmental wellness isn't only about recycling plastic water bottles and turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth. It involves surrounding yourself in a positive, stimulating atmosphere and having healthy relationships with your community and nature. There are small steps everyone can take to conserve the natural environment, which add up to a big impact. Shutting off the lights when you leave a room, carpooling or taking public transportation, enjoying time outside, and being aware of dangerous surroundings such as harmful sun rays, water and air pollution, and even second-hand smoke are important factors in maintaining healthy surroundings. Contributing some of your time to your community is also very valuable. Volunteering and developing relationships with neighbors and peers stimulates a positive environment that supports your well-being. (conservation tips) (healthy work environment) (healthy home environment)


Financial wellness, or a person's contentment with existing and potential financial positions, can be obtained with just a few steps. Developing a budget, living within your financial means, paying off credit card debt and planning purchases can relieve great amounts of financial stress. By sticking to a budget, you can become more aware of what you should prioritize. Sometimes unexpected changes may occur, so setting aside emergency funds is also a good idea. Savings accounts are a great way to save money for the long term. Establishing realistic goals is the first step to having peace of mind and a plan for your finances. (finance tips) (budget)



Intellectual wellness is when an individual can identify creativity and has the determination to develop his/her knowledge and skills. Being open-minded to look for new challenges is the key to being intellectually well. You can achieve this dimension of wellness by becoming a critical thinker and being absorbed in conversations and reading materials. Improving your time management and communication skills by making to-do lists, prioritizing and keeping a planner can also decrease stress levels. Activities such as memory games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, online classes, board games, chess and online magazines and books stimulate your brain. Keeping your mind active will prevent memory loss and help mental functioning as you age. (online games) (online games) (online magazines) (online magazines) (online games & crossword puzzles)



Spiritual wellness can apply to anyone. It doesn't always mean being religious. By balancing your own needs and the needs of the rest of the world, you can strengthen your values and find purpose and meaning in your life. Religious practices and prayer are traditional forms of spirituality; meditation or relaxing your mind is another way. You can meditate anytime of day and anywhere you are. Guided meditation, mantra meditation, mindfulness mediation, relaxed breathing and yoga are just a few of the several types of meditation. Yoga is popular due to its simplicity and health benefits. The individual moves his or her body in different positions while concentrating on breathing and calming his or her mind. Yoga has many potential benefits including stress reduction, increased physical health and decreased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, insomnia and depression. By meditating and becoming more in tune with yourself and the people around you, you can discover your values and a larger purpose for life. (meditation) (yoga) (prayers)



Social wellness is an important part of everyone's life. Every individual can benefit from establishing a feeling of connection and belonging by developing a support system comprised of family, peers and friends. In these relationships, trust and respect are essential. Communicating effectively is a great first step. By doing so, you understand other people's values and feelings and can build your connection. This support system should give and receive support, have mutual respect and encourage you to succeed in the eight dimensions of wellness: physical, social, emotional, occupational, financial, intellectual, environmental and spiritual. Volunteering or joining a club or organization is a great way to meet people with similar values and priorities. Getting support and sharing life experiences and connecting with others can come easy once you establish this network. (healthy relationships) (communication skills) (communicating at work)



Physical wellness does not solely involve exercise and healthy eating. Getting annual physical exams, being screened for certain illnesses, proper hydration, getting flu vaccinations, car and bike safety and sun protection are also important factors. If you do have an illness, such as hypertension or diabetes for example, you should understand how to manage it properly. Avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drugs are also large parts of physical wellness. You should be aware of and try to stay away from secondhand smoke, which is hazardous to your health too. The best way to stay motivated is to surround yourself with people who are or have a goal to be physically well. You can go to exercise together, have someone that will eat similar meals when you eat together and have a support system when it's hard to keep up healthy habits. (portion control) (exercise)



Emotional wellness is an individual's ability to enjoy life by developing relationships, high self-esteem and resiliency. One achieves this by maintaining a positive body image, reaching out to a strong support network when needed, applying meditation and relaxation techniques in certain situations, and establishing time management skills. By accepting limits and setting priorities, problem solving will be much simpler. A good sense of humor is helpful when trying to look at a situation optimistically. Most importantly, being able to adapt to different setbacks will allow you to enhance your emotional wellness. (better body image) (time management tips) (problem solving) (yoga, meditation, breathing)



Occupational wellness is when a person is able to balance work and relaxation time while developing friendly relationship with co-workers and dealing with work-related stress appropriately. The first step is finding a career or activity you enjoy, that coincides with your values and beliefs and that you can learn transferrable skills through. It can help you discover a deeper sense of meaning and purpose. You also must have a workload that is manageable and be able to communicate with co-workers. You should be able to work independently and when collaborating with others, communicate effectively. You can feel a sense of satisfaction in your work when you dedicate yourself to a job that is consistent with your beliefs and values and that contributes to society. (job search) (volunteer oportunities) (how to communicate with coworkers)


DMH Connections


Thank you for your readership as DMH Connections proudly celebrates 5 years of continuous publication!

