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Highlights Local

Thanks to All Who Participated in Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Jun 16 2016 Erie, PA

Over $9,000 was raised for the Warming Center at MHA during this year's Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community campaign. MHA along with 24 other local nonprofits were able to benefit from the Walk. As always, Highmark covered the costs of organizing, managing, and promoting the event. Thanks go out to all the Highmark staff who dedicated their time energy and finances to make this another successful year for the Walk.

Thanks also to the many donors and walkers who made this year's Walk for a Healthy Community so successful for the Warming Center at MHA. Your generosity now is helping ensure we will be ready to open our doors to anyone without adequate shelter next winter when overnight temperatures dip to 25 degrees or below. Have a great summer and we will see you again for next year's Walk for a Healthy Community.

2016 "I'm The Evidence Awards" Presented at MHA

May 27 2016, Erie PA

Once again, MHA hosted the "I'm The Evidence" Award presentation on May 11th in recognition of May is Mental Health Month. The call for nominations went out in early April and we received 9 excellent responses identifying individual mental health consumers who exemplified persons successfully pursuing a life in recovery. Of the nominations received, 5 were selected as this year's honorees.

Congratulations to Brian McLaughlin, Rita Fitzgerald, Stephen Mello, Samuel Pruitt and Martin Province each of whose inspiring stories of recovery and service were detailed by their nominators. Following the presentation ceremony, honorees, guests, and MHA members enjoyed a reception on the second floor of the MHA building.

Gannon U Recognizes Rita Wheeler with Outstanding Field Instructor Award

Rita Wheeler, Program Development/Volunteer Coordinator at MHA, accepted the Outstanding Field Instructor Award for Years of Outstanding Service at the Gannon University Social Work Program appreciation lunch.

Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter, LSW comments:" In the almost 11 years I've been at Gannon and have been serving as the Field Coordinator, there has been only one year that we have not had a student working under Rita and Bill at the MHA. Frequently, we have had more than one student, as we do this year. There is a long history of serving as a field placement for my predecessor, Chuck Murphy.

Rita, we would like to acknowledge you as the day-today-hands on field instructor who has for every year accepted and guided Gannon students in their professional development for over 20 years. The outstanding field experiences you consistently and creatively provide are tailored to the unique in abilities and interests of our students. Therefore, every students field experience at MHA has been unique.

Thank you, Ms. Wheeler for service to the Gannon Social Work Program and our students."

Receiving this award during National Volunteer Week gave it a special meaning. This awards signifies that an organization outside of the mental health system recognizes that the MHA walks the road of recovery with others.

Gannon Univ Award to Rita Wheeler

Gannon U Recognizes MHA with Outstanding Agency for Field Placements Award

Bill Grove, CEO of MHA, accepted the Award for Outstanding Agency for Field Placement from Dr. Lori Lindley, Associate Dean CHESS and Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter LSW, Associate Professor, Social Work Program at Gannon University.

The Gannon university Social Work Program hosted an appreciation lunch for their interns and field instructors on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter LSW comments:"Under your leadership, Bill, the MHA has strived and thrived in the service of individuals and families impacted by mental illnesses. Without an exceptional organizational, the MHA, we would not have the venue for Rita or the vibrant placements available to dozens of students over the years. The Gannon Social Work Program wanted to acknowledge the valuable resource, this community treasure, which you captain and pilot through changing economical, political, social conditions and budget cuts, as well as through new and exciting opportunities.

This (award) is to honor the MHA in recognition and appreciation for service to the Gannon Social Work Program and our students."

Gannon Univ Award to MHANP

A quick guide to some housing resources
for people experiencing homelessness

Warming Center at MHA

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. Click on Icon just above this column.

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.

Highlights Regional

Mental Health Awareness Scholarship

The law firm of DeLuca, Ricciuti & Konieczka will award a $1000 scholarship for college or technical school assistance, to someone who has struggled with mental health issues but has found a way to manage it and overcome those struggles. Deadline for application is August 1, 2016.

Eligibility ~

Application Form ~

Destigmatizing mental illness needs a national push, report says

July 13 2016

Easing the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse disorders needs a national effort. Article continues . . .

Treatment Court Graduation

Jun 30 2016 Erie, PA

The 31st Graduation of Erie County Treatment Court was held on Thursday, June 30, 2016. The graduation was held at the Erie County Court House in Erie, PA.

There were 10 graduates from the Treatment Program and one previous graduate received early release from probation.

Congratulations to all of those who have been involved with Erie County's Treatment Court for the past 15 years. We wish you continued success in helping others regain their good standing within the community.

Comments ~

National Recovery Month Sept 2016

Prevention works, treatment is effective, people can and do recover from mental and substance use disorders.

"Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!" is the theme for this year.

Post the save the dates to your calendar.
Save the Date ~
Completed Award Nomination forms are due Jul 27, 2016.
Award Nomination form ~
Completed table registrations are due Aug 31, 2016.
Table Registration form ~

2016 Pennsylvania Disability Employment & Empowerment Summit

Oct 17 to Oct 18 2016
Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, PA
Web Site
More Info
Detail Information

Governor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities Listening Forum

The Governor's Cabinet for People with Disabilities and the Governor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities (GAC) want to hear what issues are important to stakeholders. The GAC will hold a series of free listening forums to hear what subjects individuals with disabilities, their families, and caregivers want the GAC to discuss in the future. These listening forums will enable stakeholders to have their concerns and issues heard and presented to policy and decision makers in state government. The GAC provides information to the Governor's Cabinet, which consists of department secretaries and agency heads who advise the Governor on issues affecting Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

The first listening forum will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, June 21, 2016, in the Admiral Room of the Raymond M. Blasco, M. D. Memorial Library, 160 East Front St., Erie, PA 16507.

