Click here to read the column in its entirety.
“When will the Americans with Disabilities Act evolve to the digital age?” – Accessibility in Pittsburgh
First-person essay by Catherine Getchell
“Catherine Getchell and her guide dog in her backyard in Squirrel Hill. (Photo by Jay Manning/PublicSource)”
“I was 9 years old when the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] was passed in July 1990. It did not have an immediate impact on my life because, as a totally blind child, I already had access to a ‘free and appropriate’ public K-12 education through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was passed before the ADA, in 1973. But in 1998 when I went away to college, I counted on the ADA to allow me access to accommodations like exams in Braille and permission to have my brand-new guide dog come to class with me.
“Because of the ADA, and probably a whole lot of luck, I have never had difficulty getting or keeping a job. But one barrier that a future amendment to the ADA could address is accessibility to the digital world.
“Employers are increasingly aware of their obligations related to the ADA and, slowly but surely, the benefits of employing people with disabilities.
“We tend to be loyal, hardworking employees who perform at least as well as our peers. And in 99% of cases, if we need any accommodations at work at all, they are minimal and low cost. Agencies such as the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, where I worked for 12 wonderful years, can help employers cover the cost of accommodations and provide technical assistance to help an employee with a disability be successful on the job.”
by Jennifer Szweda Jordan
“Crosswalks in the middle of long streets aren’t always accessible to people in wheelchairs. This man sits at the edge of a Pittsburgh sidewalk on Sixth Avenue between Wood and Smithfield streets. The ADA promotes independent movement, but it has not been fully achieved. (Photo by Alex Collinger)”
“Equality. Independence. Self-sufficiency.
“These are key goals for people covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA affirmed that this is what our country should aim to achieve for people who are blind, deaf, unable to speak, using wheelchairs, living with autism, bipolar disorder or myriad other disabilities.
“Then-President George H. W. Bush, with bipartisan support in the Congress, signed this act and affirmed the civil rights of people with disabilities.”
The Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial. For more information visit our eligibility web page.
WEBINAR | Be sure to let people you know about this special presentation on August 19; there will be morning and evening presentations.
The hazards of drugs in our communities is staggering. It’s not just about those who use drugs anymore. This presentation is a safety awareness program that is far-reaching.
The program is designed to provide the general public with current information on the Drug Crisis. This program is not just about those illegally using drugs, but innocent parties that need to understand the dangers of accidental exposure and health hazards of prescriptions, illicit opioid drugs, methamphetamine, BHO / Marijuana and designer drugs that are a safety risk.
“New State Fact Sheets Highlight Key Data About Mental Health and Substance Use Needs and Capacity” – Kaiser Family Foundation
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn are taking a toll on mental health for many Americans, with large shares of the public saying that related worry and stress is having a negative effect on their mental health.
A KFF analysis and series of state fact sheets examine mental health and substance use disorder needs in the states and capacity to meet residents’ needs prior to the pandemic, which is expected to place additional strains on the system. Average weekly data for June 2020 found that 36.5% of adults in the U.S. report symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 11.0% in 2019. Louisiana (42.9%), Florida (41.5%) and Oregon (41.3%) have the highest shares reporting such symptoms, while Wisconsin (27.2%), Minnesota (30.5%) and Nebraska (30.6%) have the lowest.
The analysis highlights the wide range of needs and resources across states. For example:
- The share of adults with any diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorder ranged from a high of 25.3% in Utah to a low of 16.1% in New Jersey in 2017-2018. Utah also has the highest prevalence of adults with serious mental illness (6.4%), while New Jersey has the lowest (3.6%).
- Nationally, more than a third (34.3%) of adults with serious mental illness did not receive treatment. This includes about half of those in Alaska, Louisiana and Georgia, and less than a quarter of those living in Tennessee, Vermont, South Dakota and Washington State.
- Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. and has increased in almost every state over time. Age-adjusted suicide rates are about three times as high in New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming as they are in the New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
- Deaths due to drug overdose increased nearly fourfold nationally from 1999 to 2018. West Virginia and Delaware have the highest age-adjusted overdose death rates – more than five times the rate in South Dakota and Nebraska, which have the lowest rates.
The state fact sheets compile key information on mental illness prevalence; substance abuse and related deaths; suicide; mental health workforce; unmet need and barriers to care; private insurance coverage and costs; and Medicaid benefits.
