Category Archives: Uncategorized

“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.

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)

stimulus check

Click here to download as a .pdf file.

2021 RSVP Competition Notice of Funding Opportunity

senior corps funding

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 Notice of Funding Opportunity and specific geographic service areas can be found at Please see Appendix A for a full list of the available opportunities.

Eligible Applicants

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 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.

Funding Priorities

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

Technical Assistance

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.

Call dates and times can be found at If you have questions at any time during the application period, please send an email to

Cryptocurrency blackmail scam alert” – Federal


by Cristina Miranda, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

The email suddenly appears in your inbox. Someone is writing to say that they have access to your cell phone or your computer. And they’re about to make your sensitive videos, pictures, or compromising information public. Pay them money (a ransom), they say, using a cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, and they won’t expose the truth.

Have you gotten one of these emails? If so, you’re not alone. The email is a part of a cryptocurrency blackmail scam that’s been popping up for a while. But last month, the FTC saw another uptick in the number of reports of this scam.

We’ve said it before, but it’s always worth repeating. The person behind these emails is a scammer. Don’t pay him. He’s using threats, intimidation, and high pressure tactics to trick you out of your money. And while the scammer may say that he knows about an alleged affair, a video, or something else that could embarrass you if it was made public, it’s all fake. In fact, it’s also a criminal extortion attempt. Which is why it’s really important that you report this type of scam to the FBI, right away. And once you do, remember to tell the FTC, too, at

SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission

Today’s (June 23) Link Webinar | info sheets

Lark intro slide

So, at this morning’s Webinar, several resources were mentioned; here’s where you can access and / or download the files.

Trauma Through the Lifespan, The Hope of Resilience after Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

The embedded videos in the presentation are here:

dr lark Webinar flyer with CEs

Adverse Childhood Experiences take-away sheet



Here’s an idea that might be helpful for someone you know | FREE activity book & coloring pages during “stay at home” pandemic times

activity - coloring book combo

Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources | Service Area 13 partners’ networks have produced a 24-page Activity Book  & coloring pages.

And it’s free for our partner agencies. If your agency knows somebody who’s feeling socially isolated, distanced or lonely, the Activity Book with coloring pages might be a perfect aid during this confused period of COVID-19.

While many of our partner agencies are operating remotely, we will get the books to you. All you have to do is EMAIL ( , CALL OR TEXT (717.380.9714) to let us know:

  • How many books you want. (NOTE: They’re available in bundles of 100.)
  • When and where can you would like us to deliver the books to your location.
  • A contact person and contact information (email and mobile phone).


“What If Working From Home Goes on … Forever?” – The New York Times

“Miserable as it can often be, remote work is surprisingly productive — leading many employers to wonder if they’ll ever go back to the office.”

working at home foreverllustration by Max Guther

by Clive Thompson

“Josh Harcus sells robots for a living. Robotic vacuum cleaners, to be specific — a model called the Whiz, which his employer, SoftBank Robotics America, released here last fall. The company, part of a group owned by the Japanese conglomerate, has deployed more than 6,000 of the robots around the world, including at Facebook headquarters. They look like something out of “Wall-E”: a rolling gray cylinder about thigh-high that trundles back and forth over carpets, sucking up dirt. Many of Harcus’s customers are major airports and hotel chains or the huge cleaning companies hired by them. SoftBank Robotics rents the units to clients, at an annual cost of $6,000 per machine. It’s an expensive lease, so all last fall and through the winter Harcus was traveling around, showing off the Whiz, pressing the flesh to convince customers of its value.

“‘Probably a good 80 percent of my time was on the road,’ he says. He would pack up a robot, fly it into town, turn up at the hotel and then have it go to work in front of the staff. ‘It feels kind of like vacuum sales back in the day, like Hoover sales: You show up, throw dirt on the ground, scoop up the dirt — “How many do ya want?”‘ He had mastered a sales pitch filled with patter about industrial filth. (‘Not to bore you with stats, but a foot of carpet can hold up to a pound of dirt,’ he told me. ‘Honestly? Those are the nastiest hallways in the world.’)

“When Covid-19 hit, Harcus’s company, like most firms across the country, sent its office staff home. Overnight, it essentially became a remote workplace.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.


Bellomo and Associates, LLC announces virtual workshops for June


To enlarge any of the above graphics, just click on the individual program.

“The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running: Now What can the pandemic teach us about how people respond to adversity?” – Scientific American

“Research has shown that when faced with potentially traumatic events, about two thirds of people show psychological resilience.”

biggest experimentPhotograph by Ethan Hill

by Lydia Denworth

“The impact of ­COVID-19 on the physical health of the world’s citizens is extraordinary. By mid-May there were upward of four million cases spread across more than 180 countries. The pandemic’s effect on mental health could be even more far-reaching. At one point roughly one third of the planet’s population was under orders to stay home. That means 2.6 billion people–more than were alive during World War II–were experiencing the emotional and financial reverberations of this new coronavirus. “[The lockdown] is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted,” wrote health psychologist Elke Van Hoof of Free University of Brussels-VUB in Belgium. The results of this unwitting experiment are only beginning to be calculated.

“The science of resilience, which investigates how people weather adversity, offers some clues. A resilient individual, wrote Harvard University psychiatrist George Vaillant, resembles a twig with a fresh, green living core. ‘When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead it springs back and continues growing.'”

Read this article at Scientific American in its entirety.


