Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

Nominations Being Accepted for 2014
"I'm The Evidence" Award

May is Mental Health Month and the MHA is now accepting nominations for the Annual "I'm The Evidence" awards. If you know of a mental health consumer who is working hard toward his/her recovery from a mental illness, who has identified a future for themselves and is optimistic about achieving recovery goals, is taking an active role in their own life and in the community and/or is a role model for the "l'm The Evidence" poem, please consider nominating her/him for this honor. You can find the nomination form here:

Nomination Form ~

or call us at 814.452.4462 x100 and we will make arrangements to get the form to you. Remember to ask the nominee if (s) he is willing to participate in the ceremony before making the nomination. Nominations need to be received at MHA by Tues. Apr. 29, 2014.

The awards event will be held at the MHA, 1101 Peach St., Erie, Pa. on Wed. May 14, 2014 from 1:30 to 3:00 PM.


I'm the Evidence
for how belief inspires
How hope transforms and
How giving heals the soul

I'm the Evidence
for what can be achieved
how feeling connected can ground
and how there is invaluable worth
in an act of faith

I'm the Evidence
For how an example can lead
How far encouragement can take you
And how one step begins
A journey towards endless possibilities


MHA is pleased to announce the opening of the MHA Lounge, a calmer, quieter alternative for peer support and socializing. The first floor Consumer Recovery Center has grown tremendously over the past 20 years and can get pretty noisy and stimulating as we provide recovery opportunities and activities to over 80 individuals each day in that setting. While that kind of environment is OK for some consumers, we have been told by some past members and prospective members that it is too hectic and anxiety provoking so they stay away. The MHA experience is meant to be available to any adult mental health consumer from all walks of life. The MHA Lounge is a response to those consumers who want to have opportunities to have a confortable, safe and welcoming place to spend meaningful time with fellow consumers that includes a less charged atmosphere.

The MHA Lounge is open 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM on the second floor of our facility at 1101 Peach St., Erie, Pa. Interested mental heath consumers who are not already members of the Consumer Recovery Center will need to provide proof of current or past use of mental health services, have a photo ID and be prepared to abide by basic rules of respect for fellow members and the MHA staff and property. We hope to see some of our old friends as well as new friends take advantage of the Lounge at MHA so they can share the mental health recovery journey with the support that sometimes can only come from those who are walking the same walk.

Register Now:
"Walk For A Healthy Community"

The annual Walk for a Healthy Community event is scheduled for June 7, 2014 at Presque Isle State Park. Those who have supported us in the past at this event: Thank you! We hope you will participate again this year. If you haven't walked with us yet, you are missing a great opportunity to spend a morning with a wonderful group of your neighbors in a beautiful environment. Help yourself and help us, too.

Registration Form ~

POSITIONS Available at MHA

As Needed Center Team Member (Associate 1 Trainee)

Reports To: Center Team Leader

General Responsibilities:

This is a part-time, shared position which does not have specific hours per week. It is designed to provide consumers with an opportunity to develop good work habits and skills prior to entering the general workforce.

Maximum length of employment in this position is 2 years.

As Needed staff must have a valid driver’s license and be able to operate a 15 passenger van.

The As Needed Center Team Member has direct contact with consumer center members. All Team Members are responsible for following procedures determined by the Center Team staff regarding the day to day operations of the Consumer Center.

All Team members must be able to function as a team and act as a support and resource to consumer members.

Specific Responsibilities and Duties

  1. Assist members in feeling welcome and encourage participation in groups and activities.
  2. Must have flexible availability to work days, evenings, nights, holidays, and/or Sundays.
  3. Safely operate a 15 passenger van and be insurable under MHA insurance.
  4. Maintain order and enforce van rules.
  5. Respond to consumers in distress in a supportive, respectful manner.
  6. In conjunction with co-workers, maintain a safe peaceful environment.
  7. Monitor all physical environments for safety of members, while protecting our material resources.
  8. Complete assigned paper work. i.e.…membership forms, incident reports, consumer contacts, and action plans.
  9. Recognize and manage crisis situations.
  10. Talk, listen, advocate for, and refer members as needed.
  11. Assist consumers to develop skills necessary to fulfill volunteer roles.
  12. Facilitate groups as assigned, assist in design and implementation of new groups.
  13. Project a positive image in or outside of the MHA.
  14. Provide role model for successful interaction skills, (assertiveness, conflict resolution, and boundary maintenance.
  15. Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirements:

  1. H.S. Diploma or GED
  2. Ability to drive 15 passenger van
  3. Act 33/34 Clearance. Act 151 Clearances.
  4. Knowledge of the Mission, Vision and Values of MHA.
  5. Ability to follow policies and procedures of the MHA.
  6. Ability to meet schedules, plan, take direction.
  7. Knowledge of internal resources as well as Mental Health resources in the community.
  8. Subscribe to ethical standards of confidentiality.
  9. Ability to be a team player.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described herein are representative of those that must be met by staff to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the staff is regularly required to stand, sit, talk, hear (hearing aid permitted). Specific vision abilities required by the job include peripheral and distance vision.

Staff is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms and use legs to lift and or move up to 50 lbs.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described herein are representative of those a staff encounters while performing the essential functions pf the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

Staff is occasionally exposed to outside weather.

Noise level is usually moderate.

Interested individuals please send your resumé and cover letter to:

  • Carla Kurpiewski, CTL
  • MHA Consumer Recovery Center
  • 1101 Peach Street
  • Erie, PA 16501

No Phone Calls Please

New to the MHA

Want a quiet space to relax and have conversation? Take advantage of the new MHA lounge upstairs in the second floor common area. It is available on Mondays and Thursdays from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. It provides a quiet place for reading, art, puzzles, or whatever may be relaxing for you.

