October/November 2017


Samantha Kleinman, LCSW-R

PROS Director

The Gathering Place PROS Program is a goal focused day program that focuses on Personalized Recovery Oriented Services where adults with mental illness actively participate in skill development in the areas of employment, housing, education, wellness, and improving their health as they work toward community integration.

The Gathering Place PROS program utilizes a geriatric concentration. These groups are for members aged 50+ and above that focus on maintaining health and wellness, issues of depression and aging, and community resources.

We also have Peer Advisory council where consumers participate in a weekly council meeting to promote empowerment and advocacy as means to assist in reducing stigma, advocacy for rights and promoting growth and change in the mental health system. Consumers have initiated a recycling committee, planned program events, developed a newsletter and held monthly “town hall” meetings to address all program consumers of the current activities occurring within the PROS program.

The PROS program also has a peer run store. All participants have the opportunity to volunteer in our PROS store. Consumers are engaged in application and interview process, learn how to use cash register, take inventory, gain customer services skills and more. The PROS store is a unique opportunity to gain skills to assist in future employment endeavors.



This group will focus on anger management and how to control one’s inner Hulk. This group will focus on anger meditation, mindfulness, and coping strategies that can be used to combat the negative things one usually does when they are angry. Anger is actually a positive emotion that needs to be felt, but the actions can often be negative without the right tools to help process the anger and the rage that can often come with it. This group enables clients to be mindful of their anger while learning to process it and talk about it instead of acting out in negative ways that can often hurt them, and the people around them.


This class is based on no particular religion. Participants will discuss and learn how to cope with problems by applying spiritual principles to their lives. Members will identify how they use spirituality as a means to their recovery.


Members of this group will be educated on mental health diagnoses, triggers, and coping strategies related in order to improve quality of life and avoid decompensation and relapse.


MHANC has supported the Clearinghouse by providing us with 3 ingenious curricula that are popular with their members:

  1. Even the Hulk Got Therapy can be found HERE
  2. Spirituality can be found HERE
  3. Managing My Mental Health Symptoms can be found HERE


If you have any questions regarding the work MHANC is doing or more specific information about their curriculua, please contact their director, Samantha Kleinman directly at: skleinman@mhanc.org

August 2017

Jawonio PROmiSe Program

Dr. Joe Zweig, Ph.D, Program Director

    1. Jawonio is a premiere provider of lifespan services in the Mid-Hudson Region for children and adults with disabilities, behavioral health challenges and chronic medical needs. Jawonio was organized in 1947 as the Cerebral Palsy Society of Rockland County providing outpatient treatment for children with physical disabilities and a variety of other special needs. In 1949, we became the first summer camp program for children with disabilities. Two years later, we became an overnight program and were known as “Camp Jawonio”. Almost 70 years later, Jawonio continues to remain true to our mission while innovating and expanding our programs. The mission of Jawonio is to advance the independence, well-being and equality of people with disabilities or special needs. Jawonio has expanded on its original programs and today is a unique organization providing high quality lifespan services, through six divisions, for over 10,000 individuals and their families annually. Jawonio is the Native American word for independence, and we support individuals each and every day to achieve their optimum level of independence.

Jawonio has an operating budget of $43 million dollars and currently employs more than 1150 people throughout Rockland, Westchester (Yonkers) and Orange Counties. As a highly respected organization in the Hudson Valley, Jawonio received the 2012 Pinnacle Award, as non-profit of the year from the Rockland Business Association; Agency of the Year, for Mental Health Services from NAMI-FAMILYA. In 2013, Jawonio received the Humanitarian Award from Rockland County Haiti Relief; and in 2014, The Salvation Army presented Jill Warner, our CEO with their annual “Doing the Most Good” award to a non-profit who excels in giving back to the community.

The behavioral health division includes PROS, a psychosocial program called the Front Porch and an IOP called Transitions.  All of these programs are integrated into the larger array of services offered by our other divisions to provide a continuum of care to our community.

