Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

Jeremy Berquist adds two poems to our 'Creations' gallery

Jeremy Berquist shares his journey to recovery with two poems recently added to our Creations Art Gallery. Thank you, Jeremy.

On Traveling Forward In Time
From the Darkness

MHA Consumers Invited To Meet Governor Wolf

MHA consumers Scott Clark and Charles Gauley, along with CEC, Diana Ames and MHA CEO Bill Grove, were given an exclusive opportunity to meet Governor Tom Wolf following the Governor’s speech at a Jefferson Society event held Nov. 1st at Collegiate Academy in Erie. The Governor expressed his thanks to MHA for helping focus public attention on the impact of the state budget impasse. The MHA group highlighted the need for addressing past cuts to human service funding and creating meaningful work opportunities for consumers.MHA Staff and Members meet with Governor Wolf

MHA Gets Out The Vote

On Election Day MHA helped make sure its members who are registered voters made it to the polls. Community Engagement Coordinator, Diana Ames, worked with other vested community organizations in providing transportation to and from polling places in the Erie area. MHA encourages its members to become registered voters and to vote regularly as part of our effort to help consumers become more engaged in issues important to their wellbeing. Throughout the past year consumers have been meeting with elected officials to both learn about the officials’ views on matters of interest to consumers and to share their insights regarding mental health, housing, poverty, employment and transportation.

Connecting Hands Huge Sale Huge Success For Warming Center At MHA

Big thanks to all the volunteers of Connecting Hands for honoring the Warming Center at MHA as recipient of their HUGE SALE fundraising event Nov. 13 & 14. They raised $6,000 selling a variety of household, toys, books, jewelry, and seasonal items donated from throughout the Erie community. It was a great event with loads of shoppers picking up some great bargains. MHA volunteers were on hand to be of assistance but the gracious, well organized and just fun Connecting Hands volunteers had the event under control, making it special for all in attendance.

If you came out for the sale and made a purchase, we thank you. If you donated items for the sale, we thank you. But most of all we offer our sincere gratitude to the dedicated Connecting Hands volunteers for allowing MHA to be a part of their sense of mission in helping area nonprofits make a difference.

Community Engagement Coordinator Position
Created At MHA

MHA has a new position. Last year we created a position within the Center Team hours for a part-time staff person to provide opportunities for members to become more active in community events and issues. That position has proven successful to the degree that we have established it as an independent program open to any mental health consumer volunteer who is interested in empowerment and meets criteria. Currently held by Diana Ames, the Community Engagement Coordinator (CEC) helps consumers identify issues important to them and their peers in local, state, or national arenas. She then helps them plan and implement empowerment activities to address those needs. Members participating on the CEC team have met with a variety of policymakers around such issues as stigma, housing, the budget impasse, transportation, and employment. They have helped organize, and have participated in, area rallies to draw attention to important issues. Some have been interviewed by the media to talk about the impact of policy decisions and opportunities in their lives.

Consumers 18 yrs. of age and older interested in volunteering on the CEC Team can contact Rita Wheeler, Program/Volunteer Coordinator at 452-4462 x103 for a volunteer application.

Wattsburg Elementary Student Makes MHA Proud

Grant Fromknecht's recent warm sock drive for The Warming Center at MHA was inspired by Kid President's video "Socktober" on YouTube (Check it out!).  Grant's teacher at Wattsburg Elementary, Mrs. Woodfield, introduced her class to Kid President this year.  Kid President encourages kids to use the Internet for good and to BE AWESOME!  He set a goal of motivating 2 million people to participate even if it is just donating a pair of socks.  Grant decided to take up Kid President’s challenge.

Mrs. Woodfield's and Grant's enthusiasm for this project spread from her class to the entire 3rd grade at Wattsburg Elementary.  Grant made a flyer and together they set a goal of collecting 150 pairs of socks... and surpassed that by collecting 222 pairs of socks for The Warming Center at MHA in just 2 weeks! Good going Grant.

