Amanda Adkinson, MSW, LSW, is a Licensed Social Worker who began working as a Mental Health Professional for Community Services Group in 2021. She received her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Lock Haven University in 2014 and her Master of Social Work from Edinboro University in 2020 and is currently working on obtaining her Clinical License for Social Work. In addition to working as an outpatient therapist, Amanda has 7 years of experience working as an in-home family counselor providing services to the families of children and adolescents who were at risk of out-of-home placements. She worked with individuals of all ages, couples, and families providing parenting support, behavioral and mental health interventions, and trauma informed care in the home, school, and community settings. Amanda is a Certified Trauma & Resiliency Practitioner and is working on obtaining her Clinical License for Social Work.
Ben Northrup, MS, is a Mental Health Professional who began working as an Outpatient Therapist with Community Services Group in 2021. He received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology at Lock Haven University and his Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lock Haven University. He is currently working on receiving his license for professional counseling. Ben has experience with many empirically-based counseling techniques and works with ages 5 and over. Ben’s previous professional experience includes work at a domestic violence shelter where he provided options counseling and case management for survivors of domestic abuse; work as a Behavioral Health Advisor with CSG where he worked on treatment plans, treatment team communications, and goal attainment for individuals living in Community Based Rehabilitation facilities; and work as a group therapist with CSG’s Partial Hospitalization Program.
Stephanie Thomas, MSW, LSW is a Licensed Social Worker. She holds a Master’s of Social Work degree from Millersville University. Previous experience includes working in residential programs that provided care for adults with a mental health diagnosis and intellectual developmental disabilities, supervising a Transition to Community Program that supported adults with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders who were transitioning out of incarceration into the community. Stephanie utilizes a person-centered approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and trauma informed practices in her work with individuals. She provides outpatient services to adolescents and adults. Stephanie has an interest in working with those in the LGBTQIA community, individuals with a Forensic history, and those that have experienced trauma.
Yesterday afternoon, our very own Susan Blue was presented with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing (formerly known as the National Council for Behavioral Health) Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award recognizes individuals who have made a real, lasting and far-reaching impact on the lives of vulnerable people in the United States living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and addictions.
We know her as our President and CEO, but Susan is also an influential leader in Pennsylvania and on the national stage. Susan is the former Chairperson of The National Council of Behavioral Healthcare. She is also the former president of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) and continues to serve the organization on a variety of committees. Susan currently serves as the Chairperson of the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness, and is the Chair of the Board for Provanta, a corporation exploring managed care for IDD and brain injury. She also serves as Chairperson of the Board of Acadia, a local agency serving people with Traumatic Brain Injury and for Advanced Metrics, a company that provides innovative software to bring data and care together for improved outcomes.
Let’s collectively congratulate Susan Blue for being recognized with this well deserved honor and thank her for all of the ways that she has moved our organization and our industry forward.
A friend of mine shared an article talking about the 1 year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article prompted the reader to reflect on how their lives have changed over the past year, an exercise that allows for self-reflection, taking stock of where we are now and how we have changed. It has been a difficult year for most, and I think going through an exercise such as this can be helpful to process what we have all gone through. As I reflect back, the one word that keeps coming to mind is “resilience”.
Let’s take a minute to think about where we were last year at this time. I suspect most of us can distinctly remember two separate phases: before the lockdown, and after. The week prior, I got together at a restaurant with some friends and colleagues from work. It seemed just a routine thing, because it was. My wife and I were planning to go to “IrishFest” in Jim Thorpe and “Kinky Boots” at the Fulton Theater. There was talk of a new virus, but it seemed like a faraway problem, and not something that was going to impact me directly.
Then the announcements came that made the COVID-19 pandemic real for all of us. Plans cancelled. School closed for 2 weeks, then another 2 weeks, then the rest of the year. We were told to stay home except for basic necessities and essential work. Wash your hands for 20 seconds every hour. Everything needs sanitized, everything could have the virus on it. Mixed messages about masks. Gloves or no gloves? Quick, stock up on toilet paper before the stores run out! Our world was changing so quickly.
At work, we had to figure out how to continue our essential services, and we were asking “how am I going to take care of those in our services when I can’t get near them?” Pretty much overnight, the feds, the state, and the various insurances allowed for virtual services. We didn’t do much of this before or have systems/routines in place to do that, but we have to, so we make it happen, and we did. Many of you had to figure out service delivery in your programs.