2. The Jawonio PROS program began in August, 2011 as a successor to our IPRT program. We were also able to welcome a large number of participants from our Community Employment Services, which set the foundation for our commitment to employment, and continues to generate employment rates among the highest of all PROS programs.  We were also firm in our belief that peer specialists are key to successful recovery programming and have always employed peer specialists, some of whom are graduates of the our own program and the NYAPRS Peer Academy.  In addition, our Peer Advisory Committee participates in policy, programming and hiring decisions.  It was at their suggestion that we changed the name of our program to Jawonio PROmiSe and adopted the slogan, “Recovery is more than a goal,…..it’s a Promise.”

The innovations in curriculum and programming are a reflection of the fact that the skill sets among our staff are so diverse beyond the clinical and recovery based training that one would expect to find.  We are therefore able to incorporate art, music and drama therapy, DBT, wellness and nutrition classes into our 130+ classes offered each week.  Through the art, music and drama classes our participants have “taken their skills on the road” and shared their gifts with the community.

As a result of Jawonio’s long-standing commitment to providing services to those with developmental disabilities, we have incorporated those individuals into our PROmiSe program and through our Saturday program referred to as Danny’s Promise, we offer classes that are particularly useful to those whose social and cognitive challenges contribute to further recovery barriers.  We appreciate the fact that Commissioner Sullivan shares our vision and has supported this innovation.

The proximity of our PROmiSe and Transition programs offer a unique opportunity to integrate the two services in a manner that fosters warm hand-offs between the two programs, resulting in greater retention and valued outcomes in each. In this way, as an individual completes the final week of participation in Transitions, our Intensive Outpatient Program, he or she can be introduced to PROmiSe, usually by peer specialists who have themselves completed PROmiSe and are the best facilitators of this therapeutic transition.

The 3 curricula that we’re sharing are typical of our attempts to try to innovate in ways that will foster empowerment and inclusion.  While some of our classes are intended to focus on a particular area, most classes are intended to further recovery by meeting each participant where he or she is at.  For example, in Talented Recovery, which culminates in a talent show, there are those members who may find participation in the planning process difficult due to interpersonal barriers.  There may be others who find the prospect of performing in front of an audience daunting due to social anxiety or self-esteem challenges.  And there may be others who avoid new experiences because their self-confidence has been diminished.  Since this is a 3 month process that encourages negotiation, patience, risk taking, mutual support and delay of gratification each member may use this process to support the recovery process in a somewhat different way.  When the semester ends with an individual who has overcome her anxiety and her autism spectrum challenges to perform a solo and the audience, which includes other PROmiSe participants, her family and people she does not yet know, stands in unison to applaud her performance and what it truly demonstrates, it’s a display of more than talent.  It illustrates how creative interventions can move people to challenge themselves to overcome barriers and to support and recognize their peers for doing the same.  Each of these curricula are intended to have a similar impact, and because all of our classes take their final form as a reflection of input from staff and participants, their relevance is also clear.

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary









Talented RecoveryHERE


Encouraging Creative TeamworkHERE

If you have any questions regarding this program and the information they provided,
please reach out to Joe directly at: joe.zweig@jawonio.org


July 2017


Evelyn Brandon Health Center PROS


Ann Bergeman RN BSN CASAC

PROS Manager

Rochester Regional Heath-Evelyn Brandon PROS

81 Lake Ave in Rochester NY

The Mission of the Evelyn Brandon PROS is to help clients overcome barriers, build skills and achieve and sustain their Recovery Goals.  To this end, we have a diverse menu of services including a very strong vocational rehabilitation component with individual job development services.

We have 16 full time staff and  2 per diem Peer Recovery Specialists.   Our services also include DBT as part of our array of clinical services.  To assist people learn skills needed in today’s workforce, we added several structured skill development groups.  We utilize Community Living Exploration often to help members connect to community resources.  We recently hosted a successful ORS dinner where current ORS members were invited, as well as anyone interested in job development to learn more about ORS services to help them with sustaining employment.

We are very proud of our work in Structured Skill Development and we would like to share this with the PROS Community.  As such we are including our SKILLS LAB protocol and worksheet.  We have had many members utilize this service and they are finding success in overcoming their barriers, and learning skills in our “LAB” environment.  Members work in roles, as a program greeter, and working in our café. Staff serve as recovery coaches and help teach skills.