They are designed to allow policymakers, health care professionals, patient groups and journalists to quickly assess the mental health and substance use landscape in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The fact sheets draw on dozens of indicators in KFF’s State Health Facts data collection related to mental health and substance use disorder. The data collection allows quick comparisons across states and allows for the creation of custom reports for select states and indicators.
This work was supported in part by Well Being Trust. We value our funders. KFF maintains full editorial control over all of its policy analysis, polling and journalism activities.
Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.
Information if you’ve not yet received your Economic Impact Payments ($1200 stimulus payments to individuals administered by the IRS)
Click here to download as a .pdf file.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is releasing the Fiscal Year 2021 Senior Corps RSVP Competition Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). For decades, Senior Corps RSVP has engaged older Americans in volunteer service that meets national and community needs and delivers lasting, meaningful results. With this NOFO, CNCS intends to fund successful applicants that increase the impact of volunteers age 55 and older who provide volunteer service in response to local community needs.
The following entities, including those that are current CNCS grantees, are eligible to apply: public or private nonprofit organizations (including faith-based and other community organizations), institutions of higher education, government entities within states or territories (e.g. cities, counties), government-recognized veteran service organizations, labor organizations, partnerships and consortia, and Indian Tribes.
We strongly encourage all eligible applicants to visit nationalservice.gov/rsvpcompetition to learn more about how Senior Corps RSVP can help them increase their impact by engaging adults age 55 years and older in volunteer service.
- Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. PT), Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. Successful applicants will be notified in mid-Jan., 2021.
Senior Corps RSVP volunteers help organizations expand services, build capacity, develop partnerships, leverage resources, create sustainable projects, and recruit and manage other volunteers. Grant funding partially covers expenses to operate a Senior Corps RSVP project such as staffing, supplies, volunteer stations, and training of staff and members.
This Senior Corps RSVP NOFO prioritizes grant-making in the six focus areas identified by the Serve America Act of 2009 and in alignment with the CNCS Strategic Plan: Disaster Services; Economic Opportunity; Education; Environmental Stewardship; Healthy Futures; and Veterans and Military Families.
Within the six focus areas, Senior Corps funding priorities include:
- Evidence-Based Program Implementation
- Access to Care – Opioid Abuse
- Aging in Place – Elder Justice
- Aging in Place – Independent Living
- Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development
- Education – Intergenerational Programming
- Disaster Services
- Veterans and Military Families
CNCS will host a series of technical assistance calls to answer questions about this funding opportunity, performance measures, and eGrants. CNCS strongly encourages all interested applicants to participate in these sessions.
“‘It just weighs on your psyche’: Black Americans on mental health, trauma, and resilience” – STAT: Daily Recap
Photos and interviews by Crystal Milner
“I’m feeling it, my friends and family are feeling it: the weight of this moment is immeasurable. Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This has been compounded by the tragic deaths of Black men and women — lives cut short at the hands of police and vigilantes.
“Ahmaud Arbery shot while jogging. Breonna Taylor killed in her home. George Floyd suffocated as the world watched. Rayshard Brooks asleep in a Wendy’s parking lot. Robert Fuller found hung from a tree in Palmdale, Calif. We lament the Black lives lost, past and present.
“Repeated trauma and stress have real effects on health, both physical and mental. Though the dialogue surrounding mental health is changing, it’s often considered a taboo subject in the Black community. Navigating the intersections of Black identity has always been layered and complex. With these ideas in mind, I photographed family, friends, and others in my community of Southern California and spoke with them about how being Black in the U.S. affects them, especially right now. Here are their stories and portraits.”
by Judith Graham
“For months, Patricia Merryweather-Arges, a health care expert, has fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic from fellow Rotary Club members in the Midwest.
“Recently people have wondered ‘Is it safe for me to go see my doctor? Should I keep that appointment with my dentist? What about that knee replacement I put on hold: Should I go ahead with that?’
“These are pressing concerns as hospitals, outpatient clinics and physicians’ practices have started providing elective medical procedures — services that had been suspended for several months.
“Late last month, KFF reported that 48% of adults had skipped or postponed medical care because of the pandemic. Physicians are deeply concerned about the consequences, especially for people with serious illnesses or chronic medical conditions.”