If you have any questions, or require an accommodation, please contact Lisa Anastasi at 717-787-2600 or Requests for accommodations must be received by June 14, 2016.

MHA Participates in Neighborhood Safety Initiative

May 27 2016, Erie PA

MHA is joining with other neighborhood nonprofits, businesses and the Erie Police to confront the growing problem of drug related activity and stigmatizing behaviors in our part of the downtown area. The advent of cheap but dangerous drugs, the faltering Erie economy and the concentration of vulnerable persons in our immediate vicinity has led to serious concerns for safety of businesses, citizenry, and the people we serve. The newly formed committee is looking at ways to dramatically improve neighborhood safety for the benefit of all. After only 3 meetings, interest and membership in the committee is growing and action has already begun. For us at MHA our greatest concern has been the victimization of members by drug dealers. MHA and our neighbors have now posted "No Loitering" signs and MHA is actively patrolling the perimeter of our building to enforce the postings. Police are stepping up their presence in the area as well and members are reporting suspicious activity. Through our efforts and those of our neighbors we are already seeing benefits and our members are reporting feeling more safe. The initiative is just beginning but MHA is pleased to be a part of making our neighborhood into one of the safest in the downtown area.

Consumers Sought Out to Work on Campaigns

May 28 2016, Erie PA

Thanks to outreach by Diana Ames, MHA's Community Engagement Coordinator, an increasing number of candidates for public office are contacting us for volunteers to assist in their campaigns. We are pleased to say that this includes opportunities from both major political parties.

MHA cannot and does not support any particular candidate for any office but we can offer the opportunity for consumer members to take an active role in campaigns on behalf of candidates they may favor. This represents a great way for consumers to become more aware of how our democracy works and about important policy issues that can impact their lives. Dozens of consumers have taken advantage of these opportunities and have become active in promoting voter registration and action amongst fellow consumers. MHA is pleased and proud that our members and mental health consumers in general, are developing a voting block.

Penn State: Workplace Experiences of Employees with Depression

May 12 2016 College Park, PA

Penn State invites you to participate in a study about the work experiences of employees with depression. This study aims to understand the work experiences of employees with depression. It involves a one-hour phone interview in which participants will be asked structured interview questions. Qualified participants will be given a $25 Target gift as compensation for their participation in the study.

To sign-up for the study, participants can register using this link: Introduction Survey by Aug 31, 2016.

Any questions about the study can be directed to Kayla Weaver at or 309-531-5175.

Boots On Ground Moves To Palace Building

Due to some mechanical problems at the Boots On Ground office space donated at the Renaissance Center site, Tom Kennedy and Altair have helped BOG locate an even better office space in the their Palace Centre Building. Despite having to make such a sudden move, BOG is very excited about this new space which seems ideally suited for the program. BOG Director, Venus Azevedo-Laboda, and her crew of volunteers have established themselves in the site and are very pleased. MHA and BOG are very appreciative of the help Mr. Kennedy and Altair have provided in making this transition which, like the Renaissance Center, is rent and utility free for a year so that BOG can concentrate on development of funding and programming.

The new address for BOG is:

  • Boots On Ground
  • Palace Centre
  • 913 State St., Suite 220-230
  • Erie, PA 16501
  • (814)878-2934

Shop Amazon Smile And Support Boots On Ground

Do you shop on Amazon? Now you can support Boots On Ground (BOG), the new MHA program supporting our veterans and families coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With every purchase you make on Amazon Smile, .5% of the sale will be donated by Amazon to MHA for this veteran peer based program. Click on the Amazon Smile post above and happy shopping.

For more information on Boots On Ground, click on the BOG logo on the left side of this home page. Our veterans with invisible wounds need us so they can help each other.

4 Used, Working Laptop Computer Donations Make A Difference, But More Needed

Thanks to the donors of four good used laptop computers for Second Chance Computers. This is enough to hold a small class for some lucky mental health consumers who will learn basic proficiency of use and then be able to take home the laptop on which they trained. Second Chance Computers is helping transform the lives of consumers on the wrong side of the digital divide. They are learning how to produce resumes, access the internet, use open source software and generally become a part of 21st century communication. Gaining these skills have helped them be more confident and engaged and has led to employment opportunities.

We still need more laptops . . . a lot! We have many names of individuals meeting basic criteria for Second Chance Computer classes but we are constantly having to wait for individuals, businesses and organizations to part with their outdated laptops that are gathering dust. Please give your used but working laptops a second life with a consumer who can become empowered by your donation. Call LuAnn at 452-4462 ext. 126 with any questions you may have about donating laptops.

Community Care, Erie County, Meeting Schedule

Community Care, a nonprofit managed care organization, announces the schedule for the upcomming advisory meetings.

Meetings for Community Care Adult Members:
Adult Members Meetings ~

Meetings for Families of Members:
Family Meetings ~

Western Region CSP
Schedule for 2016

The Community Support Program (CSP) of Pennsylvania is a coalition of mental health consumers, family members and professionals working to help adults with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders live successfully in the community.

Meeting Information ~

MHANP routinely attends these meetings and all members are encouraged to participate. The exact time and date is listed monthly in our Schedule of Activities.

Schedule of Activities ~