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Americans with Disabilities Act 20th Anniversary Celebration

Monday, July 26th, 2010


Boston Common at the corner of Charles & Beacon Street

You're Invited!
M-POWER is hosting its Annual Meeting & Picnic on Saturday September 26th from 11:00 - 4:00 PM at Hopkinton State Park. There will be delicious free food & great company! 

Chairwoman Malia, Chairwoman Flanagan, and honorable members of the committee, my name is Cathy A. Levin. I am coordinator of the National Empowerment Center’s project to create Peer Run Crisis Services in Massachusetts. I was also the chairwoman of the Emergency Room Rights Campaign at MPOWER. These organizations are led and staffed by current and former users of mental health services.

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Testimony of Emily Russell in support of H.3585

September 23, 2009

Good afternoon, thank you for hearing my testimony on emergency room rights H.3585 my name is Emily Russell and I’m with the Transformation Center in Boston . I am here today to show my support and urge you to give this bill a favorable report.

Testimony of Evelyn Kaufman September 23, 2009

I was in the Emergency Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital last July. I went there for treatment of abdominal pain that turned out to be pancreatitis.

Testimony on Essential Points for Promoting Peer-run-Respites

And Testimony on the Five Fundamental Rights and Fresh Air Right

September 23, 2009

Gail Shamon

Representing M-POWER, Inc.

We have no freedom to come and go, to leave when WE feel well enough. Being held behind locked doors means to me that we are being penalized for being having an illness. The insurance companies abolished the privilege system that allowed people to leave for short time periods and test the waters before they are discharged (except on pass). And they discharge us when they feel we’re ready to be discharged, not when we do.

Perkins School for the Blind

and the Disability Policy Consortium,

in Collaboration with many Disability Organizations

Invite YOU to Attend

Forum with the Candidates



governor logo


You are an active partner in your treatment.

You have the right to know the benefits, risks and side effects of the proposed treatment, alternative treatments and what is likely to occur if you go untreated. This information should be discussed with you and given to you in the form of a consent form. Information sheets for each prescribed medication also will be given to you.


One type of support for individuals transitioning out of the hospital used very successfully in New York State is a Peer Bridger Project in which a trained peer specialist provides one-to-one support to a person ready to be discharged. This relationship begins several months before the discharge date and continues for several months after discharge. This is an excellent way to address the concerns and fears a person who has been in the hospital for months or years may have about being able to make it on the outside. The Genesis Club in Worcester and the Lighthouse Clubhouse in Springfield run Peer Bridger projects under a DMH contract entitled “Peer Support in After Care”. Such programs need to be expanded throughout the state.

Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Director of Operations (DO) is on-site daily and is responsible for oversight of the day-to-day operations of the Transformation Center. The DO supervises the Program Leaders of the Peer Specialist Certification Program, the Leadership Academy, WRAP Facilitation, Recovery Conversations for Providers, Empowered, R& S Initiative, Peer Facilitators, Recovery Network, and Statewide Youth Coordinator.  The DO is responsible for ensuring that all contract/grant requirements are being met, monitoring the quality and quantity of work being done, and is responsible for orientation of all new staff and volunteers.  The DO oversees the hiring/termination process, although all final hiring/termination decisions rest with the Executive Director. Requires rolling up your sleeves and a people-friendly, skill-building and inclusive approach.

Massachusetts Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Representative Elizabeth A. Malia

House Chair

State House, Room 33

Senator Jennifer L.

The Five Fundamental Rights/Fresh Air Rights effort

Massachusetts Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Representative Elizabeth A.

The Bills Currently in the Legislature are:

1. The fresh air and Five Fundamental Rights Enforcement Bill.

The first bill is the Five Fundamental Rights bill combined with the Right to Fresh Air bill.

The following is testimony by Linda Lolli, MPOWER Board Member, at the Olmstead Initiative Hearing held in Worcester, MA on October 28, 200




state house

DATE: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TIME: 10-2 PM

PLACE: State House, Boston

Talk with your legislators to favorably pass these


Ø     The 5 Fundamental Rights/Fresh Air Bill (S.

