Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

Dove of Peace IconMemorial Service
Wed. June 24th

This Wedneday, June 24th, the Consumer Recovery Center at MHA will be closed. At 1:00 pm we will be holding a Memorial Service for a recently deceased staff member, Pat Mort. The service will take place on the 2nd floor of the MHA. Staff, consumer members, family, and friends from the community are invited to join us for this celebration of Pat's life.

The Consumer Center will resume regular operations on Thursday June 25th.

I' The Evidence Campaign IconFifth Annual “I'm The Evidence” Celebration
Honors Three MH Consumers' Recovery

On May 13th , 2015 three mental health consumers received I'm the Evidence Awards at a ceremony held at the Mental Health Association of Northwestern Pa. Selected from a field of seven nominees, Katie Schaaf, Eve Shreve, and Tanya DeSantis were selected to receive this year's honors which recognize persons with mental illness who exemplify commitment to recovery and pursuit of a self-determined life of meaning in the community. MHA congratulates these three individuals each of whose recovery stories are an inspiration to fellow mental health consumers and anyone facing adversity in their lives.

At the ITE ceremony, nominees who were not chosen for the award, Scott Clark, Valerie Perkins, Rhonda Gullifer, and Linnea Pickard, received certificates recognizing their accomplishments in recovery. Emily Burkhart, a 2014 ITE Award winner, read the I'm the Evidence Poem and assisted Bill Grove, MHA CEO in presenting the awards to the winners. A reception was held on the second floor at MHA following the ceremony.

Award Recipients ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconErie Downtown Partnership
Helps Keep MHA Member Bikes Safe

Thanks to the Erie Downtown Partnership, MHA members and guests who get around town on bicycles now have more places to keep their bikes safe while at MHA. Two new bike stands have been installed by partnership staff; one on the Peach street side of our building and the other on the 11th street side. We are proud to say many of our members are a bit healthier and help keep our environment cleaner by traveling to and from MHA on bicycles and we very much appreciate the new stands which help make sure 4 more bikes can be accommodated around our building.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA CEO Presents
At AFL-CIO Event

Bill Grove, MHA CEO, was a guest speaker at the 49thAnnual Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO Dinner held May 9th at the Polish Falcons Club in Erie. Along with representatives from the Emmaus Food Kitchen and Second Harvest Food Bank, Mr. Grove took a turn to talk about the Warming Center at MHA and how it benefited from the generosity of the Employee Community Services Fund of General Electric. This fund was the honoree of the evening's celebration of the benevolence of organized labor in our community. The event was attended by many union members, public officials, and candidates for office. MHA is pleased to have been a part of recognizing Rob Celeski and the board of the GE Employees Community Services Fund on its 66th year of helping make Erie a better place for all its citizens.

MHA Needs Your Support At The 10th Annual Highmark Walk For A Healthy Community

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

The 2015 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community will be coming up on Saturday June 6th. Hopefully it will be another beautiful, warm day as hundreds of supporters of this year's 27 participating organizations walk along the woods and beaches of Presque Isle. MHA is pleased to have the honor of being one of the participating Walk organizations. We, and many of you, have walked and donated on behalf of the Warming Center at MHA for some or all of the 10 years Highmark has sponsored this event in Erie and we appreciate the support.

This year we are striving for a Walk goal of raising a minimum of $5,000. Highmark covers all the costs of organizing and operating the Walk for a Healthy Community so that we can keep every donated dollar for MHA programs. The Warming Center at MHA costs $500 each night we open when overnight winter temperatures are forecast to drop to 25 degrees or below. This mental health consumer driven/run program is funded primarily by donations and grants. Your Walk donation helps insure that this program will be available to anyone who is without safe warm shelter and needs a light meal, a warm beverage and some conversation and support on these cold winter nights.

Thank you in advance for registering to walk for MHA, donating to support the Warming Center at MHA and just for being an important part of our effort to promote "Choice, Responsibility, and Dignity with Respect" for mental health consumers in northwestern Pa.

To register for the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community, simply click below:

Registration Button

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA To Host
Neighborhood Open House Week

The MHA is inviting all its friends and neighbors in the four blocks surrounding our facility at 1101 Peach St. to call and make an appointment to visit us during our Neighborhood Open House Week, May 18-22, 2015. Participants will get a packet of information about services at the MHA, have an information/Q&A meeting with a senior staff member and take a tour of our building. We know our neighbors are all busy so we pledge to keep the experience to a half hour. For many in our neighborhood their exposure to MHA has been only what they see happening around the exterior of the building which, at times can be disconcerting as we do see, and try to assist some individuals with serious behavior problems. What they don't get to see is what is happening inside the MHA where literally hundreds of mental health consumers annually are working on maintaining themselves in our community or actively pursuing recovery from mental illness using peer driven/run programming.

