Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
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Highlights Local

Second Chance Computers LogoSecond Chance Computer Program
On Hold For Lack Of
Good Used Laptops

The highly successful Second Chance Computer Program at MHA that provides training for mental health consumers who are not computer literate and whose graduates get to keep the working order, donated used laptop computers on which they train, has come to a grinding halt. Why? We have run out of our supply of donated laptops.

We are in urgent need and we know there are individuals and businesses out there that have laptops that are fully functional but have outlived their use in a rapidly changing technological environment. These computers are exactly what MHA and recovering mental health consumers need to join the 21st century world of communication and opportunity.

Please! If you or your place of employment have these laptops gathering dust, clean out the hard drives and contact MHA. We can use them to open minds and decrease the barriers facing those mental health consumers who have been left behind in the digital divide.

CrossMemorial Service was held
Tuesday Dec 16, 2014

✝ We Remember ✝

A Memorial Service was held on Tuesday December 16, 2014 at the Mental Health Association 1101 Peach St. Erie PA. We remembered and celebrated the lives of ten people who have passed on. Reverend Rhodes, a charismatic and compassionate minister led us in prayer. Ms. Anoia and Ms. Gloria led us in song and dance. As the names were recited the group played an African rhythm on drums and shakers. Everyone stayed and shared a light meal and conversation.

Bob Evans Restaurant LogoBob Evans' Restaurant Makes Sure
MHA Consumer Center Members
Have A Thanksgiving Meal

Thanks go out to Bob Evans' Harborcreek restaurant for donating Thanksgiving Meals to MHA. We held the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at MHA Wed. 11/26 and with the help of Bob Evans’ we had plenty of turkey with all the fixings including pumpkin pie for dessert. What a treat! We served 120 meals.

We certainly remember the management and staff at Bob Evans' as we count our blessings this holiday season.

warming center at mhaGeneral Electric Employees Honor
the Warming Center at MHA With an Outstanding Gift

WE ARE SPEECHLESS! A few weeks ago one of our MHA staff members was talking with a representative of the GE Employees Community Service Fund about the urgent need for financial support for the Warming Center at MHA in the face of another bitter winter. Turns out this GE representative, Rob Celeski, is only too aware of the needs of people in Erie who are without overnight shelter in Erie because he has been a volunteer in a sister program, Our Neighbors Place Overflow Shelter. Following a phone conversation between Mr. Celeski and MHA CEO, Bill Grove detailing the financial plight of the Warming Center at MHA, Mr. Celeski expressed an interest in championing a request for funding through the GE Employees Community Seervice Fund. MHA was invited to meet with the Fund Board two weeks later. MHA Operations Manager, Pat Stucke, Center Team Leader, Carla Kurpiewski, and Center Team Member, Diana Ames attended, providing information and answering questions about the Warming Center at MHA. Three hours later Mr. Grove received a phone call from Mr. Celeski saying the board had decided to award us a donation and he would be coming by that same day.

HE PRESENTED MHA WITH A CHECK FOR $20,000. We are still in shock. This donation will provide us with the security to feel much more confident that we will be able to meet our commitment to shelterless individuals and the general community to open our doors from 11 pm to 7 am any night there is a forecast of 25 degrees or below this winter. We could not be more grateful. This donation in combination with the many other contributions by individuals, families, and businesses in Erie is not only ensuring the availability of the Warming Center this year, but is now helping us be build the funding we will need to be much better prepared next Fall.

20,000 thanks to the generous employees at General Electric.

warming center at mha Safe Harbor Behavioral Health Supports the Warming Center at the MHA

We are grateful for the clothing drives that the employees at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health held for the Warming Center at the MHA earlier in November. One of the therapists, Erin Adams, spearheaded this effort. We received over 30 bags of winter clothing and $300 in donations! We are thankful for this generous donation from all of the employees at Safe Harbor. Through their kindness and compassion, many will be able to stay safe and warm during this winter. We are very appreciative to have such great community support.

Xmas Dinner at mhaChristmas Dinner
at the Consumer Center

Christmas Dinner at the Consumer Recovery Center will be served Tues. Dec. 23 at 1:00 PM. All Center Members are invited. We are in need of gift items so members will be able to participate in a Chinese Auction as part of the celebration. If you have items to donate just bring them to Consumer Recovery Center on the 1st floor at MHA.