We are also including our Anxiety Management curricula.  While there is no direct correlations between our SSDS work and this class, we find that many individuals are able to benefit from both services, most especially the experiential skill lab where they can work on the skills they learned in the Anxiety class.

We had a member who worked very hard on improving his social anxiety.  He has been successful in challenging himself and getting our more often including attending a movie and an unexpected lunch in a restaurant with his niece, her niece’s friend and this person’s father.  He implemented the skills he was taught in the Anxiety group and that he practiced in the skill lab.  We were very proud of him but most importantly, he was proud of himself.

Anxiety Management Curriculum – HERE

Skills Lab Cover Sheet – HERE

Skills Identification Worksheet – HERE

SSDS Clarification – HERE


If you have any questions regarding this program and the information they provided, please reach out to Ann directly at: Ann.Bergeman@rochesterregional.org

June 2017

Rewarding lives, healthy communities.

Serving the people and communities of the Hudson Valley.

Marsha Mandel, LMHC – Team Leader

Welcome to an agency that is passionate about supporting the families and communities of the Hudson Valley. We have been evolving services for people facing the challenges of disability and mental illness for over 50 years. Today we offer a broad range of programs and touch thousands of lives every week. Yet we always work hard to focus on the needs and potentials of one person at a time. Our many and varied services are all focused on one goal: helping people with challenges live the fullest life possible. We believe each of us is entitled to a voice in establishing our own life goals and strive to treat each person we assist as a partner. We are committed to making a positive difference in the communities where we live and work.

In 1963 a group of parents created a program to help foster the independence of their children, seven young people with developmental disabilities. They found area educators to teach skills, established a work center for packaging and assembly and found customers among area businesses. They felt their children were capable of productive work, and believed that this would encourage their independence.

That was the beginning of Occupations, Inc, The Family Empowerment Council, created in 1993, was again created by families who wanted their children to be included and to have options. New Dynamics was created by the agency to focus exclusively on employment. The Stony Ford Foundation, devoted to creating opportunities for independent living, was inspired by a similar drive to create choices for people previously held back. Access builds on the distinct legacy of each. While as many as 8,000 individuals now receive widely varied services each year, the spirit and initiative of the founding families is honored in a shared commitment to promoting the independence, health and happiness of every person the agency serves.


Ten years ago, Access opened one of the first PROS programs in the state, Union Center PROS in Middletown. The opening of a second PROS program in Orange County, Squire Center PROS, was followed by three more in Dutchess County – Poughkeepsie PROS, Rhinebeck PROS, and Millbrook PROS. Together, these programs serve over 500 individuals. The program Team Leaders meet regularly to collaborate and share initiatives and ideas between programs.

In addition to CRS, IR, and Clinical groups that provide support for skill development and symptom management, there are several groups with a focus on positivity. These include groups dedicated to developing strengths, such as Nourishing Your Gifts, and groups focused on acceptance, mindfulness, and self-compassion, such as Embracing Your Journey.

There is one clinical group for individuals who have experiences that are not shared by others, called Learning to Trust Myself and Others. Seeing the difficulty that individuals with paranoia were having in disclosing and receiving support within the general PROS population, led to the development of this group. Suspiciousness and fear of others from paranoia, and difficulty trusting and knowing one’s self from false sensory perceptions, are self-perpetuating problems, preventing this sub-population in PROS from utilizing and benefitting from groups. For example, people with depression in addition to hallucinations, will present differently in a group on managing depression, or in a typical clinical group. In a CRS depression group, they may say they feel hopeless; in a CL group, they may talk about situations that are exacerbating their symptoms; in Learning to Trust Myself and Others, they will say, “The voices are telling me there is no hope,” which allows for a more thorough and comprehensive intervention.

Being a clinical group, Learning to Trust Myself and Others does not have a structured curriculum, however it has specific methods, guidelines, and elements. The group protocol, along with a PowerPoint on this group presented at a NYAPRS conference in 2015, offers the information for other PROS programs to develop and offer this special group.

  • ASFL ‘Learning to Trust Myself and Others’ group protocol can be found HERE.
  • ASFL Power Point from the 2015 NYAPRS PROS Academy (includes other presenters) can be found HERE.