Stakeholders Meet DMH's New Office of 

Recovery and Empowerment Director


Russell D. Pierce, Director of the Office of Recovery and Empowerment, spoke to more than 50 stakeholders at a recent gathering at Taunton State Hospital. Peers, behavioral health providers, CEO's,  leaders of peer-run services and researchers were among the attendees at this forum for discussion and action on strengthening the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Program as well as giving a history of the DMH funded activity. Deborah Delman, director of the Transformation Center, talked about the Center's involvement with CPS and WRAP training in Massachusetts since 2006 and noted that peer specialist training took root from 2007-2013. Also participating was Mariana Colonas who also spoke on the history of WRAP and how this training impacted her life.


The forum was held to begin to lay the foundation for Whole Health and Resiliency, now referred to as WHAM which is Whole Health Action Management. Robert Walker, DMH's External Consumer Engagement Liaison, noted that wellness is a keystone for recovery and shared the sobering statistics that people living with mental illness die 25 years sooner than the general population. This morbidity rate is affected by factors like high blood pressure and diabetes. The Whole Health approach to wellness focuses on the whole person through nutrition and other life aspects such as spirituality. Robert Rousseau, Director of Peer Recovery Services with Fellowship Resources, convened the forum and spoke about how far the CPS program has come, noting that 13 certified peer specialists are now Copeland Center WRAP facilitators. He noted also that eight CPSs are trained as WHAM facilitators.


Metro-Southeast Area Director Patricia Kenny introduced Russell to the participants. He is a native Nebraskan and came to DMH from Maryland where he previously had worked for the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a Project Officer/Public Health Advisor. He reflected on his nearly three decades in the consumer movement. His talk ended with the observation that a diagnosis is not your destination and shared his vision that the DMH Office of Recovery and Empowerment would reflect the voices of peers throughout the Commonwealth. The audience gave Russell a standing ovation, as many said they were inspired by his remarks, most notably when he mentioned that recovery is both desirable and possible--and that peers as stakeholders are the evidence of the effectiveness of prevention and education programs like Whole Health.

DMH Awarded SAMSHA System of Care Expansion Implementation Grant for Transition Age Youth and their Families 


The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services has  awarded a four-year $4M System of Care Expansion Implementation Grant for Transition Age Youth/Young Adults (TAY) and their families to the Department of Mental Health (DMH). 


The grant will support the past efforts DMH made when it was awarded a year-long Planning Grant from SAMHSA in 2011. As a result of the Planning Grant, also named "Success for Transition Age Youth (STAY) Together" by young adult colleagues, a comprehensive Strategic Plan for improving and expanding services for young adults ages 16-21 with serious emotional disturbances and their families was developed. DMH and the Children's Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) worked with transition age youth, their families and stakeholders to develop the plan for the creation of a Transition Age Youth and Young Adult System of Care within CBHI.


This recent SAMHSA grant provides DMH, CBHI and interested stakeholders the opportunity to implement the activities that were identified in the STAY Together Strategic Plan. It will continue the work of determining how CBHI can assist youth and young adults transitioning into adulthood and actively partner with their families throughout this process.


The System of Care Expansion Implementation Team will be led by co-Principal Investigators Joan Mikula, DMH Deputy Commissioner for Child and Adolescent Services; and leadership from CBHI. Partnerships will continue with the six pilot Community Service Agencies (CSAs) that participated in the Planning Grant activities and have continued supporting the needs of young adults through their respective Youth Advisory Groups (YAG) including: Children's Friend and Family Services in Lawrence; The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston; Justice Resource Institute in Hyannis; Wayside Youth and Family Network in Framingham; Community Health Link in Worcester; Gandara Center in Springfield/Holyoke; and the Children's Services of Roxbury in Boston. Supporting these CSAs with training, technical assistance and evaluation will be Portland State University and the University of Massachusetts. Further partnerships and collaborations will develop with the provider and consumer advocacy community as well as with the housing, employment and education communities. The consumer advocates will include PAL, YouthMOVE and the Transformation Center. Diversity and engagement of young adults will also occur in collaboration with DMH's Office of Multicultural Affairs and Office of Recovery and Empowerment.