We hope to have a busy Neighborhood Open House Week. If you are one of our neighbors or are an interested friend, please call Bill at 452-4462 x100 to schedule a time to visit. Not available May 18-22? That's OK. You are welcome to call anytime and we will make arrangements to meet. The staff and consumers at MHA are proud of what we all do to make this organization a meaningful experience for anyone with mental health needs.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHANP Annual Report
for 2013 - 2014 released

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

Annual Report 2014 ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA Recieves Grant
To Address Stigma

The Non-Profit Partnership (NPP) awarded a Capacity Building Grant to assist MHA in promoting a more positive image of mental health consumers to the public. MHA will use this $5,000 grant to collect a variety of recovery stories from local mental health consumers and then identify low or no cost ways of getting those stories before the public. Video, print and oral presentations will be gathered.

This is an exciting opportunity for MHA and we already have several consumers who are preparing to help gather the stories and another group interested in telling their stories. Be looking for our media campaign in 2015.

Thanks NPP for the financial support.

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.

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

Erie County and Mental Health Recovery

I was privileged to attend a METAmersion , A Learning-Centered Experience in Recovery event in Phoenix, AZ a number of years ago at Recovery Innovations, Inc. I came away very hopeful for finding a way that people can get the help they need on a clinical basis (The Livingroom) and also find a way out of the revolving door which can be clinical services.

I was delighted at the prospect of a person coming out of a quasi-clinical setting with a Peer Support component and going into a Community Living program (RESTART) 7-10 day stay. The next step was a referral to an educational experience (Recovery Education Center). It seemed logical to me that this was the next step in recovery. It had also been my experience in recovery when I attended 3 ½ years of a trauma group which was a series of new information about recovery, healthy relationships and wellness. At Recovery Innovations the Recovery Education Center is a large part of the transition of a person from crisis to hopefulness.

The next phase of the recovery path is training as a Peer Support Specialist under Peer Employment Training. This brings people full circle from problem to solution; from being the one in need to being the one supporting others in need.

Here in Erie County we have not yet embraced the recovery concept in its fullness. We still see Certified Peer Specialists as an extension of the clinical services and have not yet made a recovery systems change. In order to be a recovery culture here in Erie County, we need to have the full expectation for others to have significant recovery and possibly go on to become supporters of others who are newly experiencing a mental health diagnosis. The focus of our expectation for recovery needs to be one of community integration and a person moving into a position of sponsorship or mentoring for others. For our mental health system to actually effect lasting change in people's lives we have to find the way (as Recovery Innovations did) of truly helping people to experience significant recovery through support, education and empowerment to, in turn, help others and themselves.

Submitted by
Kate Bender, B.A.,M.F.A.,CPS,CRS
Jun 14, 2015

National Recovery MonthSeptember 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

Award Nomination ~
Save the Date ~
Table Registration ~

Candidates Forum Held At MHA

On Thursday, April 16, NW PA Pride Alliance Inc and the MHA jointly held a candidate forum at MHA's office, 1101 Peach St, Erie PA attended by over 30 individuals. The forum addressed both LGBT and mental health related issues. Candidates attending included Elvage Murphy for Erie County Court of Common Pleas, John Morgan for Millcreek Supervisor, and Nathaniel Strasser for Magistrate, 5th Ward, as well as Erie City Council candidates Sonya Arrington, Gary Grack, Bob Merski, Rebecca Styn, Richard Wagner, and Jon Whaley. Trish Catalano, candidate for Erie County Council District 5, also attended. Attendees had the opportunity to hear the candidates' views in a panel format and there was time before and after the formal presentation for individual questions and socializing. Thanks go out to Diana Ames for coordinating, Kelly Kidd for moderating, Matthew Robison for taking photos, Season Crannell, Rita Wheeler, LuAnn Gossett, Bill Grove, Lenny Ginnery and Michael Mooney for support.

Compassionate Action Project IconCompassionate 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.

Spirituality & Mental Health Recovery Conference

The 13th Annual Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Conference will be held May 6, 2015 at the Masonic Temple, 32 West 8th St, Erie, PA. Registration is at 10:00AM. For more information, contact LuAnn Gossett at 814.452.4462 X 126. Registrations can be made using the enclosed form.

Registration and Information ~

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 ~

The Community Support Program (CSP) of PennsylvaniaWestern 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.