Our thanks go out to Grant, Mrs. Woodfield and all those at Wattsburg Elemenary School who responded to the call for socks. The Warming Center will use all 222 pairs this winter because when you are without shelter and don’t have footwear that protects your feet, socks become soggy, freezing ice balls that threaten not only the health of your feet but of your whole body. Yep, a clean, warm pair of socks can mean a whole lot more than simple comfort, especially when the temperature is well below freezing.

Shop At "Connecting Hands" And Support The Warming Center At MHA

MHA is thrilled that Connecting Hands has selected the Warming Center at MHA to receive proceeds from its Christmas Wonderland Sale Friday, November 13th from 3 PM to 7 PM and Saturday, November 14th from 9 AM to 2 PM at the Connecto Electric building, 3716 McClelland Street in Erie. Donated household, furnishings, linens, toys and jewelry in very good to excellent condition will be available for shoppers at great prices and it’s all indoors. Items with an autumn and holiday theme will be showcased. Curious? . . . take a look on Facebook at Connecting Hands of Erie and you can get a preview of what you can expect at the sale.

You can participate in this great event in any or all of 3 important ways:

  1. Drop off good used items matching the above categories on Mondays from 9 AM to 2 PM at the sale site. If you have a large item to donate, call Pam at 323-3396 or Lil at 833-3753 or 572-5953 to arrange pick-up. (please, no clothing, electronics, sofa beds, or exercise equip.)
  2. SHOP!!
  3. Bring a donation of new socks, gloves, scarves, gloves, and/or toiletries and drop them in the donation box for distribution to guests of the Warming Center at MHA.

This event is the best attended of the periodic sales sponsored by Connecting Hands annually; so plan to get there early to get the best selection, and shop knowing you are helping make sure no one is left out in the cold on Erie’s most bitter nights this winter.

Winter Is Coming And The Warming Center At MHA
Needs Your Help

Overnight temperatures are starting to drop with frost in the forecast. When the temperatures get to 25 degrees or below, we will begin our 8th season of the Warming Center at MHA. Some are predicting another bitterly cold winter. Others are calling for a mild winter. Whatever the case, we need to be prepared to make sure anyone without shelter will have a warm, safe, welcoming place to escape the ravages of the cold.

As in prior years, we need the help of the Erie community to provide the financial support to keep the doors of the Warming Center at MHA open from 11pm to 7:30am on our coldest nights. We continue to staff the Center with trained personnel, most of who are diagnosed with mental health needs and have firsthand knowledge of the rigors of homelessness. We will also continue to offer food, hot beverages, clothing, hygiene products, a shower and a place to rest for anyone in need. We will keep offering a kind word of support, information and service referral to our guests. We will do all these things and more thanks to the ongoing generosity of our donors of funds and wish list items.

If you are already a donor to the Warming Center at MHA, thanks again and please keep us in your charitable giving plans. If you haven’t donated before, please consider us by clicking on the Warming Center at MHA page and then click on the donation button or review the wish list.

Cobb's Second Time Around Thrift Shop
Joining Warming Center At Mha Fundraising Partners

MHA is proud to welcome Cobb's Second Time Around Thrift Shop, 1215 Parade Street in Erie as a new fundraising partner for the Warming Center at MHA. They have already started offering their customers an opportunity to win a $50 gift card with either the purchase of $1 chances or by donating clothing or Warming Center wish list items. Cobb's has copies of the Warming Center at MHA wish list posted in the store or you can find it on our website

Stop by Cobb's anytime during their regular business hours Monday through Saturday 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Pick up some bargains, drop off some good used clothes or wish list items, and purchase some chances for the gift card. They have set an initial goal of $500. Help them be this year's first Warming Night sponsor. Your generosity will make sure no one needs to be left out in the cold when overnight temperatures drop to 25 degrees or below.

Thanks to Amy Cobb, Brenda Gallogly and all the staff at Cobb's for their efforts to support the Warming Center at MHA.

Cobb Store

Next Budget Impasse Rally Scheduled

Community stakeholders concerned about the prolonged state budget impasse met this week to discuss plans for another rally to protest the lack of progress toward resolution of the impasse. Because the impasse means that state funds are not flowing to our communities, programs in education, human services, elder care, daycare, nursing homes, housing initiatives, student grants/loans, mental health, the arts, domestic violence, disabilities, homeless, children's services, food distribution and others are either in significant financial distress or facing financial crisis soon. People are being laid off or working without pay, bills of individuals and state supported programs are going unpaid, services are being cut back, loans are being signed that will cost taxpayer dollars to pay off interest, schools may close.