Peer Support Program at MHANP

We are pleased to announce that the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA is opening a new free standing, consumer run Peer Support Program (PSP) housed at our facility at 1101 Peach Street, Erie. .....complete article

~ Referral Form ~

~ Service Description ~

How To Stay Well Support Group

A new support group named "How Am I Going To Stay Well" will meet four Fridays from 2:15 TO 3:15. Dates are Mar 28, Apr 4, Apr11 & Apr 25th. Facilitated by Linnea Pickard, the goal is to learn ways to reduce stress by using simple exercises and knowledgeable eating habits, and to respond appropriately when stress is triggered.

~ Summary of Group ~

Meet and Greet Voter Registration
Was A Large Success

The MHA held a voter registration drive with an opportunity to speak directly with elected officials. The event held Mar 14, 2014, allowed voters to directly question the office seekers and hear their views on any subject.

  • Members came!
  • Members registered to vote!
  • Members questioned and have been heard!

Thanks to the several elected officials who participated and also to the members who attended and demonstrated the power of their vote.

Congratulations to Hannah Coates

Congratulations to Hannah Coates on successfully completing her internship at the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA.

Her interaction with the consumers was a valuable learning experience. She leaves with sadness, recognizing that the consumers educated her beyond any of her expectations. Her time at the MHA was positive and rewarding.

Thank you and best wishes on your journey.

Essay ~

A quick guide to some housing resources for people experiencing homelessness

Warming Center at MHA
Click on Icon just above this column.
The Warming Center at MHA opens its doors whenever the overnight temperature will be 25 degrees or less, accepting anyone who needs to come in from the cold during overnight hours. All are welcome while they abide by basic rules of mutual respect. MHA provides shelter, safety, food, coffee, activities, conversation, support, and a place to "nap" for those needing to rest.
Erie County Care Management Homeless Case Management
Best to call early in the morning or late afternoon or most likely you will need to leave a message and number for them to call back. They can meet with you at their office or somewhere in the community. Homeless Case Management can be a good resource way to help someone with a mental health need find a place to live. Homeless case managers have expertise and resources others may not have. The case managers are in the emergency shelters almost every day.
United Methodist Alliance Project Hope
Project Hope has very active outreach workers. They can meet with you in the community. Project Hope workers often can meet with people in the evenings as well as the daytime. Project Hope has resources others may not.
Over-flow shelter information
The over-flow shelter location rotates through the community. Call to find the location and times it is open.

Invitation to Join MHA in "Celebrating Hope, Encouragement, Recovery"

MHA is proud to announce that we have partnered with the I'm the Evidence/Mental Health Campaign (ITE/MH), a grassroots initiative to increase awareness that people recover from mental illness and to celebrate individuals who are living examples of recovery, as well as those who support them.

The campaign officially launched this month after a year of planning led by the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania (MHAPA) and Support the Journey. The MHAPA works on behalf of the mental health of citizens of Pennsylvania instilling principles that facilitate recovery and resiliency of individuals and their families. Support The Journey provides products and services that help people understand, embrace, and support the human potential for growth, discovery, and recovery. At the heart of the Campaign is a poem expressing the Campaign's values - belief, hope, giving, connectedness, action, example, encouragement, and possibility. (Read the entire poem at

Becoming a partner in the ITE/MH campaign is a natural fit for MHA. Celebrating the recovery accomplishments of mental health consumers and the roles of families, professionals and organizations in helping consumers in the pursuit of their dreams has been a part of what we do since the MHA came into being in 1993. Those of you receiving this message have also shown a commitment to mental health recovery and we invite you to become a part of this powerful and positive statewide initiative by becoming an ITE/MH partner (organization) or ambassador (individual)

As a Partner, we will spread the messages of the Campaign by helping consumers share their recovery stories, hosting ITE/MH events, recruiting more partners and ambassadors for the campaign, and by being true to the campaign mission.

Join us! Be part of the Campaign. Learn more or get involved at or call me or Rita Wheeler at 814-452-4462 to honor the Evidence in you or someone you know.


Bill Grove, CEO

The Internship Experience at the MHA

Several college seniors from universities within the tri state area have spent a semester at the MHA. We have asked our recent interns to express their impression of their experience with us.

Highlights Regional

Spirituality & Mental Health Recovery Conf

The 12th Annual Spirituality and Mental Health Conference will be held May 7, 2014 at the Masonic Temple, 32 W 8th St, Erie, PA. RSVP by Apr 23, 2014 to Bill Grove at the MHANP. Directions

Registration /Flyer ~

National Recovery Month will be celebrated September 16, 2014

"Join the Voices for Recovery: Reach Out, Speak Up" is the theme for the 25th Annual National Recovery Month, September 2014. This is the eleventh (11th) year that Erie County will celebrated this event.

Planning Committee meetings:

  • May 7, 2014
  • June 4, 2014
  • July 2, 2014
  • August 6, 2014

~ Save The Dates Info ~

~ Registration Form ~

~ Susan Esper Award Recommendation ~

Facebook Provides First-of-a-Kind Service To Help Prevent Suicides

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are collaborating with Facebook to help those in crisis.

In partnership with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Facebook is announcing a new service that harnesses the power of social networking and crisis support to help prevent suicides across the Nation and Canada. The new service enables Facebook users to report a suicidal comment they see posted by a friend to Facebook using either the Report Suicidal Content link or the report links found throughout the site. The person who posted the suicidal comment will then immediately receive an email from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to click on this link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.

MH Advance Directive

Mental Health Advance Directive is available online.