Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

ITE iconCongratulations to Our Second Class of Graduates of the Second Chance Computer Program

MHA is pleased to announce that on Monday, August 25, 7more mental health consumers graduated from the Second Chance Computer Program. Congratulations to John Wilson, Michael Wardell, Adrienne Preiosi, Joni Mary, Charles Gauley. Not Pictured: Robert Steele, Gail Cash-McGuire. Instructor: Carlos Northington.

For more information on the Second Chance Computer Program, select the left side menu item or contact LuAnn Gossett at 814-452-4462 x126.

Summary & Photos ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconJodi Wilson-Moore Appointed to fill Position of External Advocate at Warren State Hospital

MHA is pleased to announce that Jodi Wilson-Moore has accepted to return to the External Advocate role at Warren State Hospital. Ms. Wilson-Moore will be assuming the EA duties effective Sept. 15th. She had previously been a part-time EA at Warren prior to converting the role to fulltime status in January of this year. Besides her Warren State Hospital experience, Ms. Wilson-Moore brings with her many years of effective advocacy with children in Warren and Forest Counties.

As we are welcoming Ms. Wilson-Moore back we are also wishing Dave Taylor, departing EA, best wishes in his future endeavors and gratitude for his advocacy efforts on behalf of mental health consumers in treatment at Warren State Hospital. While Dave will be missed we are sure we have a very competent successor who will provide continuity in advocacy at WSH.


Thank you to the 34 donors who supported the Warming Center at MHA on Erie Gives Day on Aug. 12th. With their generous contributions and the prorated match from the Erie Community Foundation, GE Transportation, Erie Insurance Exchange and Presque Isle Downs and Casino, a total of $2,249 was raised in this year’s campaign. This total represents a new record for Erie Gives donations for MHA.

Last winter’s brutal weather took quite a toll on our resources to support the Warming Center at MHA and we are still working hard to recover so that we can be ready for what is predicted to be another cold winter ahead. The Erie Gives effort helps us get closer to being financially prepared but we still have a ways to go. So, please keep the Warming Center in mind as you consider any Fall philanthropic plans.

Thanks again to all those who gave on Erie Gives Day. Thanks and congratulations to Rita Wheeler for her efforts and leadership with this year’s Erie Gives Day planning and to LuAnn Gossett, Danielle DiFilippo, and Pat Stucke for their work on the Warming Center at MHA donation request video.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMaking The Consumer Recovery Center "Safe And Comfortable" For All

This essay by Bill Grove, CEO, describes our commitment to being available and accepting of consumers from all walks of life and behavior, and providing them a peaceful and controlled environment.

Essay ~

Walk for a Healthy Community iconA Very Successful Year for MHA at the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Thanks to all who registered and donated for MHA in this year's Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community on June 7th. What a great day. The sun was out; the breeze was cool; the cottonwoods were calm and the company was inspiring.

MHA was one of the top organizations this year both in registrants and funds raised. We had over 150 walkers registered and brought in over $13,000. Our walkers looked great in the MHA yellow and purple walk T-shirts we provided for each of them.

As all our contributors know, the funds from this and other fundraising efforts this year have gone toward supporting the Warming Center at MHA. We opened 91 night this past winter . . . a new record (previous record was 57!). The Walk donations will go a long way toward restoring our funds so we can be prepared if there is another such harsh winter upcoming.

Special thanks go out to LuAnn Gossett, MHA's Admin. Assistant/HR Manager who has been our Walk coordinator for many years. Her ongoing efforts were rewarded in dramatic fashion this year.

So, thank you all again and enjoy your summer.

ITE iconI'm the Evidence Awards presented at Annual Celebration

Every May (Mental Health Month) the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pa. honors Mental Health Consumers who have been nominated from the community as exemplary of mental health recovery. At a ceremony at MHA on May 14th, four consumers who were selected from this year's nominations were presented with the award.

Congratulations go to Emily Burkhart, nominated by Emily Czerpac from NAMI of Erie Co.; Patrick Mort, nominated by LuAnn Gossett from MHA; and Susan Dietz, also nominated by Emily Czerpac of NAMI of Erie Co.

Each of these individuals has made great strides in taking control in their lives and pursuing a life of fulfillment. Best wishes to them all. A reception was held for the honorees immediately following the ceremony.

Event Photos ~

I'm The Evidence Poem


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

Join us! Be part of the Campaign. Learn more or get involved at

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconPOSITIONS
Positions Available at MHA

Certified Peer Specialist
(Associate 1 - As Needed)

Two positions will be filled as soon as possible in the Peer Support Program at the Mental Health Association. Applicant must have successfully completed Certified Peer Specialist training recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These are part-time as needed positions, normally working 15-28 hours per week. The person filling this position will provide fee for service peer support to adult mental health consumers, meeting medical necessity requirements, who are residing in Erie County. There will be evening and weekend hours. The applicant must have good time management skills and be able to work independently. Also must have an understanding of recovery principles related to the needs of mental health consumers. Knowledgeable of the concepts of a consumer run/consumer driven organization is required. Self-identify as a person who has or currently is experiencing homelessness or near homelessness is a plus as is the completion of Wellness Recovery Action Plan group facilitator training.