NYAPRS is please to highlight the work of Access: Supports for Living PROS.  Marsha Mandel, the Team Leader, and her team have worked to support people with audio hallucinations to gain skills and supports to manage their unique experiences and find recovery.  As always, if you have any questions regarding their program or would like to request resources used in creating these protocols, please reach out to Marsha Mandel directly. Her email is mmandel@asfl.org. 


April/May 2017

 The Mental Health Association of Rockland has a 65 year history of providing outstanding services to more than 50,000 Rockland residents since our inception in 1951. We have grown from a grassroots organization, to the premier provider of behavioral health services in the community, engaging more than 4,000 individuals annually. We consistently strive to improve the quality of life for those affected by mental health and/or substance use issues. We offer a vast array of therapeutic services, with most programs offered in people’s homes, schools, and workplaces. Our operational principles include passion, commitment, innovation, collaboration, and fiscal responsibility.

Noteworthy in our evolution is our ability to develop and implement new and needed services in Rockland, our broad and enduring partnerships, and our financial sustainability, culminating in the purchase of a 22,000 square foot building in Valley Cottage in 2010. Here, and in our community based sites, we work tirelessly to connect people, educate families, and rebuild lives. For our staff of 200 employees, this work is not a job, but a calling. We are committed to serving those who need us most and contributing to Rockland County’s bright future.

Sylvia Wright and Naja Vessels

The PROS Program at MHA Rockland has been in operation for almost 5 years. We have a capacity to serve 230 clients. We are staffed with Psychiatrists, DNP, RN’s Clinical Social Workers, LMHC and Group Workers.  We have a Director and an Assistant director to help with the day to day operations. Most recently we added a Clinical Supervisor who manages our Intern program.   Our program offers a variety of classes to help our members overcome the obstacles that they are facing. We offer program Monday through Saturday and a late night program on Thursday that we  have named, “Home Base”.

Over the last several years we have increased our focus on mental health and physical health.  We have implemented several programs such  as  Managing Chronic Illness, Understanding My Diagnosis and a very robust Smoking Cessation program.  In 2016 we implemented a program to both encourage regular medical visits and improved communication between primary care physicians and the PROS Team.

Smoking Cessation Project

The Smoking Cessation project as illustrated by our process begins at Intake. We complete an assessment to determine if our new member smokes as well as their motivation to minimally reduce their smoking intake.  We offer classes that focus on smoking but also include a healthy lifestyle component. We cover eating healthy well balanced meals, as well as exercise rest and medical visits to our smoking cessation classes.  This gives our members a better understanding as to why smoking isn’t helpful to them, their bodies and also their families.  We celebrate success by acknowledging smoking reduction, improved focus on healthy eating and or exercise as movement toward the goal.

The smoking cessation project team consists of:

Naja Vessels – Project Lead

Miriam Bobroff, LCSW, Clinician

Sheila Devlin-Craane, DNP

Sylvia Wright, LCSW- Director


  • Smoking Cessation/Education Process with Screening Tool – can be found HERE
  • Complete Tobacco Education Curriculum with Resources and Handouts – Part I can be found HERE
  • Complete Tobacco Education Curriculum with Resources and Handouts – Part II can be found HERE
  • Complete Tobacco Education Curriculum with Resources and Handouts – Part III can be found HERE

NYAPRS is very happy to present to you the excellent work done by MHA of Rockland County.  Their Smoking Cessation project is an example of an exemplary multidisciplinary team effort to design, create and implement this program-wide effort to help members find health and wellness.  If you have any questions regarding their Smoking Cessation project or their program in general, please contact their Director, Sylvia Wright at   wrights@mharockland.org

March 2017


Franklin Recovery PROS

Jessica Oppenheimer, Director

As practitioners, we know how engagement in our PROS program can produce outcomes. Engagement can lower hospitalization rates, increase successful discharges, and have a dramatic impact on health. In fact Holt- Lunstad, Smith, & Layton (2010) studied over 300,000 individuals and found that the “influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity” (p.14). The study showed that the impact of strong social relationships determined a 50% increased likelihood of survival. With that understanding, the staff at Franklin PROS wanted to ensure that we were fostering social relationships from the moment a new client walked into the building. By increasing the chance that a member would enjoy his or her first day, we felt this would allow individuals to focus energy on healing. We therefore created a volunteer peer mentor program to welcome and orient new individuals to PROS.