  • You use a service funded by state dollars
  • You are a provider of a service supported by state funds
  • You are a student with state funded loans and grants
  • You are a parent of a child in public schools
  • You are a parent using subsidized day care
  • You are a teacher
  • You run a business that provides services or products to state subsidized programs
  • You are and advocate for persons with special needs or people living in poverty
  • You believe the state has an obligation to pass a budget in a timely manner
  • You believe the budget over the last 4 years has been inadequate to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians
  • You believe education of our children and providing a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens is more important than petty politics

If you fit into just one of these categories, this rally is for you and we need you to join us at noon on Thurs., October 1st in Perry Square to let our elected state officials know that we want action to negotiate and pass a budget that adequately and sustainably funds our schools and the safety net. PLEASE BE THERE.

2 MHA Programs Closed Wed 9/30

The Consumer Recovery Center and the Consumer/Family Satisfaction Team Offices will be closed on Wed. September 30th for staff training. Both programs will re-open on Thursday. Please bear with us as we make sure our staff become more knowledgeable and effective in addressing the needs of persons with mental health needs. All other MHA programs and offices will be operating on the 30th.

MHANP Annual Report
for 2013 - 2014 released

Our Annual Report for 2013 - 2014 has been made available.

Annual Report 2014 ~

A quick guide to some housing resources
for people experiencing homelessness

Warming Center at MHA . . .[details]

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
814.528.0600. . .[details]

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
814.456.5670. . .[details]

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
814.459.5765. . .[details]

The over-flow shelter location rotates through the community. Call to find the location and times it is open.

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

Second Chance Computers Desperate For Laptops

The Second Chance Computer project at MHA, a program to connect computers and mental health consumers with very limited or no computer experience with basic computer skills and a laptop computer, has run out of good used laptops. Until we replenish our laptop supply, over 50 eligible persons will remain on an ever growing waiting list.

Graduates of Second Chance Computers have found their lives transformed by gaining computer skills and access. They have been able to establish social networks, connect with recovery resources, and find jobs in the community because they can grab their laptop and get to a wi-fi site where they can now communicate effectively.

We need your help. We certainly need individual donations of good working laptops that are no longer in use. We also know there are closets and storage rooms throughout the community where stockpiles of laptops that have outlived their usefulness for businesses and companies languish. MHA can use those laptops. If you work for a company that has such a cache of laptops or know of a company we might contact, please contact us. Call LuAnn at 452-4462 x126. Being unable to use a computer in the 21st century is a huge barrier in anyone’s future.

September is National Recovery Month

The 2015 Recovery Month theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable", highlights the value of peer support by educating, mentoring and helping others. The theme invites individuals in recovery and their support systems to be catalysts and active change-agents in communities, and in civic and advocacy engagements. It encourages individuals to start conversations about the prevention, treatment and recovery of behavioral health conditions at earlier stages of life. (from

Compassionate Actions Project (CAP)
Food Pantry

Compassionate Actions Project Food Pantry at the Mental Health Association opened July 22, 2014. Since we opened we have offered a healthful selection of foods to approximately 40 to 50 MHA members each month. Simple and tasty recipes and free literature are also offered at the CAP Food Pantry!

Photo of food distribution tables

We appreciate the kind and caring people who volunteer their time to make the CAP Food Pantry at MHA possible. Thank-you to all the wonderful people that help keep the food pantry running smoothly each month!

Our food pantry's non-refrigerated foods are carefully selected each month. In keeping within our organization's mission we appreciate only plant based food donations - please see the CAP website for foods that we offer.

On the food pantry day (usually the 4th Tuesday of the month), we ask that you please consider donating fresh produce! Fresh vegetables and fruits are always appreciated if donated before 12:30 PM on the day we distribute food.

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 2015

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 ~

MH Advance Directive

Mental Health Advance Directive is available online.