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Highlights Local

MHA Staff Helping Displaced Residents Of Condemned Apartments

Oct 20 2016 Millcreek, Pa

MIHA Housing Case Manager Clifton McNair and Community Engagement Coordinator Diana Ames are working with residents of Granada Apartments who are being displaced as several buildings are being condemned. Granada has been home to many mental health consumers on fixed incomes, some of whom are members of the Consumer Recovery Center here at MHA. Diana and Clifton are members of Erie County Home Team whose members are putting together informational forums for the displaced residents and finding sympathetic area landlords to help re-house these individuals and families as quickly as possible. Both Clifton and Diana are very experienced and knowledgeable on housing and homelessness related resources and will bring their expertise to bear on addressing this devastating issue for those caught in its grip. MHA is proud of their advocacy as part of MHA.

Consumer Recovery Center Members And Staff Attend
"Recovery Works Summit"
In Harrisburg

Sep 27 2016 Erie, PA

Seven Center members and two staff made the trek to Harrisburg to be a part of the Recovery Works Summit sponsored by the Mental Health Consumers Association and Pro A. This is the first conference specifically designed to address consumers of mental health and of drug and alcohol services in Pennsylvania. Along with over 250 other attendees at the summit, the MHA members and staff were able to learn more about funding priorities, the importance of advocacy, and issues of discrimination. They also listened to the inspiring recovery stories of peers from around the commonwealth. Between formal presentations, our MHA representatives were able to visit exhibitor tables (including our MHA) to learn about the variety of services and supports available in different areas of the state and to converse with peers and providers about their shared and differing experiences. It was a great day for learning and sharing. At the end of the Summit it was resolved that this experience of a statewide meeting of both mental health and D&A consumers and supporters be held again next year as we gain shared strength and power in addressing issues that impact us all.

Special thanks go to the Erie County Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities in providing scholarship assistance for Consumers to attend this important event.

Recovery Works SummitRecovery Works Summit

Standing (l-r), Aaron Blakeslee, Matt Silka, Kevin Work; Sitting, Sam Massey, Janet Burkett, Nicky Spiegel, Brian Davis, Tim Harris, (not pictured: Henceford Williams)

Avon Sponsors Fundraiser to Support
Warming Center at MHA

Sep 28 2016 Erie, PA

Avon Products, Inc is sponsoring a fundraiser to support our Warming Center at MHA. This event will be hosted by Stairways Behavioral Health at 2185 W 8th St, Erie PA, on Oct 7 2016 from 9:00AM to 3:00PM.

Event Information ~

Annual Recovery Celebration Highlight Personal Recovery Stories

Sep 27 2016 Erie, PA

On Tuesday Sept. 13th a crowd of 180 attended the 13th annual "Join the Voices of Recovery" Celebration at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Erie. The theme of "Our Families, Our stories, Our recovery" was well represented in the ceremonies as individuals presented their inspiring personal stories of recovery from addiction and mental illness. Of the five presenters, 2 were proud members of the Consumer Recovery Center at MHA. Nicole Spiegel and Dave Rush provided a glimpse into their history of recovery; stories that will hopefully help others see that recovery is real and possible for everyone.

Nicole Spiegel at Recovery Celebration

David Rush at Recovery Celebration

Awards were presented to Darren Weber, a person in recovery and Charles Klenk, a family member who has been instrumental in efforts to get Narcon into the hands of law enforcement across the commonwealth so the death toll from heroin overdose can be stemmed.

Award Recipients at Recovery Celebration

Thanks to Steve Simmelkjaer and our own Rita Wheeler for once again chairing the development and realization of this annual event. Thanks also to all the committee members, vendors, and providers who make the Join the Voices of Recovery Celebration such a success.

Speaker/Recovery Dance was a lot of fun

Sep 27 2016 Erie, PA

Over 60 people listened to an inspiring lead. Attendees signed a recovery pledge for the day. Raffle items included indoor house plants, recovery literature and some raffle baskets. Andre provided the dance music. Everyone had a fun evening in a safe place.