The basis for the peer mentor program was two-fold. One part was the opportunity to have greater engagement with our new members. The second part was to give our existing clients a chance to practice interview skills, social skills, develop relationships, and gain experience in what could possibly lead to a paid position as a peer. On staff, we have a paid part-time peer advocate who interviewed and trained interested candidates. The training includes an explanation for the volunteer peer mentor program, reviewing the checklist for peer mentors, appropriate questions to ask a new mentee, traits that are needed for positions of leadership, and behavior expectations while in program. To provide continued support, our part-time peer advocate facilitates a weekly mentorship community living exploration class that peers attend to gain knowledge about community resources that they can also share with their mentees. The volunteer peer mentors also received training in trauma-informed care in order to provide our incoming clients with the most safe, empowered, and trustworthy environment.

By using our volunteer peer mentors,we find that clients are more likely to remain in the program and get acquainted faster. Peer mentors can direct clients around the building and explain basic program guidelines. One client who had been admitted into the program for a few months but was having difficulty making it in on a regular basis started attending every scheduled session after being linked with a volunteer mentor. That linkage with the peer also inspired the client to start talking to other PROS members and even start applying to jobs! Two months later, she was sitting at her first interview. One of our volunteer peer mentors had this to say when sharing her experience as a peer in the program:  “I love it! It feels great to be able to help somebody. Being a peer mentor has helped me to understand what it truly means to help others. The best part about the role is seeing my peer’s expressions when I reach out to them. Many peers have difficulty asking for help so, I can be that helping hand. Being a peer mentor has also assisted me in my recovery. I’ve been able to go back to school, be less self-centered and my mental health symptoms have decreased. I would suggest to others to be a peer mentor, it would help build themselves and help them through recovery.”

Our volunteer peer mentors have shared how empowered they feel by the mentor program and the social relationships they have developed. These same relationships that Holt-Lunstad et al. (2010) found to determine health and survival are providing our clients with an advantage. They have experienced increased self-esteem, confidence, and contribution to others. The peer mentors have become more committed to their own recovery as they are now setting the example for others. We use the peer program as an intervention for participants who frequent the hospital or want to make progress on a social goal. Mentors have the opportunity to include their experience on a resume and utilize skills that demonstrate growth in a number of rehabilitation goal domains. The benefits have been plentiful and the connections that have developed will outlast every PROS stay. All of this is due to the social relationships created through the volunteer peer mentorship program.

References and Resources:

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T., & Layton, J. B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review [Abstract]. Pmed, 1-20. Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

Lake Shore Mentorship – Learning Community Resources Curriculum – Click HERE

Lake Shore Peer Mentor Duty Checklist – Click HERE

Lake Shore Trauma Informed Care Presentation – Click HERE

NYAPRS is please to highlight the work of Lake Shore Franklin Recovery PROS.  Jessica Oppenheimer, the Director, and her team have worked to create a peer mentorships program designed to engage people quickly and foster strong social relationships.  As always, if you have any questions regarding their program or would like to request resources used in creating these protocols, please reach out to Jessica directly. Her email is JOppenheimer@lake-shore.org

February 2017

Jane DeSouza, Director


The Role of Consumers in contributing to the success of the SVW PROS Program!

As the Saint Vincent’s Westchester PROS program has developed, types of roles for people to contribute to the PROS program and feel responsible and empowered for their own recovery progress have also been evolving. Since the campus is not close to any business or recreation area, people need activities to keep them occupied between their scheduled groups/individual sessions. The PROS Planning group, working collaboratively with the Program Director, takes a significant responsibility in creating the activities. The following activities are currently or in the past been organized by program participants: seasonal sports, morning walks, sewing, Wii Games, arts and crafts, current events, and calendar art. Activity groups run by participants that are more along the lines of peer support include: Family Support, Drama, CBT, Hopes/Dreams/Aspirations, Positively Positive, Bullying and Mental Health, Wellness Self-Management, Economic Self-Sufficiency and AA Principles. To build/practice skills and confidence there are volunteer opportunities available in the Recreation Center, Library, Computer Center, Café and Clothes Loft.

