South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Local counseling agencies outline programs for Slopes residents

 


Attendees at the October 17 meeting of the South Sides Slopes Neighborhood Association were treated to a mini- mental health fair, with representatives of local counseling agencies briefly describing their services.

Rev. Donald Ware said he invited those agencies whose services are available to South Side residents.

The first presenter was Sharon Inghram, a licensed clinical social worker who does trauma work with the Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, “A Samaritan Counseling Center.”

PPI is an interfaith counseling and psychotherapy center that integrates both the behavioral sciences and the resources of a client's particular faith into the counseling process.

“We embrace all faiths,” she said.

The therapy staff includes licensed psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, certified pastoral counselors and consulting psychiatrists.

To a question about types of trauma she deals with, she said young men returning from combat; sexual abuse; neglect; abandonment; youngsters who witness a school shooting; fire; car crash; and more.

PPI's services are covered by most major insurance companies. Some financial assistance is available in cases of financial hardship or lack of insurance.

See http://www.ppi-online.org, or call 412-661-1239, for more information.

Next, Jane Zwier said the Cove Forge Behavioral Health System, with inpatient and outpatient facilities, offers chemical dependency and mental health programs.

Among its treatment programs are detoxification services in which patients experiencing alcohol and/or chemical withdrawal are provided with treatment in a safe, medically managed unit.

The adult chemical dependency rehabilitation program offers daily group and individual counseling so patients develop the understanding and self-awareness making recovery possible.

There is also an adolescent chemical dependency outpatient rehabilitation program.

Most insurance plans are accepted. Cove Forge also holds contracts with various funding sources. Office staff will explain how to apply for assistance.

To a question from Councilman Jeff Koch about prostitution problems in Allentown, Ms. Zwier said that Cove Forge has a prostitution program that includes drug and alcohol treatment.

For more information on Cove Forge, see http://www.whitedeerrun.com, or call 800-873-2131.

Next, Larry Elbaum spoke about Hope Without Insurance, a program of South Side Counseling and Consultation designed to provide comprehensive mental health care services to the uninsured community.

Located at 70 South 15th St., HWI provides expert assessment, counseling, drug and alcohol related assistance and referral services.

HWI also helps inform and educate the broader community with availability of existing services while at the same time providing services for those who fall through the cracks.

While those who have insurance will be referred to the appropriate local agencies, those without insurance will remain with HWI.

“We want to reach the working poor,” he said.

For more information, call 412-488-1942, or email: info@helpwithoutinsurance.org.

In conclusion, Rev. Ware said representatives of the Salvation Army and Mercy Behavioral South will speak at future meetings.

He told attendees they should encourage troubled people in need of help to seek the services of trained professionals.

As an example he cited the man who shot and killed five Amish girls in their classroom.

“He was in a crisis, and never talked it out,” said Rev. Ware.

The meeting began with a look-back at StepTrek 2006, which drew 651 paid participants — the most ever! — to the sixth annual, non-competitive, self-guided walking tour on October 1.

Joe Balaban, who conducted the meeting, said the great weather that day was an important factor.

In other SSSNA news, Betty Kripp said they are seeking liaisons, or contact persons, for zones within the neighborhood.

Of the nine zones in which the area has been sectioned on paper, six are still in need of liaisons. Their role will be to keep the board updated on any cleanup needs or crime problems.

She also asked attendees to let her know of any new residents so she can give them gift bags.

Next, Paul Lorincy announced that Elm Street surveys, regarding issues and concerns of the neighborhood, need to be completed.

To receive a survey, contact the SSSNA at 412-488-0486, or go to: http://www.SouthSide Slopes.org.

The state-funded Elm Street project has $220,000 for public realm improvements in the Slopes and four other neighborhoods.

The first major projects will be an updated garden at the 18th Street bend, and a garden at the vacant corner of Monastery and Brosville streets.

Mr. Lorincy said residents will probably see them in bloom in the spring.

As the October meeting serves as the SSSNA's annual meeting, elections were held.

Those running for board positions were incumbents Joe Balaban, Bev Boggio, Claudia Hart, Betty Kripp, Paul Lorincy and Brad Palmisiano.

The slate of six candidates was then approved by SSSNA members. All terms are for two years.

The next meeting will be on November 14 at 7 p.m. in the St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center.

 

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