"Navigating The Course To Mental Health: How Consumers Can Be Captains Of Their Recovery" Conference Great Success

Aug 26 2016 Erie, PA

65 attendees at this conference learned about tools and programs that put mental health consumers in charge of their recovery and be able to assist themselves and others to find hope and meaning in their futures. During the morning session they learned about a self-directed care program operated by the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pa. that promotes the consumer to be in charge of developing a recovery plan wherein they can direct funds for traditional and non-traditional services and purchases that fit with their goals. In the afternoon, conference participants learned about identifying and addressing suicidal thoughts and behaviors and the nature and use of Wellness Recovery Action Plans and Psychiatric Advance Directives in taking charge of their recovery.

Thanks to the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania for sponsoring this free event and to the Zem Zem Banquet and Conference Center for their professionalism and hospitality.

Boots On Ground at MHA Gets over $2,000 From Erie Gives Day Donations

Aug 15 2016 Erie, PA

Once again a generous Erie community helped literally hundreds of nonprofits on Erie Gives Day August 9th. Boots On Ground was this year’s MHA program we selected to be the beneficiary of Erie Gives Day donations. Thanks Erie for donating over $2,000 in support of peer based support for our veterans and their families working to recover from PTSD and depression. Boots On Ground (BOG) is relatively new to Erie and the MHA so it is very gratifying that so many of our fellow Erieites are learning about BOG and its life saving message of hope and recovery for those vets among us who are struggling with return to civilian status.

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.

Highlights Regional

68 Attend Spirituality And Mental Health Conference At Zem Zem Banquet And Conference Center

Sep 7 2016 Erie, PA

Wednesday Sept. 7th was a beautiful day to dedicate time for recognizing and learning about ways spirituality can enhance mental health recovery. 68 consumers, service providers and religious convened to hear messages of hope and empowerment in morning sessions and, after a filling lunch, be treated to the experience of deep relaxation and thought/feeling streaming while experiencing the sound and resonance of gongs, bells and other metallic percussion.

First speaker for the day was Colleen Vanderzyden, certified Spiritual Life Coach, healer and registered medium presented her story of transformation and the importance of being true to oneself and be able to call upon a greater power if you so choose. The Reverend Mary Jo Snyder of the Consumer Health Coalition followed with a presentation on empowerment and advocacy for oneself and for systems change highlighting the importance of being an informed, prepared and assertive consumer of health services. The afternoon session was provided by Mike and Gallina Tamburo from Crown of Eternity who, after an orientation to their use of sound in meditation, invited attendees to close their eyes, create a relaxed state and then be immersed in a cascade of sound produced from an array of metal instruments.

Dave Wooledge, MHA's Peer Support Team Leader, performed MC duties and we thank LuAnn Gossett and Mary Sackett from MHA admin. for organizing and overseeing registration and certificate distribution. The Spirituality and Mental Health Conference Committee chaired by Wendy Jacobs of Erie County Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities did another great job of organizing the event. We are all looking forward to next year’s 15th annual conference.

Dylan Caplea awarded the Super Kid award by Widget Financial

Aug 30 2016 Erie, PA

Dylan is so caring about others that he donated his entire piggy bank (approx. $45) to the warming center at the Mental Health Association. He became aware of what it means to be homeless in the spring of 2014 when we were approached by an individual asking for money. He then saved all the money he was given to donate to the MHA in the winter of 2015 so that kids who stay there with family can stay warm in the winter. He has since developed an entire business plan to save enough money to buy himself a kayak. He has done this through volunteering at a local personal care home 1 hour a week (which I then pay him $5 for doing), having a yard sale with lemonade stand, selling his toys through Milestones. When cleaning out his toy room he came across many toys that he decided to donate to the Refuge so that the kids staying there can play games. He now separates his money into categories for savings, donations and spending. Dylan has learned what it means to earn what he has and how to manage his money responsibly at the age of 7. All of this while thinking of other kids that don’t have as much. He truly is a Super kid.