To celebrate September Recovery Month, we have an annual Recovery Recognition Ceremony followed by lunch and this past year, we added a carnival. The major part of the work to make this annual event meaningful and a real success is done in the PROS Planning. This event is always attended by a large number of people and we get feedback that it is a truly inspiring event letting the community know that recovery is possible.

I have attached the PROS Planning group protocol, Hopes/Dreams/Aspirations protocol and curriculum, both created by Peer Specialists. The Bullying and Mental Health curriculum I have attached was created by a participant.

Opportunities for Consumers to contribute to the SVW PROS Program:

  • Program participants lead an activity or volunteer in one of the activity areas if it is part of their recovery plan.
  • Non program individuals can become Hospital Volunteers and lead a group for which they have particular skill or interest.
  • Peer Specialist interns can work in a variety of areas based on their interest level: reception desk, lead a group, work in the recreation center or clothes loft or café or computer center.
  • Paid Employees: 1) Activity Leader and Receptionist. Monitor and lead leisure activities in the recreation center. Receptionist responsibilities include ensuring that all participants sign in and out, remind participants about MD appointments or any other daily information, and welcome people to the program then direct them to the appropriate office. 2) Certified Peer Specialist: provides engagement services, plans and supervises special events, brings in community speakers, supervises volunteers and/or particular work areas.

Jane DeSouza, Program Director

Curricula that support their work is:

  1. St. Vincents PROS Planning Protocol
  2. St. Vincent’s PROS Group Protocol for Hopes, Dreams & Aspirations
  3. St. Vincent’s PROS Black Ribbon Campaign

NYAPRS is please to highlight the work of St. Vincent’s Westchester PROS. Jane DeSouza, the Director, and her team have worked to build up activities created by and for program participants. They have provided protocols for: Hopes, Dreams, Aspirations, Planning Activity, and a Black Ribbon Campaign. As always, if you have any questions regarding their program or would like to request resources used in creating these protocols, please reach out to Jane DeSouza directly. Her email is jdesouza@svwsjmc.org

January 2017

Robert Franco, Sr. Vice President for PROS


Alexandra Webb, Assistant Director



Who we are:  Founded in 1972, SPOP was one of the first agencies in the U.S. entirely dedicated meeting the mental health needs of community-dwelling older adults. It is the region’s only agency dedicated exclusively to behavioral health care for older adults and is distinguished by its commitment to increasing access to treatment.

SPOP’s core programs include a clinic, which offers home visits to disabled clients and appointments at satellite sites throughout Manhattan, and New York State’s only PROS/Personalized Recovery Oriented Services program entirely for age 55 and older. Other programs include free Bereavement Support for adults of all ages, Information & Referral services, and Training & Education in the field.

PROS:  The program began October 2013. The current census is 70 adults, and 85 percent of the participant population is between the ages of 65 and 85.

At SPOP, the basic concepts of goals and life role domains were refined and adjusted to meet the particular needs of older adults – for instance, in addition to traditional employment goals, SPOP participants may set goals for volunteer work or babysitting grandchildren, and socialization goals often focus on reconnecting to and building relationships with adult children or grandchildren or becoming involved in a Senior Center or faith-based community.

The PROS staff is comprised of social workers, a psychiatrist, nurse, creative arts therapists, recovery counselors and rehabilitation counselors. Each participant is assigned a recovery counselor and also has the option of seeing the staff psychiatrist for medication management or symptom monitoring. The majority of work is done in the 85 groups that are offered each week, many in Spanish. Specialized groups include Navigating the Medical System, Understanding My Medication, Building Balance, Exploring Life Role Goals for Seniors, and Spirituality. The program is open Monday-Friday 9:00-3:30 and includes two meals and a healthy snack each day.

Over the past year, PROS participants have achieved a success rate of 74 percent in making progress toward their goals. Several participants have transitioned to a lower level of support, such as therapy through the SPOP clinic or enrollment at a traditional senior center. The program has also resulted in decreased demand on the hospital system, as participants are directed to their regular physicians for routine care or to urgent care centers for minor emergences. Last year the overall rate for psychiatric hospitalizations was 2.0 percent (based on the percentage of program days in the hospital).

