How Mr. Sylvan Herman and ClearView Communities came to be

CVC Founder Sylvan Herman was featured in Wells Fargo Stories, Economic Opportunity
Property for a purpose: Using wealth to transform mental health care, written by Wayne Thompson. Mr. Herman and Wells Fargo have been working together since the 1980’s, to read more follow the link below.

“Returning from his duty as a sailor in World War II, Herman would draw on the tough love and lessons from his childhood often when work was scarce and jobs were few.

Herman put himself through Syracuse University on the GI Bill. At 24, he tried supporting his divorced mom and family by selling pots and pans.

“I got the job because I had a car — a Plymouth sedan,” Herman said. “They gave me a stack of cards and said, ‘Now go and knock on these doors and sell our merchandise.’ They gave me the worst route one can have — a lot of rural addresses — and they fired me because they thought I wasn’t selling enough.”

Herman turned to auto sales and soon hit his stride. He did well, even buying a dozen cars or so and running his own lot after his initial success. An auto finance company that he worked with noticed his work ethic and results, and asked him to manage their car lots in Washington, D.C.

So off he went, and that’s where his life’s first big moment came.”

To continue reading… Using wealth to transform mental health care

Rock Climbing – Adventure Club at ClearView Communities
July 19,2018

A group of 3 staff and 3 residents met up with the staff from Camp Big Horn and went top-rope climbing at Great Falls Park in Virginia. The goal of the experience was confidence building, trust and belief in self, problem solving, improved coping strategies among others. According to Josh, the Director of Camp Big Horn East, and all of the CVC folks that attended, they achieved those goals and more.
The staff and residents form CVC shared about their experience in the morning meet-up group the next day. Here is an account of the day from Victoria Holniker, House Manager and ILS Supervisor:

“Last week I had the opportunity to go rock climbing with a group of residents and staff. I spent the prior night terrified that I would make a fool out of myself and wondered why I had volunteered to go when I had never been before. I made the small goal to at least try and maybe get a few feet off of the ground. When we got to Great Falls Park the next morning, we were immediately met by Josh and his crew. In the few minutes we talked in the parking lot and on the hike to our climbing spot, it was almost like we were old friends catching up. They were all super friendly and wanted to make our experience a great one from start to finish. We got to our climbing spot and were given quotes and questions to reflect upon prior to beginning our climbing. These quotes talked about the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones and not being afraid to fail. Once our reflection time wrapped, we got down to it! We were given an overview of the equipment, the lingo (in case you were wondering it’s belay – not beignets), and the schedule for the rest of the day. Let me tell you, as a staff member, it was so awesome to see the excitement on our residents’ faces. We were with a group that maybe wouldn’t have outwardly expressed their excitement, but their faces said it all. One by one they began climbing up this rock! With each climb, our group all seemed to grow closer together and we all began providing words of encouragement and affirmation for each climber. Talk about an awesome team building experience. Finally, it was my turn! I’m almost positive I blacked out until I got halfway up the rock and then once I hit a small obstacle, I realized that I was halfway up a rock! Terrifying! As I mentioned though, the entire group was so encouraging and instead of making it a few feet off the ground, I made it to the top TWICE that day! In those moments, on top of the rock, hitting the clip that held our ropes in place, I learned not to underestimate myself or to be afraid of trying new things! Our residents also discussed feeling that they learned the payoff of persistence and determination. We stayed and climbed as long as we could until it was time to gather again to debrief and reflect on the day. It was at that moment, that we all realized that we had formed a stronger bond from that shared experience of adventure! It was a moment that made you remember why you wanted to be a part of the mental health field, especially in direct care. On the car ride back, we all spent the two hours talking about how much fun we had and how we hoped our peers back at CVC could experience what we just did.”

HOLIDAY VISITS – Survival Tips
From the desk of Eric Levine, Executive Director at ClearView Communities

Ask anyone and they will tell you, no matter how much cheer and excitement the holiday season brings, the holidays can be stressful. This is especially true for anyone living with mental illness and their loved ones.

As some of our Residents at Clearview Communities prepare to go home and spend time with their families or have loved ones come into town for a visit, we try to prepare them as best we can for positive experiences. I asked our Program Director, Aaron VanDermeer to talk a little bit about preparing both Residents and their families for the holidays.

“We view going home for the holidays as another part of the experiential process at ClearView Communities,” Aaron explains “This is a key time for Residents to practice the skills they’ve been learning and building, sometimes from DBT or CBT groups, sometimes from the social integration piece of living in the community here.”