Hello All,

I thought the hearing detailed below might be of interest to you relative to the training of law enforcement on handling incidents involving persons with mental illness.

The Commonwealth Must Stop Building the New $352 Million State Psychiatric Hospital!


The Olmstead Initiatives

Gardner Auditorium

State House

Friday October 30, 2009 1:00 PM

Welcoming Remarks

Our Board of Directors Links

 Hello Members, Advocates & Allies,


We are now recruiting board members until February 24, 2012.  A copy of the materials are attached for your review and to send out to groups and contacts.  Please feel free to make nominations of your choice a.s.a.p.  The Board of Directors will make its final vote at our Annual Meeting on February 26th at Worcester Public Library from 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.  Please come celebrate our 24th Anniversary with us!  If you have any questions, please feel free to call at 617-297-2030.

Statement of Purpose

 MPOWER Board Nomination Form

Board Description

Testimony of P.D.

in front of Joint Committee on Mental Health & Substance Abuse 9-23-09

On August 18, 2009, I was an inpatient on the psychiatric unit at Beth Israel-Deaconess Hospital. There was a problem with the central air conditioning during the heat wave, and the temperature on the unit became intolerably hot, especially in the dining area. Other patients were losing it, and they were put in restraint s and seclusion as a punishment for getting angry about the unbearable heat.

What is a "peer"?

A peer is what mental health consumers call each other.

What is a "peer-run respite"?

A peer-run respite is a safe house, where people learn to manage emotional crises in a warm, welcoming, home-like environment, in contrast to locked psychiatric wards, which are institutional and impersonal. Peers find compassion and understanding from a trained peer staff, where they can new skills for recovery. Programs, such as the Wellness Recovery Action Plan prevent relapse, and Peer Specialist certification promote employment.

Peer-run respites

A peer-run respite is a safe house where people learn new skills for managing emotional crises. The atmosphere is warm, welcoming, home-like and supportive. This consumer-friendly environment contrast with institutional and impersonal locked psychiatric wards. Peer respites are run by with people who have gone through similar crises and are now doing well. The goal is avert the need for psychiatric hospitalization. Guests stay 1-7 days. 

Benefits of peer-run respites

Peer-run respites reduce the stigma associated with involuntary treatment. Peers in Georgia contrast their peer respite to a psychiatric hospital as the “difference between heaven and hell.” Self-harm and violence are actually less likely than on locked psychiatric wards because of the atmosphere on locked wards is so pressured and impersonal.  A California study showed significantly greater improvement and dramatically higher satisfaction with a peer-run residential program than with a locked psychiatric ward.  Peer respites save money and lives, increasing independence, so people use less intrusive and costly mental health services in the future.

Cost effectiveness

Peer-run respites cost about $250 per person per day; psychiatric hospitals cost $1,200 per day or more. Over a year, a 3-bed peer respite saves $1 million vs. psychiatric hospitals. Additional savings are realized on ER visits, police time and ambulance costs. In Nebraska, a 4-bedroom respite, and in rural New York, a 5-bedroom respite, both cost about $270,000 per year. In Georgia, 2-bedrooms cost about $300,000 per year, including drop-in center and 24-hour telephone support line for crisis. Creating 3 respites—in the Central and Western Massachusetts and Metro-Boston—will save $3 million per year. Studies of respites in New York and Maine indicate great returns of their governments’ investments in terms of quality of life and recovery for users.

Who is eligible?

In some peer respites, future guests do interviews with peer staff while they are well to prepare a crisis plan for going into respite when they are not well. Even self-injurious and actively suicidal people are welcome. The interview addresses how to keep guests feeling safe. Participation in all peer-run services is entirely voluntary.

