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TRANSFORMATION: See it. Believe it.

TRANSFORMATION: See it. Believe it.


According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of transformationis a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc.

Generally accurate? Indeed.

Accurate when describing Philadelphia’s behavioral health system? Not quite.

Here in Philadelphia, transformation means a whole lot more. Our definition of transformation cannot be found in Webster’s—or any dictionary for that matter. Our definition lives in every neighborhood, affects every person, and it is ongoing.

If you want to experience firsthand what transformation is…

EXLPORE our neighborhoods to view any of the 25, large-scale behavioral health-themed murals presented across the city designed to make neighborhoods safer, strengthen families, and support individuals.

STROLL through a local grocery store in North Philly and get a ‘Check Up from the Neck Up’ using the nation’s first-ever behavioral health kiosk that screens for mental wellness in the convenience of a retail clinic setting. Screenings are free, anonymous, and convenient. Not in North Philly? Get screened online at healthymindsphilly.org.

FIND us at any of our free public events and find a crowd. There’s been a lot of interest in our public awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, including our latest National Depression Screening Day activities that saw an astounding 434% increase, thanks to the support of the Free Library, local colleges and City Hall. The message is getting out there: Mental health is essential to overall health!

CONSIDER that in 2006, 2518 youth were in residential treatment as institutions were seen as the only option available; as of 2014, we’ve seen a 68% decrease in residential treatment for youth. The next time you’re walking through your neighborhood, know that our commitment to community-based treatment means more kids are doing better closer to home, all within a caring, supportive community.

VISIT Philadelphia’s churches, synagogues and other places of worship to see how DBHIDS’ Faith & Spiritual Affairs Unit is building partnerships within the faith community to provide another way to connect people with needed supports and services, including intellectual disability services.

STEP into Philadelphia’s classrooms to see how DBHIDS and the School District of Philadelphia are working collaboratively to make schools safer and healthier learning environments for our children.

TALK with some of the over 8,000+ Philadelphia residents – including first responders like Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia Fire Department, School District of Philadelphia, faith groups, and individuals –  who are trained in Mental Health First Aid, a free program available to all Philadelphians, designed to help people recognize someone experiencing a behavioral health challenge and to provide assistance until the issue is resolved or professional help is available.

MAKE an appointment with one of our 230+ providers in our network to see how they’re using evidence-based practices to deliver excellent treatments as part of our recovery-oriented care. We believe people can and do get better and the behavioral health system in Philly is proving it every day.

WALK through the streets of Old City during the third Saturday of September to join more than 23,000 people, individuals and health care providers, friends and families, for Philadelphia’s Recovery Walks – the largest recovery event in the world!

Transformation is all around us here in Philadelphia because we understand that there’s no one way to improve wellness. It takes the strength of an entire community to promote overall health and reduce stigma.

Serving as the Commissioner of this department over the past ten years, I am proud of all we’ve accomplished. As we mark 10 years of our system transformation this year, which we call the Transformation Decade, I want to thank all of those who have helped build the strong foundation that we have today, including health care providers, community stakeholders, City agencies, people in recovery, and DBHIDS staff. Transformation of this scale is only possible through a unified community effort. To celebrate our accomplishments and plan for the next decade to come, I hope you can join us in our Transformation Decade Celebration— a series of celebratory events and activities scheduled throughout this year.

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