I asked Aaron for more specifics on what steps are taken to prepare Residents for visits home.

“As a rule, we treat each Resident with a highly individualized treatment plan, and so the same goes for holiday visit planning. We look at each Resident, their family situation, what tools and framework are they going to need to make it a successful leave of absence or visit. This effort involves everyone on the team, the Resident and key family members to make it a success.”

Aaron adds “Of course there are tips and skills we like to build on before the holidays in groups and open discussions to ensure Residents are prepared for the stressors that can affect them during their time at home.”

Some of the most helpful reminders for Residents Aaron shared:

· Maintain the healthy boundaries in your relationships that you’ve been working hard to develop; don’t let the familiarity of home allow you to fall back into unhealthy “roles” and habits

· Make time for the people who support your growth and recovery and decline or limit time with those who don’t

· The holidays tend to mess with our schedules and sleep patterns – DON’T allow it to mess with your progress! Make sure you get adequate sleep and if you need to, set alarms on your phone to remind you to take medication.

It’s not only our holiday wish for our Residents and Families to experience healthy, positive interactions – we strive to achieve this all year long. At ClearView Communities, we thank you for your support and look forward to partnering with you in 2018 in the pursuit of excellence for mental health treatment.

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Celebrating a Milestone and moving forward

ClearView Communities in Frederick, MD recently completed treatment with our 100th resident. We are pleased to offer community integration programming for residents with serious and persistent mental illness. Longitudinal data on this population has indicated that people with serious and persistent mental illness are underemployed, often struggle with substance use disorder, experience other serious health concerns, and typically have a life expectancy approximately 25 years shorter than the average person. Quality programming can positively influence those outcomes.

Clearview is a member of a several organizations, including the Association 4 Community Integration Programs ( The association defines Community Integration as follows “…Community integration is a model that blends psychiatric care and psychosocial rehabilitation. It is rooted in the belief that many people diagnosed as suffering from psychiatric symptoms do not need to live apart from their community, whether in residential programs or hospital settings.”

Elements of the Clearview model include: psychiatry, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention services, evidence-based supported employment, milieu therapy, art therapy, yoga, and exercise. The primary purpose of the program is to help residents get and keep jobs, enroll in post-secondary courses, and/or volunteer in the community. We believe that this model can be highly effective with those we serve. The majority of CVC residents who have completed the program are living on their own with minimal supports. In 2016, at any given time, 75% of ClearView residents were meaningfully engaged in community integration activities. On average 65% of residents who wanted to work became competitively employed.

Success is hard fought. It does not happen for everyone. About 2/3 of CVC residents who have been admitted to the program have experienced successful outcomes. Anyone who says that their model has solved the problem of treating people with mental illness, has stopped asking the right questions. Mental illness is a public health crisis. Continued and sustained efforts must be made if the collective “we” can hope to help people struggling with mental illness to live quality lives and to actively participate and contribute within their communities. ClearView’s mission is to provide a superior therapeutic residential experience for persons with serious mental illness. We try our best to fulfill that mission and continually strive to learn and be better. Community Integration and recovery-based models are the way to go.

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February 15th, 2017

Sylvan C. Herman, founder of ClearView Communities makes a gift to Suburban Hospital to support new behavioral health suites. Read full article here


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December 2nd, 2016

ClearView Communities is proud to announce that it has achieved accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for 3 years as a Residential Treatment Program for adults with mental illness.

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Suburban Hospital’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Unit Helping Patients Find a New Sense of Purpose

September 28th, 2016

Suburban Hospital’s comprehensive Behavioral Health Program includes crisis services, a 24-bed inpatient unit, an addiction treatment program and a day treatment program. Many patients enter these programs through the Emergency Department, which has seen a record number of people seeking behavioral health care over the past decade… Read Full Article

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Mayo among hospitals seeking psychiatric housing

June 21st, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Joining Mayo Clinic’s previously announced effort, two other Minnesota hospitals want to establish short-term housing for adults with psychiatric illnesses amid a backlog in the state mental health system.

Like Mayo, Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis has made plans to develop housing for patients who may be ready for discharge from the hospital but need more therapy before returning to their own homes. Regions Hospital in St. Paul is considering developing a 16-bed residential treatment center that will help patients after they’re discharged from area hospitals.

The new “recovery homes” will serve more than 400 adults with mental illnesses every year. They’re expected to relieve pressure on hospitals that have become overwhelmed by a surge of patients suffering mental health crises.

