PA Department of Corrections highlights facility aimed at helping those with serious mental illness transition from prison to society
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel on Tuesday gave an overview of mental health services provided by a unique facility within the corrections system.
The media event and tour at Wernersville CCC/Pathways Transitional Wellness Center focused on highlighting treatment programs for those with serious mental illness who are preparing to return to the community.
Pathways, which opened last year, is the first and only state-run facility solely dedicated to helping offenders with serious mental illness re-enter society.
"We are proud of our efforts to address the behavioral health needs of those who are incarcerated in Pennsylvania," said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. "We anticipate that Pathways Transitional Wellness Center will become a model facility for other states."
Wetzel was joined by DOC Mental Health Advocate Lynn Patrone and Pathways Transitional Wellness Center Director David Kopinski.
"With fully one-quarter of all of those entering prisons in Pennsylvania diagnosed with mental illness and nine percent of those struggling with serious mental illness, it is imperative that the department develop the best possible programming to help them succeed when they return to the community," Wetzel said.
Residents at Pathways receive all the resources they need to succeed in one supportive environment. A committed staff of counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and peer support specialists work with residents to provide a range of services such as mental health and substance abuse counseling.
The center also offers educational opportunities and employment counseling and facilitates job opportunities while residents are in the program.
Following the information session, reporters toured the facility and spoke with residents.
Media contact: Amy Worden, 717-728-4026
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Corrections