As the pandemic continued through summer and fall, we found ways to adapt at home and work as the expert guidance changed. We kept our distance. Getting together involved keeping six feet apart, wearing masks, and risk spreading COVID-19. Many holidays were essentially cancelled. While we “zoomed” with family and friends, it wasn’t the same. I got out of my usual workout routine, putting on the “COVID 19”. At work, Google Meets are fine, but I miss interacting with colleagues and patients in person. I’m in the office, but sometimes it feels like I’m alone anyway, since most of the day my office door is shut while I see patients virtually. I’m not necessarily lonely, but I miss the in person interactions.
But I am grateful and hopeful. Many have experienced painful losses this past year, but I was fortunate in that perspective. My heart goes out to those personally impacted. In addition to the physical toll, this past year has seen significant increases in anxiety and depression, and it may take some time before we truly understand the mental health impact of COVID-19. I am grateful that I and CSG are in the position to help our employees and clients navigate through today’s challenges. I appreciate the resilience I see around me. We have all adapted in our personal and professional lives, and taken care of each other when needed. It’s amazing to consider the scientific breakthroughs that have given us vaccines and the innovative ways we are seeing to deliver them. Who would have thought the old BonTon space at the mall would be a mass vaccination site? As the vaccine rollout quickens it offers the promise of easing restrictions and re-opening previously taken-for-granted social activities. I am very much looking forward to the return of live events, such as sports and theater. Live music. Get togethers with friends. VACATION! And noise in the hallway outside my office with my door open whenever possible.
My hope is that we continue to be resilient and help each other when that becomes difficult. By the way, I’m also committing to getting back in shape and dropping that “COVID 19”.
Dr. Adam Biuckians, Medical Director
November is National Family Caregivers Month. This is the time recognition is given for all those who are caregivers and who play a role in supporting and caring for other family members who may have a physical disability or other impairments that impact their ability to care for themselves. According to a proclamation issued by the White House in October, it is estimated that more than 40 million people in the US are unpaid caregivers. Eighty percent of adults requiring long-term care currently live at home in the community, and unpaid family caregivers provide 90% of their care. Family caregivers serve as a critical extension of the U.S. healthcare system, and the demand for family caregivers is expected to increase during the next few decades. Caring for loved ones is associated with several benefits, including personal fulfillment; however, caregiving is also associated with physical, psychological, and financial burdens.
This month we want to share with our employees about one of CSG’s services, known as CAPS or the Caregiver Assessment and Planning Service. Recognizing the unique needs of older adult caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Lancaster County Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (BHDS) issued a request for proposals in November 2018 to partner in the development and implementation of an innovative assessment program. The program would be designed to reduce individual and family/caregiver stress by planning for emergency situations. The program specifically targeted caregivers over the age of 60 providing care to their adult child. Always eager to develop services to meet the needs of others, CSG responded to the request for proposals and was selected to provide this new service. CAPS became operational in the summer of 2019. The CAPS program is designed to assess older caregiver stability in their current role of providing support/s to adult individual/s with ID; develop a comprehensive plan for the continuation of care for the person with ID in the event of the incapacitation of the caregiver/s; and recommend community-based resources to help support the caregiver/s in their role.
Kelly Fisher, who has been with CSG since 1989, is the Caregiver Assessment Coordinator for CAPS, working with Susan Martinko the Director of IDD Services for Lancaster County. Dr. Kelly Carney, a licensed psychologist specializing in services for older adults, is the consultant to our program. Kelly Fisher currently works with six families or individual caregivers, and has supported 18 clients since the program began. Kelly has shared one of her success stories to explain what she does in her role:
“One of the first referrals was a couple. A husband and wife. The husband is considered the caregiver and he is several years older than his wife, who was actually in our apartment program almost 40 years ago when they started dating. They live on a fixed income which is very limited. It had been suggested that he might be showing signs of dementia. The husband has always taken the lead in terms of managing everything to do with their lives such as paying bills, getting medication refills, etc. Their primary concerns were how to assure the wife would be ok in the short-term should anything happen to the husband, finding affordable legal help to prepare living wills, and finding reliable help with filling medication minders. We recommended that he teach her about the bill paying process, because, truth be told, he had developed some short cuts. For example, his way of paying the bills is to go to the bank, give a familiar teller the bills and have the teller make out the checks for him, so having the wife do the same was very feasible. We also got them to set up prepared dose prescription delivery which eliminated the need for weekly help from a home health agency, which had been inconsistent. Several months ago, the husband had to be hospitalized which put things to the test. As it turned out, the wife was able to take care of the things she had simply relied upon her husband to take care of for the past 38 years. We were also able to find a very affordable, little known resource for legal help through the Office of Aging.”
