State By StatePennsylvania

  • In Philadelphia, MINDS ON THE EDGE was the centerpiece of a major civic initiative funded with a grant from the Scattergood Foundation to public television station WHYY and the University of Pennsylvania. The project included two civic forums to discuss the issues and develop a civic "to-do" list for mental health reform.

  • At the first forum on June 19, 2009 at WHYY studios, over 100 people working in the field of mental health were in attendance. Participants watched the one-hour program and then divided into small focus groups to discuss the program and prioritize issues of concern to be addressed in the delivery of mental health services. The audience then reconvened for a panel discussion that featured Estelle Richman, PA's secretary of public welfare; Joan Erney, Richman's deputy for behavioral health and Dr. Arthur Evans, Director of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services.


  • Over the summer months the process continued in an online discussion forum facilitated on WHYY's website, and three issues emerged as the priority concerns.
    1. How should we incorporate the recovery model into the regional behavioral health system?
    2. Given federal, state and local budget problems, what behavioral health services should get priority?
    3. How should we address the uneven quality of behavioral health care (both quality of providers and identifying best practices?

  • At a second forum on October 15, 2009 the participating audience divided into three groups, each focusing on one of these issues. The small group dialogues were led by trained moderators and structured to focus on how each issue plays out in the region and what might be done to address the problems. Dynamic conversations within the groups unfolded as people with very different perspectives entered into discussions based on their professional expertise and personal experiences. The groups worked hard to find common ground and define priorities for moving forward.

  • WHYY's Voices in the Family radio program also focused on mental illness during two programs in conjunction with the October 2009 forum and the television premiere of MINDS ON THE EDGE. On October 12, 2009 Dr. Dan Gottlieb interviewed MINDS panelist Pete Earley and Mr. J. Members, a 44-year-old Philadelphia man in recovery for a dual diagnosis of co-occurring mental illness and addiction. On the second program, Dr. Gottlieb conducted interviews with a University of Pennsylvania Psychiatry Professor and the mother of an adult son with bipolar disorder.

  • NAMI-PA in Cumberland and Perry Counties hosted a free local screening of MINDS ON THE EDGE Thursday, October 8, 2009 from 7-9 pm at the Carlisle Expo Center that was attended by approximately 120 people. A panel discussion followed the screening and included officials from various areas pertaining to mental health, including Cumberland County Chief Public Defender, Taylor P. Andrews; Mental Health and Mental Retardation Director of Cumberland and Perry County, Sylvia Herman; moderator and motivational speaker, David A. Brown and certified peer specialist and NAMI President, Thom Fager.

  • NAMI-JOHNSTOWN in Cambria hosted a screening of MINDS ON THE EDGE for an audience of about 50 during Mental Illness Awareness Week in October 2009.

  • The Pittsburgh Healthcare System used MINDS ON THE EDGE at a seminar for staff, vets and family members dealing with mental health issues.

  • NAMI-SOUTHWESTERN PA is planning a screening event on April 24, 2010 as part of their spring conference. They will be showing three vignettes from MINDS ON THE EDGE with a discussion following each segment. Pete Earley, journalist, author and MINDS panelist will participate. Other conference panelists include a consumer, a psychiatrist, an attorney and possibly the judge from the state mental health court. They expect an audience of 300 -350.