Warming Center at MHA iconYou May Have Noticed …

The Warming Center at MHA was open every night the week of Nov 17th. This is the first November in the 7 years we have been operating the Center that we have had 5 openings.

Mercyhurst UniversityMercyhurst University to help
Warming Center at MHA with proceeds from the "Snowtown Throwdown"

At a press conference at the Erie Insurance Arena this Tuesday 10/28, the Mercyhurst University Athletic Department announced a spectacular men’s hockey event scheduled for Jan. 2 and 3, 2015. The Snowtown Throwdown will pit the champion Mercyhurst Lakers against Ohio State, a Division 1 powerhouse, in two games. This promises to be a hockey event like no other and will attract fans from across the region to fill the seats of the Erie Insurance Arena.

Thanks to outreach from our MHA Board President, Missi Berquist, who asked her colleagues at Mercyhurst University if there was some way they could help with our critical financial shortage in Warming Center at MHA funds, they immediately drew a link between this event and helping persons without shelter on Erie's coldest nights. The result was that Mercyhurst University will use this event to help raise funds to make sure the doors of The Warming Center at MHA will open again this year every night temperatures are forecast at 25 degrees or below. MHA CEO, Bill Grove, was invited to attend Tuesday’s press conference and expressed our appreciation for this opportunity and for the support and compassion of the Mercyhurst University community. He spent some time talking with Head Coach, Rick Gotkin and some of the team members, all of whom expressed a sincere commitment to the Warming Center at MHA and the need to make sure anyone in need has a safe, warm place to be on bitter winter nights.

Thank you Mercyhurst University and all its staff who are making this event possible and who recognized its value as a source of community support. I hope hockey fans throughout the tri-state area will join us for what promises to be an exciting start to the new year.

Bob Evans Restaurant LogoBob Evans' Fundraiser for
Warming Center at MHA Big Success

If you visited any of the local Bob Evans' Restaurants this past weekend and purchased a beverage with your meal, you helped raise over $1,600 to support the Warming Center at MHA. If you dropped some change in the donation canister at the checkout, you also contributed. Some of you brought in clothing, personal hygiene items, non-perishable food, or other Warming Center wish list items and placed them in the donation boxes at Bob Evans' stores. If you did any of the above, THANK YOU for helping make sure the Warming Center at MHA would be open this winter any time the temperatures are forecast to be 25 degrees or below.

THANKS also go out to all the staff at the local Bob Evans' who organized and implemented this fund-raising event. They are truly compassionate members of our community and MHA is proud to have them as partners in our efforts to have a warm, welcoming, supportive place to be on Erie's coldest of nights.

Finally, a most sincere thank you to Sean McCullough from the Harborcreek Bob Evans' whose time, energy and commitment to organizing this project was inspirational to us all.

warming center at mha!!URGENT APPEAL !!

Each year we turn to the community to help support the Warming Center at MHA and many of you have been very generous with funds, clothing, food items and blankets. We are very grateful for the help and compassion you have shown for persons without a source of shelter on Erie's coldest of nights when forecasters are predicting temperatures of 25 degrees or below. For those who may not be familiar with the Warming Center at MHA, on any night this temperature threshold is met, we open our doors at 11PM and stay open until 7AM the next morning for anyone who is without safe shelter. We provide a welcoming, safe environment offering a friendly face, coffee, a light meal, and the opportunity to rest and stay warm. We do our best to accommodate everyone regardless of circumstances.

As a result of last year's particularly prolonged, cold winter season, the Warming Center at MHA opened 91 nights. Our previous record had been 57 nights. Obviously this resulted in a serious depletion of funds. Thanks to many individuals and groups as well as events like the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community and Erie Gives Day, we have been able to replenish about half of the funds needed to be prepared for what forecasters are predicting to be another cold winter. While we are strategizing ways to raise $20,000 in operating funds for the Warming Center so we don't have to reduce availability part way through the winter season, we know the best way is to just tell you we are in serious need of your financial support.

Please consider making a donation by check (made payable to "MHANP"), cash or by clicking on the Donate button on the MHA website. It could mean the difference between safety or survival for the more than 300 persons who use the Warming Center at MHA each year.

Thank you.