Over the course of the next four years, the partnerships created through this implementation grant will help:

  • Enhance the capacity of CSAs to deliver youth-driven wraparound services for TAY
  • Increase the participation and diversity of TAY in CBHI services
  • Partner with, support and educate parents and caregivers whose youth are transitioning to adulthood
  • Create a state and community level strategy to increase awareness, support and commitment to better meet the needs of TAY in their transition to adulthood
  • Improve linkages between the CSAs, the child service systems and adult service systems to better meet the needs of TAY

DMH congratulates the 2013 Performance Recognition Program


DMH congratulates the 2013 Performance Recognition Program (PRP) Citation for Outstanding Performance award winners, both individuals and teams who have made exceptional and meaningful contributions to the Department and the individuals we serve. Commissioner Marcia Fowler recently presented the DMH PRP Citation winners with their awards at a ceremony at the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital Conference Center.


"These awards are about consistent, positive achievements," said Commissioner Fowler. "I never have any doubt that our entire DMH workforce is second to none. And it meant a great deal to me to personally congratulate this year's PRP award winners. Their work is so important to our mission.  They are a tremendous example for all of us to follow by setting high standards and encouraging us to reach our highest potential."


This year's PRP citation winners are:




Pictured: Commissioner Fowler, Roberta Guez and Ami Zaikai, M.D.

DMH - Taunton State Hospital Leadership Team: Susan Davis, Director of Nursing; Roberta Guez, Chief Operating Officer; Ami Zakai, M.D., Medical Director

The Taunton State Hospital (TSH) leadership team Roberta, Susan, Ami, successfully led the consolidation efforts at the hospital over the past two years, always, keeping clients and staff the first priority. 


Pictured: Nina Benjamin, Commissioner Fowler, Candace Casey and Michael Belmont
The Multidisciplinary staff of the Medically Enhanced Unit (MEU): Michael Belmont, Nina Benjamin, Candace Casey, Tom Guiliano, Whitney Wolfe 


This multidisciplinary group exemplifies teamwork. Consistently compassionate and dedicated, their goal is always a less restrictive setting for every individual on their unit. And they instill hope in their patients and empower them to give voice to their goals, dreams and wishes.  


Taunton Team The Taunton State Hospital Recovery Integration Committee: Deanna Bell, Connie Chesebrough, Joyce Christos, Susan Davis, Mary E. Frias, Debra Gillis, Joe Harkins, Peter LaCanfora, Patrice Levesque, Jane Musgrave, Doug Richard, Angelica Vargas 

Collectively this group has successfully infused Taunton State Hospital with the concepts of recovery, respect, safety and person-centered planning, which has established positive collaborative interaction with clients during adverse times. 





Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson (left) chose to co-receive her award with her guest Nancy Cushing
Brenda Peterson, Program Coordinator, Central Office, Clinical and Professional Services

Brenda is a long-time DMH employee, currently serving as the Coordinator of the Seclusion and Restraint Elimination Committee. Brenda's work and positive attitude has a direct impact in transforming DMH into an agency that is trauma-informed, patient-centered and recovery-focused. 




Licine Carter, Accountant I, Westborough

Licine is always willing to assist the unit in processing the work of DMH Accounts Payable for the Business Bureau. She is very knowledgeable in the applications used and is a great asset to the Department.  


Paul Lamothe, Facilities Director, Northeast Suburban Area

Paul oversees and coordinates everything that is required to keep a facility running smoothly at Quincy MHC, Solomon MHC, coordinating with Tewksbury State Hospital, nine Site Offices, five state-operated program locations and many Choice houses. His attention and dedication to ensuring safe, secure and well-kept facilities is second to none and DMH clients and staff benefit greatly from his positive attitude. 


Alan Scott (aka Scotty), Property Management Specialist I, Central-West Area/Western MA Division

Scotty has 35 years of employment with DMH and he is recognized by his colleagues as a man of many special skills and talents; however he is most noted for his big heart and compassion for others. Because of his work and initiative, DMH was awarded Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition (MCC) Employer of the year from StarLight clubhouse. 


Linda Stanton, Child and Adolescent Supervisor, South and South West Suburban Sites

Since 2009, Linda has supervised two child and adolescent case management teams across the South and Southwest Suburban Sites, but more than that, she has devoted 26 years to DMH child and adolescent services, a tremendous advocate for children and their families.  


Judith Taschereau, Vocational Instructor, Tewksbury Hospital, Rehabilitation Center 

Judith is the program leader for the Castle Café, the food services component of the vocational program at the hospital's Rehab Center. She is a strong leader and works tirelessly to provide a therapeutic, healthy environment for the participants in the Castle Café program. Judith puts recovery and person-centered care into action and is devoted to the individuals we serve. 


