Invitation to Join MHA in "Celebrating Hope, Encouragement, Recovery"

Nov 1 2011 Erie, Pa

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


Three Consumers Honored at the Annual "I am the Evidence" Ceremony at MHA

MHA celebrated its annual May is Mental Health Month with the "I am the Evidence" Awards Ceremony. On May 22nd, three mental health consumers were honored for their commitment and successful pursuit of mental health recovery. The call for nominations went out to the community and the MHA Administrative Core Team selected individuals who best represented the hope and inspiration of recovery.

MHA congratulates this year's "I am the Evidence" Award recipients Tiffany Burkell, Elizabeth "Libbie" Johnson and Wendy Lindsey whose personal recovery journeys were shared by their nominators. Each of these individuals are living examples of mental health recovery. We consider nomination an honor in its own right, nominees Abbey Dyke and Krystal Roehrig received framed certificates. A reception was held on the second floor at MHA following the ceremony.

Award Recipients Wendy Lindsey, Tiffany Burkell and Elizabeth Johnson
Wendy Lindsey, Tiffany Burkell and Elizabeth "Libbie" Johnson


4 Consumers Receive "I'm The Evidence" Award Honors At Annual MHA Celebration

On Wed May 23rd four mental health consumers were honored for their commitment and successes in their journeys toward mental health and substance abuse recovery. For the 7th consecutive year, MHA held its I'm The Evidence award ceremony as part of its May is Mental Health Month celebration. The call for nominations was sent out across Erie County and MHA received 8 nominations. A committee of four MHA staff was convened to review all nominations and select four who best represent the hope and inspiration of recovery. Rick Albertson, Grace Lukawski, Hillary Palczer, and Annette R. Bliss (posthumous) were selected as this year's honorees. As is the usual practice, nominators were requested to read the summaries they submitted as part of the ceremonies.

We congratulate this year's I'm The Evidence Award recipients. Each of their stories is an inspiring example of how mental health recovery is achievable. As we consider nomination an honor in its own right, nominees Emily Burkhart (a previous award recipient), Melvin Edmunds, Carla Kurpiewski, and Crystal VanDresar received framed certificates.

Receiving ITE Award
Hillary Palczar, Rick Albertson, Bob Bliss (Annette Bliss in framed picture), Bill Grove MHA CEO, Grace Lukawski

The four recipients' individual nominations are available below:

Annette Bliss ~
Grace Lukawski ~
Hillary Palczar ~
Rick Albertson ~


Four Consumers Honored At Annual “I'm The Evidence” Ceremony At MHA

MHA congratulates this year's "I'm The Evidence" award winners. Jack Halli, Aubrey Hohman, Albert Thebeault, and Jeremy Berquist were all present on Wednesday May 17th to receive their justly deserved honors for being exemplary of successful pursuit of mental health recovery. Each honoree represented different, very personal recovery journeys as is true of all consumers who develop a vision of a full and meaningful life that accommodates illness and is not dictated by it.

For 7 years MHA has been celebrating Mental Health Month with the ITE awards. Call for nominations go out to the community and are returned to MHA for committee consideration. This year we had 4 nominees and the committee determined that all qualified. We are very fortunate to have each of these inspiring individuals both as members of the mental health consumer community and as members of the larger Erie community. MHA wishes them continued success on their paths to recovery.

May 27 2016, Erie PA

2016 "I'm The Evidence Awards" Presented at MHA

Once again, MHA hosted the "I'm The Evidence" Award presentation on May 11th in recognition of May is Mental Health Month. The call for nominations went out in early April and we received 9 excellent responses identifying individual mental health consumers who exemplified persons successfully pursuing a life in recovery. Of the nominations received, 5 were selected as this year's honorees.

Congratulations to Brian McLaughlin, Rita Fitzgerald, Stephen Mello, Samuel Pruitt and Martin Province each of whose inspiring stories of recovery and service were detailed by their nominators. Following the presentation ceremony, honorees, guests, and MHA members enjoyed a reception on the second floor of the MHA building.


Fifth 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 ~



I'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 2014, 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 ~