Mayo Clinic is partnering with a non-profit organization to build and manage two residential houses by its Saint Marys hospital campus for patients with mental illnesses. The Sylvan C. Herman Foundation, which created the ClearView Communities in Frederick, Md., is driving the project as well as financing it. The plan is to build two houses on Mayo Clinic land along 14th Avenue Southwest, across from the Saint Marys Campus.


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June 15, 2016

ClearView Communities is proud to announce the opening of our new, state-of the-art office/treatment center and additional 8 bed residential treatment facility in Frederick, MD thanks to the incredible generosity of the SC Herman Foundation. ClearView Communities now has the capacity to serve 28 people with serious mental illness in four beautiful homes throughout the city of Frederick, MD. The new office/treatment facility offers the following well appointed treatment spaces: teaching kitchen, nursing suite, Art/yoga studio, fitness machines, computer lab (Cognitive Remediation), TV/game room, library, and a large multi purpose Great Room for dinners, staff meeting, professional development, and weekly community dinners.

Please call to set up a tour or if you are interested in talking about a possible admission to the program. Pictures are coming soon!!


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Building Our Future

October 27, 2015

The construction site of our new treatment facility and group home was visited today by Founder and Benefactor, Mr. S. C. Herman, his Executive Vice President, Mr. J. Scott Ogden, and our own Executive Director, Dr. Eric Levine.

Clearview Communities for Residential Psychiatric Health Treatment in Maryland

Left: Dr. Eric Levine, Executive Director, ClearView Communities
Center: Mr. Sylvan “Chic” Herman, Founder and Benefactor, Sylvan C. Herman Foundation, Contributor to ClearView Communities, and President, S. C. Herman & Associates
Right: Mr. J. Scott Ogden, Executive Vice President, S. C. Herman & Associates

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Exciting Results from the RAISE Study and ClearView Communities

October 21, 2015
Michael Knable, DO

New research from the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) project, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), was released yesterday and will be published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The investigators in this study trained clinical teams at “real-world” clinics around the country to use a coordinated and intensive model of treatment for young people suffering from the beginning stages of schizophrenia. The treatments that were offered included recovery-oriented psychotherapy, low dose antipsychotic medication, family education and support, case management, and supported employment or education. Patients who received this type of care had much better outcomes than patient receiving “treatment as usual” in typical-care sites. We at ClearView were very excited to see these results! This is the type of treatment that we seek to provide and for which we have been advocating since we opened our doors. It is our sincere hope that as the evidence base for this model of treatment expands it will be made available more generally around the country.

A reference for this research is can be found at: The American Journal of Psychiatry

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Mental Health Association of Maryland: Brain Futures conference

Clearview Communities Medical Director, Dr. Michael Knable, will be speaking at the Mental Health Association of Maryland Brain Futures conference on November 5. The Brain Futures conference marks the 100th anniversary of Mental Health Association of Maryland and will include many interesting talks on recent advances in mental health treatment. The attached podcast aired on October 19 on WYPR Annapolis and gives an introduction the conference.

Click to listen: Dr. Michael Knable’s WYPR Annapolis interview.

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Please Support Our Local YMCA

Our local YMCA of Frederick County was affected by the recent heavy rains and sustained significant flooding damage. They have setup a site for the collection of donations to aid in clean up and repair efforts.

From the page:
At around 9:30pm on September 29th, the Downtown Y building at 1000 N Market St received extensive water damage. Due to environmental concerns, the Downtown Y building will be closed for a minimum of 5 days.

In response to the outpouring of concern by the community, the YMCA of Frederick County has set up a fund to help defray the cost necessary for the repairs and refurbishment of the Downtown Y and Early Learning Center.

We would like to thank anyone that is able to offer their financial support during the cleaning and rebuilding process.

Thanks for your support!
YMCA Staff

Read more information on this story from the Frederick News Post Article

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A Word from Dr. Courtenay Harding

Clearview Communities for Holistic Residential Mental Health Treatment in Maryland

“Clear View is a small program which really seems to have a ‘clear view’ of how to help people move toward recovery and community integration. The priorities are right, the environment appears kind and optimistic, and any program that gets more than 60% back to work or school has my vote!”
– Dr. Courtenay M. Harding

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ClearView Communities Presents:

In partnership with WayStaion

Dr. Courtenay Harding, Ph.D.