Examples of successful peer-run respites

Currently, there are 8 peer-run respites in the U.S.: New Hampshire, Maine, W. Virginia, Ohio, Nebraska, Georgia and two in New York. New respites are starting up in Vermont, New Mexico, and Alaska. There are 6 peer-run respites overseas, with 3 new peer-run respites in the organizing stage.

Who pays for peer-run respites?

In some states, peer-run respites are funded by both federal SAMSHA block grants and state operating funds.


Peer-run respites are complementary to the existing infrastructure in the current system. Collaborative relationships are sought with other recovery-oriented services, including Recovery Learning Communities, Independent Living Centers and clubhouses.

(HD 3935, SD 682)

Support Legislation Regarding the Rights of People Receiving Mental Health Services

(Representative Provost, Senator Jehlen)

Current law protects individuals who are receiving mental health services in inpatient facilities.



Re: Bills before Joint Committee on Health Care Financing

Dear Sen.


Our Testimonies

Trauma and the peer movement

What is the purpose of trauma-sensitivity?


Trauma- sensitivity is the first step in the process of changing traditional methods of care to trauma-informed methods of care.

About Us

Statement of Purpose: M-POWER is a member run organization of mental health consumers and current and former psychiatric patients.


Updated MARN Exemption 

Flyer for MARN Hearing 


Hello Members & Alllies,

Just a quick reminder that the MARN Exemption Bill will have a hearing in front of the Judiciary Committee next Wed. 4/16 at 1 PM in Room A-2. H.1193 is important to our community as it exempts individuals who may inadvertently injure a health care worker during a restraint from felony charges with mandatory jail time & fines.Hope to see you there!
           Hearing by the Judiciary Committee
Wednesday April 16th 
1:00 PM 
State House
Room A-2
Please come & testify in support of H. 1193 --An Act to Preserve Access to Inpatient Mental Health Services for Individuals with Mental Illness (“the MARN Exemption Bill”)

                                         TALKING POINTS:
·         A law enacted a few years ago imposes felony assault charges with 90 days to 2 ½ years imprisonment in the House of Corrections and a fine between $500 and $5000 when a health care worker is injured. This disproportionately impacts people with mental health conditions as too often people receiving psychiatric treatment are forced into restraints.   Restraints often bring up traumatic memories; many patients experience this as violence and respond impulsively to protect themselves. As a result sometimes workers or patients are unintentionally injured.
  • ·         H. 1193 would exempt individuals being evaluated for or receiving psychiatric treatment or in transit to the hospital for evaluation or treatment from such harsh punishment. Instead they would receive the recovery-oriented treatment they need instead of jail time.
  • ·         In a recent study, Massachusetts county sheriffs estimate that 42% of jail inmates have a mental illness, and 26% have a major mental illness. Like our county jails, our state and federal prisons are filled with inmates who desperately need mental health treatment, but receive none. Current Massachusetts law only exacerbates the problem of incarceration instead of treatment.
  • ·         H. 1193 is consistent with our overall goal of diverting people identified as havingmental health conditions from involvement with the criminal justice system.  Warehousing people with mental illness in jail or prison costs taxpayers billions of dollars a year. It makes no sense morally or fiscally.
  • ·         Recovery from mental health conditions is not only possible, but is likely. A key component in many people’s recovery is having meaningful work. A criminal record of felony assault makes it very difficult to obtain employment.
For More info, please contact Ruthie at the Transformation Center at (617) 442-4111 or Florette at (508) 713-2113.


Please see rights flyer below these links! 

 please read:

5 fundamental rights and fresh air bill

ioc fact sheet

mental health access

rights flyer


As you may know, MPOWER stands for:



Organized for


Empowerment and


The Board of Directors is considering removing the word “patients” as many feel we have moved beyond this narrow definition of who we are. 

We want to know what YOU think!

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health & Eliot Community Human Services present

"Moving Forward:

Creating Successful Career Paths"

3rd Annual Transition-Age-Youth Conference

When: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Location: Crowne Plaza Hotel

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Worcester, MA