Perspective: “The Plight of the African American”

by Susan Shaffer

Background – After the horrific killing of George Floyd, by a police officer, America become more focused on the poor treatment and stereotypes toward people of color. We have experienced a plethora of outrage on the issue. Venting / anger must now be transformed into ongoing dialogue and constructive action. As a person with a disability, I’m aware of how society may treat marginalized populations. I’m qualified to offer strategies for improvement. The key to change is meaningful action.

Introduction – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This mandate must again be front and center as well as upheld and implemented; there is no use for a law that has no teeth in it. Below are a series of typical scenarios illustrating what African Americans experiences as well as some success stories depicting ways to avoid the rabbit hole i.e. negative patterns. This is a two- way street the individual must be empowered to take responsibility one’s own choices and reject temptations.

#1 It isn’t easy being black: Exploring Life as an African American. I did not ask to be born black. I wish I was given a choice, as if I was able to check the appropriate box before my cells were formed. Life would be significantly easier I’d have been able to live in a house like Tom Brady’s with a parking lot on the balcony. Instead I lived in a rat -infested place in the projects. The space heater and fan never worked and sometimes the toilet wouldn’t flush. Dinner was usually cereal or an unidentified item that came from the fridge. Once in a while mom cooked but since mine wasn’t the only mouth to feed, I often left the table hungry. I loved visiting grandma who lived a few towns over she was a good cook and she cooked for an army so my belly was always full when I went there.

School was an escape from home but it was boring; students didn’t learn much. The class was located at the end of a long narrow hall filled with graffiti. Our books were outdated and most kids didn’t have nice backpacks and notebooks. The teacher spent a lot of time trying to get the kids to stop talking, not many listened.

After school I spent time with my friends but there were kids in gangs who kept trying to interest me. The kids seemed nice but after I agreed to hang out with them, they only wanted me to shoot people and take drugs. I knew it was wrong but they had money, power, and were happy. I didn’t want to live this life but before I knew it, I was committing crimes and could not see any way out. Sure, there were after-school programs for kids like me but it wasn’t cool and my group leader “reminded” me that he would not protect me if I chose to leave. I saw what happened to kids who wanted to take a different path. I grew up just like almost everyone else I knew. No real way to improve myself, hell, I didn’t think I could. What would I do? What were my skills other than stealing, killing, and selling drugs?

#2 Taking Responsibility for my action: Life is not a pity party. I realize now that I had to want to change and it wasn’t impossible. I must speak up and find my inner strength to reject the “easy” road as so many of my “friends” continue to do. They may feel like, “Nothing can happen to me.” But no one is invincible, too many people end up in jail or worse. They may have money and power now but what about tomorrow; there may not be a tomorrow. Especially if they have kids; what kind of example are they setting by inciting violence? What kind of future would their kids have? They are continuing the problem instead of being part of the solution. Some of my brothers have enrolled in college and will learn a profession that enables them to turn their future around completely. If they can do it I can too. I must seek out healthier routes. All I had to do was remember how many times I came to getting killed.  I snuck out with, the few dollars I saved, and took a bus to a town where no one knew me. I had no idea what I was doing and I knew no one, only that I had to leave my past horrid situation. I just walked up and down the streets then found a building that offered a program for kids like me who needed a second chance. I will be on the right side of the tracks (the law).

It was brand new and scary but so was breaking a window with a gun in order to threaten a home owner. I saw someone with a name tag around her neck and explained my situation. The person listened and called another worker who explained that he knew a local program designed to help people who are like me. I was driven to a house with teenagers who were in the process of turning their futures around. I met a few and spent time listening to “my” story but it was told by someone else. For the first time I realized I was not alone. If I could follow their lead, I will have a chance. College was not easy but I stuck with it, I found work, then a profession, then a girlfriend and followed the path to a life filled with healthy choices. The key is not to wallow in pity but take full responsibility for myself and my situation. As a counselor, I encourage anyone to pursue another route.

Here are some discussion questions:

  • What makes people resist making the changes that can help them find the way to a better future?
  • What can communities do to improve the situations of people in lower income neighborhoods?
  • How can people break the pattern of “poor me” that perpetuates the situation?
  • What steps can religious entities take to help troubled kids and their families?
  • How can the current programs and efforts be improved to reach more people?
  • What role does the family play in this situation? What can be done at a family level?
  • What can individuals do to encourage their peers to take responsibility for their own lives?
  • What is already done in the schools to encourage inclusion? What improvements can be made?

Susan Schaffer has a congenital physical disability. Since birth her parents were encouraged by many medical to place her in an institution. Her parents refused to agree with the bleak future others predicted. Her parents literally awoke throughout the night in order to clean substances in her body.

Susan was unable to make sounds, sit up, or eat independently. She grew out of many of the medical problems but made regular visits to specialists at Du Pont Institute during her childhood. She continues to be extremely sensitive to the stereotypes of the community her entire life. People did not understand her challenges especially her peers; public school was a very difficult experience.

The law mandated that she be accompanied and cared there by an adult. The formative years are crucial in psychological development. Low self-esteem can lead to a plethora of emotional problems. Attitudes cannot be legislated but actions can. People with  disabilities have the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. People of color have the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Statistics prove that people of both populations can make meaningful contributions to society. However, the former still get patted on the head and the later still get arrested though innocent due to society’s judgmental attitudes. There are many similar threads that result in anger and danger. Venting is a meaningful act but this energy must be transferred into healthy, simple action. Communication is the way to reach true inclusion.

Please visit to learn more. Contact me to help implement programs. I may be reached at