Dylan Caplea recognized by Widget Financial

Dylan Caplea awarded Super Kid award by Widget Financial

The Sweethearts Deal: How To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Aug 15 2016 Erie, PA

This article from BP (Bipolar) Magazine deals with building strong relationships when one partner has bipolar disorder.

Complete Article ~

Lady Gaga and Her Triumph Over Depression and Loneliness

Aug 15 2016 Erie, PA

This article from Esperanza (Anxiety&Depression) Magazine features the journey of super-star Lady Gaga to wellness.

Complete Article ~

2016 Pennsylvania Disability Employment & Empowerment Summit

Oct 17 to Oct 18 2016
Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, PA
Web Site
More Info
Detail Information

MHA Participates in Neighborhood Safety Initiative

May 27 2016, Erie PA

MHA is joining with other neighborhood nonprofits, businesses and the Erie Police to confront the growing problem of drug related activity and stigmatizing behaviors in our part of the downtown area. The advent of cheap but dangerous drugs, the faltering Erie economy and the concentration of vulnerable persons in our immediate vicinity has led to serious concerns for safety of businesses, citizenry, and the people we serve. The newly formed committee is looking at ways to dramatically improve neighborhood safety for the benefit of all. After only 3 meetings, interest and membership in the committee is growing and action has already begun. For us at MHA our greatest concern has been the victimization of members by drug dealers. MHA and our neighbors have now posted "No Loitering" signs and MHA is actively patrolling the perimeter of our building to enforce the postings. Police are stepping up their presence in the area as well and members are reporting suspicious activity. Through our efforts and those of our neighbors we are already seeing benefits and our members are reporting feeling more safe. The initiative is just beginning but MHA is pleased to be a part of making our neighborhood into one of the safest in the downtown area.

Consumers Sought Out to Work on Campaigns

May 28 2016, Erie PA

Thanks to outreach by Diana Ames, MHA's Community Engagement Coordinator, an increasing number of candidates for public office are contacting us for volunteers to assist in their campaigns. We are pleased to say that this includes opportunities from both major political parties.

MHA cannot and does not support any particular candidate for any office but we can offer the opportunity for consumer members to take an active role in campaigns on behalf of candidates they may favor. This represents a great way for consumers to become more aware of how our democracy works and about important policy issues that can impact their lives. Dozens of consumers have taken advantage of these opportunities and have become active in promoting voter registration and action amongst fellow consumers. MHA is pleased and proud that our members and mental health consumers in general, are developing a voting block.

Shop Amazon Smile And Support Boots On Ground

Do you shop on Amazon? Now you can support Boots On Ground (BOG), the new MHA program supporting our veterans and families coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. With every purchase you make on Amazon Smile, .5% of the sale will be donated by Amazon to MHA for this veteran peer based program. Click on the Amazon Smile post above and happy shopping.

For more information on Boots On Ground, click on the BOG logo on the left side of this home page. Our veterans with invisible wounds need us so they can help each other.

4 Used, Working Laptop Computer Donations Make A Difference, But More Needed

Thanks to the donors of four good used laptop computers for Second Chance Computers. This is enough to hold a small class for some lucky mental health consumers who will learn basic proficiency of use and then be able to take home the laptop on which they trained. Second Chance Computers is helping transform the lives of consumers on the wrong side of the digital divide. They are learning how to produce resumes, access the internet, use open source software and generally become a part of 21st century communication. Gaining these skills have helped them be more confident and engaged and has led to employment opportunities.

We still need more laptops . . . a lot! We have many names of individuals meeting basic criteria for Second Chance Computer classes but we are constantly having to wait for individuals, businesses and organizations to part with their outdated laptops that are gathering dust. Please give your used but working laptops a second life with a consumer who can become empowered by your donation. Call LuAnn at 452-4462 ext. 126 with any questions you may have about donating laptops.

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 2016

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 ~