“Reclaiming Lives: Hope and Optimism for Improvement and Recovery In Serious and Persistent Psychotic Problems”

When: Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM,

Where: Way Station Training Facility 204 Abrecht Place Frederick, MD 21701

RSVP with Courtney Woltz-Spano at 240-439-4900 by Friday, August 28, 2015

Clearview Communities for Holistic Residential Mental Health Treatment in Maryland

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A Thank You from Family

Eric, Caroline and Michael:

I’m sorry for my delay in sending this.  Thank you so much for the great care you provided (name removed). We hope you are very proud of the great service you provide.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we may be of assistance in the future and you certainly may post this on your website.

Warm Regards,


ClearView and the Association of Community Integration Programs

Dr. Eric Levine, Ed. D.
June 17, 2015

ClearView Communities (CVC) has joined with Prakash and Ellenhorn, the Menninger Clinic, Westbridge, and a number of other residential rehabilitation programs to form the Association of Community Integration Programs (ACIP). The Association met for its inaugural conference at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas from June 2-4.

The mission of the Association is to bring programs together whose main goal is to assist persons with mental illness become more fully integrated in their respective communities.

The conference brought together a cross section of programs from around the country. All of the programs serve persons with serious and persistent mental illness and are committed to maximizing independent community functioning. The plan moving forward is for the ACIP to meet for an annual conference in Houston .

We were fortunate to have Dr. Peter Fonagy, of the Anna Freud Center, speak about Epistemic Trust and Building Resilience in Individuals in the Community. Dr. Fonagy is a true leader in the field and an excellent speaker. Much of what he discussed was directly applicable to our efforts at CVC.

Dr. Courtenay Harding, from the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, spoke about long-term outcome data in schizophrenia. Her groundbreaking work serves as a foundation of hope that positive outcomes for persons with schizophrenia are possible.

Many thanks to Dr. Ross Ellenhorn and Edward Levin for spearheading the development of the ACIP; and to Jeff Bliss, the CEO of the ACIP, who worked tirelessly to get the initial meeting off the ground.

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New Construction

May 5, 2015

ClearView Communities is proud and excited to announce that it will be breaking ground on its new state-of-the-art treatment center/office space in late May or early June 2015. Thanks to the on-going generosity of the SC Herman Foundation, ClearView will be renovating a historic home and building another 10,000 square feet of treatment space onto the existing structure. The building will house administrative offices, therapy and wellness space (art, music, and exercise rooms), medical and nursing offices, and a kitchen that can be used for teaching. This beautiful new facility will also house a computer lab, library, and space for quiet reflection. The property sits on about three acres in downtown Frederick, MD and will be generously and tastefully landscaped.

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Promotions and New Positions

May 4, 2015

Congratulations to our Team Members in accepting the following positions.

Program Manager –
Aaron Vander Meer, MSW has been promoted to Program Manager. Under the direction of the Executive Director, Aaron will be managing the residential program schedule. He will be providing oversight and direction in all aspects of resident life here at ClearView Communities.

Aaron will now be supervising the Senior House Managers as well as the Employment Specialist. Aaron will also be responsible for the development and maintenance of staff schedules.

Therapist (Full-Time) –
Christine Van Horn, LCPC has been a part of the ClearView team part-time since September 2013. She has accepted a full-time position with us effective May 2015. Christine will now be providing additional group therapy and individual session services to our residents. She joins Lynne Kessler-Peters and Annie Quinlan. Under the supervision of Caroline Cantrell, Clinical Director and Dr. Michael Knable, Medical Director these experienced and highly qualified individuals provide clinical services to the residents and clients of ClearView Communities.

Employment Specialist –
Laura Sinclair has been a Recovery Coach with ClearView since February of this year. She has been selected as the new Employment Specialist. Laura will be working closely with residents in seeking employment utilizing the Dartmouth Evidence-Based Supported Employment model for working with persons with mental illness.

Volunteer Coordinator –
Katelin Lindamood has been a Recovery Coach with ClearView for several years. She was recently selected as the Volunteer Coordinator. Katelin will be coordinating community engagement activities to provide opportunities for our residents to get involved and give back the community around them.

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Psychiatric Services at Clearview Communities

By: Dr. Eric Levine

April 22, 2015

We extend congratulations to our Medical Director, Dr. Michael Knable, who was recently selected as a “Top Doctor” in Psychiatry by Washingtonian Magazine for 2015. We also extend a welcome to Dr. Benjamin Vitiello who joined the Clearview staff on April 1. Dr. Vitiello is a graduate of the University of Pavia Medical School and has served as the Chief of the Treatment and Preventive Interventions Research Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and has authored more than 200 publications on various aspects of psychiatric treatment and epidemiology.

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