Gary Pastva, Assistant Commissioner, Clinical and Professional Services

Assistant Commissioner Pastva has worked for DMH for almost two decades and has a wealth of knowledge regarding MassHealth, DMH Services, elder care and inpatient utilization management. He was instrumental as a key member of the Community First workgroup, helping to establish goals, timeframes and developing data and projections for the very large initiative to re-align the DMH inpatient system.  


Brian Osborne, Director of Rehabilitation Services, Metro-Southeast Area, Boston Office

Brian always makes himself available to take on additional projects which benefit both DMH staff and consumers. His work extends into the community-at-large as well, and recently he agreed to help support students with disabilities at Northeastern University through their Employer-in-Residence program. Brian's accomplishments are aligned with promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in our communities, all aligned with DMH's and the Commonwealth's vision and goals. 


Heidi Krueger, Director of Utilization Management, Metro-Southeast Area, Boston Office

Heidi's clear vision of Community First helped accomplish the discharge of 22 patients with a length of stay greater than two years (some more than 30 years) successfully into community settings, the hallmark of the Department's Community First mission. 


Click here to view all of the photos from the ceremony at WRCH.


~ RSVP Today! ~

Mark your calendars for the Parent Professional Advocacy League's (PPAL) Youth Summit. The summit will be held on September 21, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kroc Center, 650 Dudley Street in Dorchester. For information, accommodations, or to RSVP, contact Priscilla at: 

Youth Summit Flyer
Introducing ~ Peer Employment Training
Register Today!


Peer Employment Training is an 80 hour training curriculum that focuses on teaching those with a mental health diagnosis the skills to work with other peers in the community. 

This two week long training is an opportunity for people with psychiatric experiences to take charge of their own recovery and then give back to their community by helping other individuals do the same. The Peer Employment Training recognizes that there is no better person to inspire hope in an individual new to mental health recovery than someone who has "walked the same path" as that individual. 


Each of the two trainings will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Monday - Friday for two weeks


September 16 -20 


September 23-27 

Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel

One Monarch Place, Springfield,Massachusetts, 01144

Application Deadline: September 5, 2013  




October 21-25


October 28-Nov 1

Salvation Army Kroc Center of Boston

650 Dudley St. Boston, MA

Application Deadline: September 20, 2013 



  • High school diploma or GED 
  • Lived experience of a mental health diagnosis 
  • Desire to share that experience with others. 
  • Ability to commit to 2 weeks of training 
  • Successful completion of the application. 

For more information and an application, please contact: 

Rob Walker, MA Department of Mental Health 

Office of Recovery and Empowerment 

Phone: (617) 626-8275 




All costs for your participation will be covered, including continental breakfast, and lunch


~ Save the Date ~

The Peer Leadership Committee Presents:



A Community Recognition Event

October 2, 2013

1 to 4 p.m.

Savage Center, Norwood


Please join us in celebrating the unsung heroes of the Mental Health Community


*Entertainment and refreshments will be provided*


For more information, accessibility accommodations or to get involved, Please contact Kim Anderson 

(617) 984-1070


Sponsored by: Advocates, Atlantic House, Edinburg Center, Elm Brook Place, Eliot Community Human Services, Employment Options, Potter Place, Southwest Site Board,  The Metro Suburban Recovery Learning Community, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, Waverley Place, South Shore Mental Health,

STEPS, The Bridge of Central MA, The Cole Resource Center, Vinfen, YAVP

And Elliot House/Neponset River House-Services of Riverside Community Care


~ Save the Date ~

Mark your calendars for the DPH Ounce of Prevention Conference 2013 "Many Paths to Healthier Communities." This year's conference will be held on October 22, 2013 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough. Stay tuned to upcoming issues of DMH Connections for more details.
Flyer for DPH Oz of prevention conference
Photo of the Month
PRP Recipients Honored at the State House


PRP Recipients at State House 

EOHHS Secretary John Polanowicz and DMH Chief of Staff Liam Seward join several PRP recipients at the statewide ceremony at the State House last month. Left to right: Candice Casey, Roberta Guez,  Nina Benjamin, Brenda Peterson, Secretary Polanowicz, Brian Osborne, Deanna Bell, Debra Gillis and Liam Seward.


Access photos of DMH Events anytime at the DMH Photo Gallery on Shutterfly


If you have photos from a DMH event that you would like featured as photo of the month or on the site, please send them to Michelle Cormier Tallman