This group cycle, we launched a new group created by Alexandra Webb (Allie), Assistant Director and one of their clinicians, Anahi Galante, LMSW.  Anahi has experience in hospice/ palliative care, and recognized that the risk of falls and the fear-of-falling cycle is of significant importance in the older population and could be a great addition to their menu of group services. Using information gathered from an EBP called ‘A Matter of Balance’, they created ‘Building Balance’, a 12 week group to reduce vulnerability to falls and increase activity by improving balance and mobility. This is a BLST service.  Additionally, SPOP re-tooled the Medication Education and Symptom Management group and created ‘Understanding My Medication’ in English twice a week, and Spanish once a week. This curriculum was created by Allie and one of the bilingual LMSW’s, Ashley Zayas, who facilitates the group in Spanish.

Additionally, there is a BLST group called ‘Navigating the Medical System’.  This group is focused on assisting participants in communicating with providers, creating and maintaining a personal health record for emergencies, selecting a health care proxy and creating a living will (if they choose to), understanding the basics of managed care, obtaining medical records, etc.

These groups are good examples of the work done at SPOP to support older people to achieve wellness and independence.

SPOP has provided the following curricula they use to guide their work:

  1. SPOP Building Balance
  2. SPOP Navigating the Healthcare System
  3. SPOP Understanding My Medications

If you have any questions regarding the program described here or the curricula they provided, please contact the program directly.  You will find the links to their email addresses above.


November 2016

Lindsay Morrison, PROS Director


Five years ago when I interviewed for the job as RN for Gateway PROS, I was impressed with and attracted to the evidence of a holistic philosophy embedded in the Gateway PROS program which was  in its infancy at the time.    The recognition that recovery and rehabilitation involves the body, mind and spirit and planning services that address individuals’ wellness as a whole has continued to be an important part of the culture at this program.  I was asked to share some of the classes that I as the PROS RN teach and other ways this culture is supported as we provide services to our students in recovery from serious mental illness.

When students are oriented to the program and begin to consider which PROS services best meet their needs and hopes for wellness, this holistic message is clearly communicated to students.   Students are encouraged to discuss their physical health needs and concerns.  They are encouraged to make connections with their primary care providers.  If they are not currently enrolled with a primary care provider, they will be offered assistance with setting up an appointment with a PCP.   Use of tobacco is assessed and students are advised about benefits of quitting and health risks of smoking.  We are currently instituting a monthly “ask and advise” protocol concerning tobacco use which is incorporated into the monthly summary.   Healthy lifestyle changes are addressed as powerful sources of strength and improved self-esteem and are integrated into all Wellness Self- Management classes whether the focus is coping with depression, anxiety, understanding emotions, managing grief and loss or managing trauma.  WSM classes provide information that help students understand the mind-body connection so they can begin to utilize a variety of skills that assist them to reduce stress and manage anxiety effectively. Because integration of physical and mental health is systemic in our curriculum, students learn that finding balance and caring for their whole selves is the way to recovery.    

This program also provides some specific classes that provide support and information about physical wellness such as learning about nutrition, physical activity and mindfulness practices.  Students who smoke may join the ongoing class “Tobacco and You” which is held every week to explore their thoughts about quitting and learn something about tobacco dependence in a non- judgmental and encouraging environment.  They will learn how people plan to quit and techniques that increase success in quitting even before they are in the “contemplative stage” about quitting.   Because so many of our students are dealing with Diabetes, a chronic disease requiring a high level of management, we provide an ongoing weekly class for students with Diabetes.  This class combines information to help students understand the principles of Diabetes management and offers emotional support and understanding of the demands of Diabetes management.  

I have included lesson plans and resources we have been using for a few of these classes and hope they are useful for others who are working on PROS curriculum.

Sally Anderson, RN

  1. CRS:WSM Living Healthy Gateway PROS
  2. CRS: BLS Healthy Eating Gateway PROS
  3. IR:IDDT Tobacco and You Gateway