On Saturday, April 30, 2011 the Family Resource Network held its 2nd annual Family Recognition Celebration at Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment. The event honored, informed, and gave family members an opportunity to meet other families and the leadership of the Family Resource Network.
Over 100 attendees viewed a film about the closing of Byberry State Hospital which demonstrated the need to change from institutional to community based services. Guest panelists Sandy Vasko (Administrator of Operations, DBH/IDS, Mary Ellen Rehrman (FTAC Policy Director, Emeritus), and Dennis Fisher (Associate Director, BHTEN) spoke about their experiences in working as part of a coalition to close the hospital and ensure that services would be in place for those leaving and those still needing hospitalization.
Sandy Vasko spoke about the many recovery transformation initiatives DBH/IDS is currently supporting and the positive impact it is having for individuals receiving services and/or gaining independence, as well as the value of families being involved. 24 family members were honored for their commitment to being involved in family support groups, advocating for their loved one, involvement in teaching and leadership roles, supporting the behavioral and physical wellness of their loved ones (either children or adult), as well as trying to balance their own personal wellness.
Mary Ellen Rehrman received the Family Resource Network “Family Leadership, Changing Lives Award” for her 20 years of statewide advocacy in the reduction of the use of physical restraints and seclusion, the transferring of funds from state hospitals to community based services and other important services in the last 20 years. Cultural entertainment was provided by Contigo Peru, reflecting Latin traditions and culture. Families found the event to be very interesting, useful in their personal lives, and enjoyable. They look forward to next year’s event.