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Mental Health Advocates and Community Providers Support Allentown State Hospital Closing
Date:1/29/2010

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The mental health advocacy and provider communities in Pennsylvania support the decision by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to close Allentown State Hospital (ASH), an institution for people who have mental illnesses.  

Up to 125 people from ASH and Wernersville State Hospital (WeSH) will return to communities of their choice, and up to 65 will transfer from ASH to WeSH.  Although it would be ideal if every person was discharged to the community, mental health advocates and providers endorse DPW's decision, as it will enable the reintegration of approximately 125 people into the community and support community-based recovery and the development of recovery services that work.

"Having been a psychiatric patient myself, both in the community and a state hospital, I have experienced the full spectrum of treatment," said Pennsylvania resident Dan Craig.  "I learned to participate in the community and form relationships by living in the community. Having mental illness symptoms doesn't limit the possibilities of anyone's life.  Everyone is capable of holding jobs, volunteering, being a member of a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, participating politically, or going back to school.  These are all things that build our society, and enhance everyone's quality of life. Recovery is possible for everyone!"

"We have evidence that people living with mental illness are best served in supportive communities," said Judy Banks, deputy director of the Disability Rights Network of PA (DRN). "Recovery comes from living in small, integrated community settings with individualized supports, not from institutionalization.  We want this reality
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SOURCE Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania
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