Community Services Group is pleased to announce that Lillian Rivers, CRNP is joining the Williamsport and Mill Hall Outpatient programs as a Psychiatric CRNP, providing medication management services to school age children through older adults. Lillian earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Carolina. Lillian has worked previously as a registered nurse in an inpatient behavioral health unit, a mental health emergency department and a surgical unit.
Mental Health Awareness Month was first formed in 1949 with the intent to educate and raise awareness when it comes to mental illness. While there are still stigmas today surrounding mental health, there have been major strides towards improvement as 1 in 5 people will struggle with mental illness at some point in their lives.
While a lot of efforts to stay healthy in light of COVID-19 have been focused on physical health, checking up on our mental health during this pandemic has become increasingly important as well. Feelings of anxiety, fear, isolation, and loneliness brought on by the novel coronavirus can be detrimental to mental health and negatively impact overall healthy living. Combating these mental health obstacles is essential to our wellness.
With nicer weather right around the corner, it is important to take time outside as many of us have been confined to our homes for the past few weeks. Connecting with family and friends via technology can help to combat some of the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Creating space to have time alone is crucial as well, as a significant number of us live with roommates, spouses, partners, or children that can make space a limited commodity.
Here at CSG, we care about your mental well-being and offer resources dedicated to mental wellness. If you find that you or someone in your family has been struggling with their mental health and would like to receive counseling on concerns such as stress management, anxiety, depression, or substance abuse, please contact us.
Community Services Group (CSG), a provider of mental health, Intellectual & Developmental Disability (IDD) and children services throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania, announced today that it has become a Certified B Corporation, joining the ranks of top socially responsible companies. Through this accreditation, CSG has publicly committed to upholding a purpose-driven business and supporting a global economy that benefits all.
“As we worked through the B Corp Certification process, we realized that the standards aligned extremely well with our mission and values. It was a natural fit and we are thrilled to have earned this amazing certification,” said Susan Blue, President and CEO. “CSG has long been committed to the people in our services, the communities where we provide services and our employees.”
Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. B Corps meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, measuring a company’s impact on all its stakeholders including workers, customers, suppliers, environment and communities served.
“Certification will help us demonstrate to all of our stakeholders that we put our values into action,” added Bruce Cohen, Vice President Strategy and Innovation. “Going forward, the standards will hold us accountable to continuously improve our performance in five categories: governance, workers, customers, community and the environment.”
As a Certified B Corporation, CSG has joined a community of leaders using business as a force for good. There are more than 3,200 Certified B Corporations around the world, including 61 in Pennsylvania, 19 of which are in Lancaster.
CSG’s B Impact Report can be found at https://bcorporation.net/directory/community-services-group.
About Community Services Group (CSG)
Community Services Group (CSG) provides community-based mental health, intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) and children services in 19 Pennsylvania Counties. With more than 1,700 employees, CSG promotes the growth and enhancement of human potential through an effective, efficient, and innovative system of care. CSG uses proven and innovative evidenced based approaches to help other lead healthier, more independent lives. CSG is a Certified B Corporation. Learn more about CSG at csgonline.org.
About B Corp
Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. To date, there are more than 3,200 B Corps in 150 industries and 71 countries around the world. For more information, visit http://www.bcorporation.net.
About B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Their initiatives include B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. B Lab’s vision is of an inclusive and sustainable economy that creates a shared prosperity for all. For more information about B Lab, visit bcorporation.net/about-b-lab
We are excited to announce that we will now be offering expanded Tele-Psychiatry services for children and adolescents in the Lancaster area.
Tele-Psychiatry services provide access to meaningful services, evaluations and ongoing medication management for children and families who live in remote areas or have difficulty finding availability with a nearby provider. And tele-psychiatry can lead to great outcomes! Check out this peer-reviewed research. We are proud to be a provider of tele-psychiatry in the central Pennsylvania region. Just another way we are continually look to expand our network of services and make them more accessible to members of the community.
For questions or to schedule an appointment or make a referral, call 877-907-7970.