Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA
RSS IconLink to my RSS feed!
Español?  Spanish version
 Veterans Crisis Line 

Highlights Local


The Warming Center at MHA took a big financial hit this past winter. There were a record 91 nights that the overnight temperatures dropped below the 25 degree threshold for opening our doors to anyone without shelter from 11 PM to 7 AM. The previous record was only 57 nights. Needless to say, while we are proud of having been able to provide a safe, warm and welcoming resource for over 340 persons, it took a toll on our funds and we need to rebuild our reserves to be prepared for the coming winter months.

Erie Gives Day on Aug. 12th is an opportunity for you to help us be ready for another winter helping make sure no one is left out in the cold. From 8 am to 8 pm the Erie Community Foundation will host the website where experienced and novice internet donors can send a minimum $25 donation to one or more of over 300 charities of their choice. Just go to the site and enter "mental health" to get to the MHA page to make your donation for the Warming Center. Alternately, call 814.454.0843 to made a credit/debit card donation by phone. The more donations we get, the larger percentage of match funds from the Erie Community Foundation, GE Transportation, Erie Insurance and Presque Isle Downs will come our way.

Need more information? Check out our Warming Center at MHA web page and the Erie Gives site above.

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 iconSecond Chance Computers Graduates Two

On Friday July 18th, 2014, 2 mental health consumers graduated from the Second Chance Computer Program. Congratulations to Jerry Meinhart and Brian Davies who learned basic computer skills in the 30 hour course. Graduates receive a certificate and take home the donated, used computer they trained on.

Summary & Photos ~

Consumers and Staff visit Harrisburg

This group of consumers and MHA staff visited Harrisburg recently where they met with Senator Sean Wiley to share their experiences with human services and advocate regarding issues directly affecting the welfare of those receiving mental health wellness services. Sen. Wiley was a very gracious host and expressed interest and concern regarding issues they presented.

One member of the group, Brian Davies, observed: "Great opportunity to meet new people with a similar goal. It gives us a chance to have our voices heard about an issue we feel very stong about. It gave us a sense of importance on this issue of how the raise in minimum wage would affect all of us."

Consumer and staff visit HarrisburgPictured from left to right:Diana Ames, Stacey Stafford, Senator Sean Wiley, Brian Davies, Charles Gauley

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

POSITIONS Available at MHA

As Needed Warming Center Night Staff

Reports To: Center Team Leader

General Responsibilities:

This is a part-time position which does not have specific hours per week. Persons in this role maintain a safe, comfortable environment for persons in need of shelter on nights when winter temperatures are forecast to meet criteria for opening the MHA facility for a Warming Night. They must be able to maintain order in the Center while being supportive and helpful to persons using the Warming Center.

Specific Responsibilities and Duties

  1. Welcoming individuals to the Center and making sure all attendees are aware of rules and expectations.
  2. In conjunction with co-workers, maintain order and enforce rules including requiring disruptive individuals to leave premises or contact police if necessary.
  3. Be aware of resources available to persons in need of services.
  4. Respond to participants in distress in a supportive, respectful, but assertive manner.
  5. Monitor all physical environments for safety, while protecting our material resources.
  6. Recognize and manage crisis situations.
  7. Assist volunteers to fulfill volunteer roles.
  8. Provide role model for successful interaction skills, (assertiveness, conflict resolution, and boundary maintenance).
  9. Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirements:

  1. H.S. Diploma or GED
  2. 2. Have flexible availability on short notice to work from 11PM to 7AM
  3. Act 33/34 Clearance. Act 151 Clearances.
  4. Knowledge of the Mission, Vision and Values of MHA.
  5. Ability to follow policies and procedures of the MHA.
  6. Ability to meet schedules, plan, take direction.
  7. Basic knowledge of internal resources as well as social service resources in the community.
  8. Proven ability to interact with others compassionately yet assertively
  9. Subscribe to ethical standards of confidentiality.
  10. Ability to be a team player.


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described herein 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 these essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the staff is regularly required to stand, sit, talk, hear (hearing aid permitted). Specific vision abilities required by the job include peripheral and distance vision.

Staff is occasionally required to reach with hands and arms and use legs to lift and or move up to 50 lbs.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described herein are representative of those a staff encounters while performing the essential functions pf the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

Staff is occasionally exposed to outside weather.

Noise level is usually moderate.

Interested individuals please send your resumé and cover letter to:

  • Carla Kurpiewski, CTL
  • MHA Consumer Recovery Center
  • 1101 Peach Street
  • Erie, PA 16501

No Phone Calls Please

Peer Support Program at MHANP

We are pleased to announce that the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA is opening a new free standing, consumer run Peer Support Program (PSP) housed at our facility at 1101 Peach Street, Erie. .....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

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

"Join the Voices for Recovery: Reach Out, Speak Up" is the theme for the 25th Annual National Recovery Month, September 2014. This is the eleventh (11th) year that Erie County will celebrated this event.

Planning Committee meetings:

  • August 6, 2014

~ Save The Dates Info ~

~ Registration Form ~

~ Susan Esper Award Recommendation ~

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.