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.

warming center at mhaCold weather brings need
for blankets & clothing

As the cold weather is now approaching, many of our consumers are preparing to stay warm throughout the winter. We have been receiving many requests for winter clothing, boots, blankets and coats. Unfortunately, our ability to help the individuals who are in need of these items is limited at this time. Help us in our efforts to keep others warm. We accept used or new items and any and all donations would be greatly appreciated.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconVoter Registration Efforts

Thanks to Mike, John, Lenny, Dean, Brian, Tracy and Chuck, Center Members who have been active over the past 2 months in voter registration efforts here at MHA and at rallies and events in the community. Their efforts have been appreciated by us and candidates as we continue to build a mental health consumer voting block.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconStaff Members
Complete CATV Training

Congratulations to Diana Ames, Brian Davies and Chuck Gauley on completing Community Access TV production training at CATV. We will be producing recovery videos soon!


MHA has hosted student interns from a variety of disciplines over the years and is pleased to welcome Gannon Univ. Social Work senior Tom Stiller this Fall. Tom shares a little about himself in this essay:

Tom Stiller Bio ~

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.

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 ~

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.

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

Mobil Overflow Shelter Schedule

The mobile overflow shelters will be open seven days a week from 7:30pm until 7am. The schedule for the rest of 2014-15 includes:

December 17-30:
Russian Orthodox Church, 247 East Front Street
December 31- January 13:
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 643 West 17th Street
January 14-27:
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 509 East 26th Street
January 28-February 10:
St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community: 147 West 24th Street
February 11-24:
Russian Orthodox Church, 247 East Front Street
February 25-March 5:
First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant: 250 West 7th Street
March 6- 24:
St. John the Baptist Church, 509 East 26th Street

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.

Western Region CSP Meetings are held on the second Friday of the month at 10 AM at :

  • Tanglewood Senior Center
  • 10 Austin Avenue
  • Lyndora, PA 16045

Schedule for 2015:

  • January 9th 2015
  • February 13, 2015
  • March 13, 2015
  • April 10, 2015
  • May 15, 2015
  • June 12, 2015
  • July 10, 2015 (Picnic)
  • August 14, 2015
  • September,11, 2015
  • October, 9, 2015
  • November 13, 2015
  • December 4, 2015

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 ~

World Aids Day 2014World Aids Day celebrated
Dec 4, 2014

World AIDS Day was celebrated here at MHANP on December 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM with the theme of "Getting to Zero."

Summary of Event ~

Icon of Giving TreeMHA Participates in a Giving Tree Program
to Benefit Children
at Kid's Café

For several years our good friend Edna Lingenfelter has decorated a small tree on the second floor at MHA with holiday tags indicating toys and gifts that children at the Kid's Café would like to receive at Christmas. MHA staff, consumers, board members, and visitors are encouraged to consider taking a tag with something on it they can afford to purchase. They then bring the tag and the unwrapped gift to Bill Grove's office for safekeeping until Edna picks them up on Dec. 9th. If you would like to help us empty the tree of its tags and put a Christmas smile on a child's face, stop by the MHA building and come on up to the second floor. You can't miss the tree.

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA Staff Participate as Panel Members in Presentations at Statewide Conference

Five MHA staff members attended this year's 'Homes Within Reach' conference in Harrisburg on November 17th, 2014. Sponsored by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Complete Article ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconCertified Peer Specialist Training
Graduates 17

Thanks to funding from the Erie County Department of Human Services, 17 more mental health consumers have become CertifiedPeer Specialists.

Complete Article ~

Mental Health Association of NWPA IconMHA Participates In Panel Presentation
Before Senator Toomey

MHA CEO, Bill Grove was invited to provide a brief presentation on issues related to mental health as a member of a "Poverty and Social Concerns Roundtable" of community representatives from areas of health, legal, housing, education, and philanthropy organized by Sen. Pat Toomey's office. The Senator was very attentive to the presentations of each of the participants on the panel as he sought to become better informed about issues impacting his constituents in the Erie region. Mr. Grove offered Sen. Toomey some perspective on issues of mental health recovery, stigma and the importance of peer and natural supports in recovery.

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 was celebrated September 16, 2014

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

"Reach Out, Speak Up" was the theme for the 25th Annual National Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month.

Summary of Event ~

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

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 ~

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.