  • Act 33/34 and Act 151 clearance
  • Negative pre-employment drug screening
  • Certified Peer Specialist
  • High School or General Education Diploma
  • Computer skills working with Word, Outlook, and Excel
  • Record keeping skills, ability to write clearly
  • Proven ability to work as a member of a team
  • Ability to manage own work schedule, set own appointments
  • Ability to follow written and verbal directions
  • Proven ability to advocate on behalf of self and others
  • Knowledge of Recovery Principles related to mental health
  • Knowledge of consumer rights as they impact mental health
  • Knowledge of publicly funded mental health and addiction disease services in Erie County
  • Knowledge of natural supports in the community
  • Knowledge of the Mission of Community Care Behavioral Health
  • Knowledge of the Mission, Vision and Values of the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania
  • Have access to transportation

Specific Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Work one-on-one and in groups with peers who want assistance in meeting their recovery goals, including development of Wellness Recovery Action Plans or other recovery tools.
  • Assist peers locating/ utilizing natural supports.
  • Assist peers in navigating the physical/mental health systems; provide advocacy and referrals as needed with other services and supports including involvement in the community and the MHA Consumer Center.
  • Assist peers in a hands-on way with life skills including but not limited to problem solving, budgeting, hygiene, housekeeping, relationship/social skills, employment skills, credit rebuilding, and communication skills.
  • Work closely with the Blended Case Managers and other supports.
  • As assigned, represent Team and MHA at forums/meetings related to mental health.
  • Participate in pertinent training opportunities.
  • Complete all necessary paperwork and reports in regards to the peer he/she is providing support.
  • Maintain standards of confidentiality.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands here 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 the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the staff is regularly required to stand, sit, talk, and hear (hearing aid permitted). Specific vision abilities required by the job include peripheral and distance vision. The staff is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms and use legs to lift up to 50 pounds.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those a staff encounters while performing the essential functions of the job.

Submit a cover letter, completed Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pennsylvania employment application, and if available, a resume, by September 3, 2014 to: Dave Wooledge, Peer Support Team Leader, MHA, 1101 Peach Street, Erie, PA 16501


Peer Support Program at MHANP

We are pleased to offer Peer Support as a free-standing consumer run program here at MHANP. Formal Peer Support is complimentary to traditional mental health treatment......complete article

~ Referral Form ~

~ Service Description ~

The Positive Experience of Peer Support

Kate Bender has many years of experience in the Peer Support program. In this thoughtful essay, Kate describes the value of peer support using an example of life experience.

~ Complete 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

Anna Almendraia PhotoA Blood Test For Depression Shows The Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will

Anna Almendraia writing in the Huffington Post, describes the potential impact of this recent medical discovery.

Complete Article ~

National Recovery Month IconNational Recovery Month will be celebrated September 16, 2014

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

Recovery Celebration - 11th year
Tuesday September 16, 2014
Hosted by Martin Luther King Center 312 Chestnut Street, Erie, PA 16507

The Recovery Celebration (11th year for Erie, PA) celebrates the recovery of people from mental and substance use disorders. The focus of the celebration is on people sharing their recovery stories to inspire others, give encouragement and hope to others.

Participants are asked to sign a Recovery Pledge and a Suicide Prevention Pledge Card. The event includes: proclamations, awards, and information about local resources, giveaways, refreshments, networking and fellowship. The event is free and open to the public.

Speaker/Recovery Dance - 11th year
Friday September 19, 2014
Hosted by Mental Health Association, 1101 Peach Street, 2nd Floor, Erie, PA 16501

The focus is on sharing a recovery lead and having fun with others in a safe environment. The event includes signing pledges, giveaways, music, refreshments and fellowship. There is a small fee to attend the dance.

provided at MHANP

Make It A Home Always (MIHA) is a HUD funded Supported Housing Program to help secure housing for individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illness, may also have a substance use history and/or been in the criminal justice system .

Program Information ~

Charles GauleyMake It a Home Always Congratulates its First Success

Congratulations to Charles Gauley who reached financial and residential self-sufficiency and was able to graduate from the MIHA program this summer. Chuck was homeless and had few resources prior to being accepted into the MIHA program. His history with mental health, substance use, and criminal justice had reduced his potential for housing success. He was able to take full advantage of the support offered by MIHA to establish a residence, link with support and treatment services and develop an income source. He is now living his life independent of the MIHA program but remains an active and valued member of the MHA Recovery Center where he participates in a variety of activities that promote recovery and mental health consumer empowerment.

Clifton McNair, staff member at Make It A Home Always with Charles Gauley

Clifton McNair, MIHA with Charles Gauley

PA Office of Vocational RehabilitationJob Fair hosted by PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

OVR is hosting a job fair for their present customers, who are ready to get back to work. If you are currently an active client of OVR, check out this important opportunity.

Information Flyer ~

9 Things Only People With Depression Can Truly Understand

Lindsay Holmes, writing in the Huffington Post, addresses depression in an article dated 8/26/2014.

There's been a lot of dialogue surrounding depression , particularly in light of recent events, as people struggle to understand why and how it affects people in the ways that it does. And for the 350 million people worldwide with the condition, it can be just as hard to articulate its effects as it is to understand it.

Depression can make people feel like their minds have completely rebelled against them. From a lack of will to physical pain, it can cause people to function poorly at work, in school and in social activities.

Complete Article ~

Vets Crisis Line LogoVeteran Photography Campaign
The Images of Strength

The Images of Strength Photography Campaign was developed to help promote Suicide Prevention Month and the Veterans Crisis Line.

This Suicide Prevention Month, help raise awareness of the Veterans Crisis Line through the Images of Strength campaign. The goal? Showcase photography of Veteran strength and support in America that will inspire individuals, families, and organizations to connect with Veterans in their community.

Information ~

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.