Advancing the Call For Change

In May 2024, OMHSAS announced the next evolution of the Call for Change initiative: Advancing the Call for Change. Beginning in 2022, a diverse group of stakeholders with lived experience came together to form a steering committee that convened regularly over the course of a year and formulated goals and objectives they felt were important to continue system transformation. The efforts of this committee resulted in the Advancing the Call for Change document.  Advancing the Call for Change was designed to assess how far the behavioral health system has come in 19 years, stimulate conversation, and drive action.  As the system progresses, this document should act as a guide for all decision makers in focusing on the critical principles of recovery and resilience, including ensuring approaches are person-centered, strengths-based, trauma-informed, follow a DEI framework, integrate peer supports, and are outcomes focused.  

In July 2004, the OMHSAS Adult Advisory Committee called for a work group to guide recovery transformation efforts. In November 2004, the work group held its first meeting and a steering committee was formed to move forward with recommendations. In November 2005, A Call for Change was presented to the Adult Advisory Committee.

A Call for Change offers a basic framework for transformation, including indicators of a recovery-oriented system. In addition, it discusses some of the implications of these changes and recommends some approaches for using the indicators to initiate changes in local, county, and statewide systems. It is to be considered a "living-breathing" document and not a "set in stone" plan. As the first phase of an ongoing process, the purpose of the report is to stimulate discussion in all arenas and at all levels. Additional materials will need to be developed to help inform and guide the process as Pennsylvania shifts toward a more recovery-oriented service system.

At the time of publication, OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Joan Erney, JD, noted:

"A Call for Change" establishes a firm foundation for the Pennsylvania transformation to a recovery-oriented mental health system. It offers an understanding of how we’ve arrived at this time of recovery transformation, provides a concise definition of recovery, and further consideration of what a recovery-oriented system is and is not. Indicators are provided to serve as critical reference points for services, agencies and county mental health programs looking for more specific strategies for transforming to more recovery-oriented services. A Call for Change highlights the challenges we have yet to address and the need for us to engage in open, honest discussion and debate about these issues.

OMHSAS is dedicated to building on the foundation of A Call for Change, so that the opportunity of recovery is fully supported for all who are served in our public mental health system."