“New Choices In Recovery” Educational Forum At Mental Health Association Friday Afternoon

David Ferencz, an outreach specialist with the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, will visit the Mental Health Association on Friday, Dec. 8. He will discuss new services available to Medicaid recipients with mental health and substance use-related experiences, describing how to engage in Home and Community Based Services through Health and Recovery Plans. The primary aim of the HCBS program is to help provide a holistic system of support services along with medical services.

If they know how to make use of the services available, Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use experiences can benefit from a variety of community-based programs.

At 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is hosting “New Choices in Recovery,” a statewide peer-to-peer educational forum to help with these issues. David Ferencz, new choices in recovery community outreach specialist with New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, will travel from Albany to speak at the event. Participants can learn about coordinating peer and family support, work and school, and about transportation services that are available. They can take a look at their health, work, social and other personal goals and meet with someone who can help their providers work more closely together so they can achieve those goals.

“Our aim is to inform eligible Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use related conditions about managed care, Health and Recovery Plans (HARP), Health Homes, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS),” Ferencz said. “There are a lot of misconceptions around HARP and HCBS, and it can be confusing. Our mission is to clear up some of this confusion, to educate people about these new possibilities, and to encourage them to take the steps to make use of them.”

The Mental Health Association is a designated HCBS provider in peer empowerment services and will continue to provide support services free of charge.

The presentation is delivered in an informal, conversational, and interactive manner with lots of encouragement for shared identification and empathy. It will last about 90 minutes. A purely educational initiative, there will be no direct services provided.

While providers are welcome, the session is a peer-delivered training for a peer audience.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water St., Door 14, Jamestown. The association is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. It is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching and work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals. More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge. For more information, call 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAchautauqua.