January 2016 Newsletter

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Happy New Year! Changes and Resolutions and Goals...Oh My!!

It's the New Year and many of us are looking for the "New You". I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's Resolutions, but I am a HUGE fan of setting goals! To me, the New Year is a starting line. It's a day that I can use to reflect on the journey ahead. I can look to the year ahead, see my potential, make a plan, and say, "GO!" It's my fresh start, my renewal, and my baseline (see how I did that...I incorporated contact note language...I'm so tricky!!!)

Change is not easy and striving to meet our goals is HARD! We are in the business of being agents of change and we see every day that the struggle is real. We need to expect it to be difficult and we need to expect that we will falter, knowing that we have a plan to brush ourselves off, look into the mirror and say, "I got this!" and get right back at it.

If you are setting goals for yourself in 2016 or are helping others set goals for the year, I wanted to share some tips on making New Year's Resolutions and Goals. There is a large variety of support and resources online for making goals and tracking progress and I highly encourage you to seek them out. There's always an "app for that", and you can find tracking tool apps that help you lose weight, quit smoking, become more organized, etc...And there are many articles devoted to helping you avoid making mistakes in goal setting. Setting realistic goals puts us in a better position to change behaviors and meet goals. Be sure to focus on the process you are going through rather than focusing solely on completing the goal! Share the tips below for setting realistic New Year's goals and resolutions.

  • Decide what you really want! Ask yourself if the goal you are setting is something you really want or is it something that you feel obligated to do. We are more likely to meet goals that we are personally dedicated to and motivated for.
  • Come up with a plan that will work for you! We have to sit down and create a strategy to achieve our goals! To create a strategy, we need to look at many factors: how much time do we have to devote to the goal? Can the goal be accomplished at home or do we need an additional place to go? Can we meet the goal on our own or do we need professional or personal supports? It is important to break the goal down into these types of questions to determine if it is a goal that you can realistically achieve in the coming year.
  • Prepare yourself that it will take time to achieve the goal! Not only does your goal need to be realistic, but your expectations need to be realistic as well! If my goal is to get into better shape, I have to expect that the first few weeks of exercising are going to be BRUTAL! I need to prepare myself that if I attend an exercise class for the first time, I am going to be an uncoordinated, un-able to breathe ball of sweat! But I can keep in mind, that by following through with my plan, by the third or fourth week, I will know the moves, feel more coordinate, and have more energy to go to class. I will no longer be the "Beginner!"
  • Plan your attack! As I mentioned above, we have a much better chance at success if we sit down and create a plan! Once you have a plan in place, take time to put the plan into motion. Having a visual, employing a tracking tool, and reaching out to others is a great way to take action. Did you decide in your plan that you needed to join a group to help you meet your goal? Take a class? Enlist a friend? This is where you sit down and coordinate the extra support or resources that your plan includes! Having these in place before you begin will help you through the hardest part...the first few weeks!
  • Take it one step at a time! Know what goals can be completed in one simple step. For example: Donating clothes that you no longer wear can be done quickly, something that you can easily check off of your list. Other goals are going to take time, and you need to prepare yourself for that! Quitting smoking, eating healthier, exercising more, becoming more organized are all behavior changes that are going to take time! Allow yourself time for these changes to take place, and celebrate each small step you make towards your goal!

These are just a few tips for making New Year's goals and resolutions! As I mentioned, there are numerous resources and tools online that you can use to help reach the majority of your goals! If you have decided to set a goal for the coming year and would like to share what it is, please feel free to send me and email at! I would love to hear about your journey throughout the year! Best of Luck to you all in 2016!

Congratulations to the winners of the Altoona Office Holiday Door Decorating Contest! Thanks to all who participated & voted! Christina Jenkins and Tammy Clevenstine

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Peerstar creates and distributes 420 Warm Kits!

I am beyond proud to tell you about a winter outreach that Peerstar created this year. In hopes of reaching out to those that are struggling with homelessness, Peerstar created 420 "Warm Kits" that were distributed throughout every county we serve. These warm kits included:

  • Over-sized fleece blanket
  • Winter hat
  • Gloves
  • Scarf
  • Socks
  • Packet of Hot-Hands
  • Chap-stick
  • Crackers

Below are some photos of the warm kits being created and even some of them being distributed!

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Holiday Brunches were held throughout the various Regions of Peerstar. We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Please see below for a few brunch pictures that were submitted:

Wellness Works!

To keep on the topic of New Year's Goals and Resolutions, I wanted to share a simple idea. I found a resource online from EmpowHer that shared "11 Mental Health New Year's Resolutions", and of course I had to continue reading it. I would like to share with you some of the amazing, yet simple resolutions that it encouraged we all make this year and every year after. You can read the full article which includes suggestions for each resolution here.

  • "I will treat myself with respect and speak nicely about myself"
  • "I resolve to be mentally healthy"
  • "I will be physically active on a daily basis."
  • "I will act and not react."
  • "I will learn to relax and enjoy."
  • "I will not define myself by a label."
  • "I will be mindful, I will stay in the moment."
  • "I will work towards being the person I want to be."
  • "I will not be hard on myself if I make resolutions and do not keep them."

I am sure you will all agree that these are simple goals that we help our peers work towards. I encourage you to remember that you also deserve to take the time to focus on yourself and your own wellness! Please feel free to share any mental health resolutions you are making by emailing me at

What is happening in Region A? By Michelle Seaman

Happy New Year from Region A!

Region A continues to grow as we welcomed more new staff to our region. In addition to all of the usual things that happen throughout the month- in December we had our Holiday brunches. I was so happy to be able to see and mingle with everyone in a relaxing way. Thank you to all that attended- it was great to see you :)

Peerstar also donated warm kits to agencies/police departments who work with the homeless population. I had the honor to deliver the warm kits throughout Region A to a variety of different agencies who were very excited to be able to share them with the individuals they assist.

There are many meetings that occur on a regular basis that everyone is welcome to attend and offer their idea's to improve services and recovery focused spirit for our communities. Here are a few:

CSP Meetings:

Armstrong County- every 4th Thursday at 1:00 at Family Counseling Center

Indiana County- every 1st Thursday at 1:00 at the Indiana Boro Building

Clearfield/Jefferson Counties- every 3rd Tuesday- where it occurs does rotate

Suicide Prevention Meetings:

Armstrong County: Just starting up- I will include more details as they come up

Indiana County: every 1st Monday at 10 am at the Career Link Building

Clearfield/Jefferson- every 2nd Wednesday- January is at SAM's dubois

If you wish to assist in any of the Suicide Prevention Walks- please contact Michelle Seaman and she will provide you times when the walk committee's meet- this is a great volunteer experience and volunteers are greatly needed for the planning process and for the actual day's themselves :)

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

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HIPAA Humor courtesy of Milisa Kyler!

The Compliance Department

As an employee of Peerstar, it is each of our's duty to report any suspected Fraud, Waste, or Abuse to the Compliance Department. You can contact Lori Miller with the contact information below:

Electronic Medical Records: What's it all about?

Many of you may have heard that Peestar is in the process of preparing to use Electronic Medical Records in the near future. And although we will bring you more information when we are closer to this switch, we wanted to start to share with you some of the excitement that this switch will bring!

  • With Electronic Medical Records there is no need to wait for contact notes, print paperwork or fax/scan paperwork. Everything you need will conveniently be found in the software!
  • You do not need internet service to use it! That's right, you will be able to access the software from the community and/or a peer's home even when they don't have internet capabilities.
  • Fewer addendum/non-billable notes! That's right, many of the things that we ask you to document, will automatically be included in software!
  • Paperwork that you are used to! With the Credible system that we are using, the online paperwork has the same information and set-up as the paperwork you are already using. It might look a little different on your screen, but it is the same information and structure!
  • We'll train you no matter what level of computer knowledge you have. If you have little to no experience with an iPad, don't worry, we'll train you! You will have an opportunity to learn the basics of iPads before you begin learning the Credible Software!

As I mentioned, these are just a few of the exciting things that our switch to the Credible system of Electronic Medical Records will be. We will keep you updated and provide more information as we get closer to the switch!

Peerstar, LLC

Have you liked us on Facebook? Or visited our website for staff resources?

Bedford County Peer to Peer Support Group

Monday, Jan. 18th, 4pm

145 South Juliana Street

Bedford, PA

Peerstar leads a Peer to Peer Mental Health Support Group open to community members experiencing mental health struggles as well as their family members or supporters. The group meets 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Somerset County CSP Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 1pm

225 South Center Avenue

Somerset, PA

Somerset County Peer to Peer Support Group

Tuesday, Jan. 19th, 3pm

225 South Center Avenue

Somerset, PA

Peerstar leads a Peer to Peer Mental Health Support Group open to community members experiencing mental health struggles as well as their family members or supporters. The group meets 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Franklin County: Free Meals the 4th Saturday of each month.

Saturday, Jan. 23rd, 5:30pm

125 Park Avenue

Chambersburg, PA

The Park Avenue United Methodist Church, on the corner of Park Avenue and Edgar Avenue in Chambersburg serves a free meal on the 4th Saturday of each month at 5:30 pm. There is an optional Prayer/Bible Study at 5:00 pm as well.

Future dates are:

January 23

February 27

March 26

April 23

For more information please call 263-2364

Intro to Working With Older Adults Training

Monday, Jan. 25th, 9am

2900 Plank Road

Altoona, PA

This training is an internal training for Peerstar employees and is the first training in the next series of 3 hour trainings.

To Register for this event you can email Jessica Peacock directly or register using this link

Doors to Wellbeing monthly webinars

Tuesday, Jan. 26th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Doors to wellbeing offers monthly webinars on topics of interest to Certified Peer Specialists. The Doors to wellbeing webinars are free to participate but require pre-registration.

Webinars are held on the last Tuesday of the Month throughout the year. For more information or to register, please visit

Central PA Chapter of the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Comedy Show Fundraiser

Saturday, Feb. 13th, 9pm

2280 Commercial Boulevard

State College, PA

This Comedy Show Fundraiser begins at 9:00 pm, but doors will open at 7:30. You can visit the organizations Facebook page for more information.

Mental Health First Aid

Thursday, Jan. 28th, 10am to Friday, Jan. 29th, 3pm

Somerset MHMR Race Street, Somerset, PA

This is a 2 day training and participants must attend both days. The training is being held January 28th 10:00 am - 3:00 pm and January 29th 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.

To Register, please visit this survey monkey link.

Motivational Interviewing

Wednesday, March 23rd, 9am to Thursday, March 24th, 4pm

4517 U.S. 220 Business

Bedford, PA

This is a 2 day training and participants must attend both days. The training is being held March 23rd from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm and March 24th 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

To register, please visit this survey monkey link.