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Recent Memorable Activities

♦ 2021 ♦

MHA Peers Speak About Grief and Depression

Apr 16 2021 Erie, PA

Certified Peer Specialists Katie Schaaf, Aubrey Hohman, Shirley Ruth French, Margaret Simms and Librarian Rachel Stevenson spoke about dealing with grief, depression, and their personal stories on how to cope and work through it. The Zoom call took place February 3, 2021, but the recording can be accessed here.

We thank the Blasco Memorial Library for the opportunity to share this with the Erie Community.

♦ 2019 ♦

MHA participated in Erie County’s 16th Annual Recovery Celebration

Sep 24 2019 Erie, PA

The Mental Health Association of NW PA participated in Erie County’s 16th Annual Recovery Celebration. The theme of this year’s celebration was "Join the Voices of Recovery: Together we are Stronger". The entire community came together to celebrate recovery and those who are at all stages of recovery. Erie City Mayor Joe Schember and Gary Lee from the County Executive's Office gave Proclamations declaring September 2019 as National Recovery Month in Erie. Over 200 people attended the event and participated in giveaways, a light lunch, and learning about Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol resources throughout our community.

The event also included speakers who spoke about their personal journey through recovery as well as the presentation of the annual Susan P. Esper Awards. MHA's own Hillary Palzcer received a Susan P. Esper Award for her dedication to her ongoing recovery and service to our community. Plus the MHA's Former Program/Volunteer Coordinator, Rita Wheeler, was awarded the Community Award for her countless years of selfless dedication to past Recovery Events.

Hillary Palzcer
MHA's Hillary Palzcer

Rita Wheeler Community Award ~

Erie County Proclamation ~

City of Erie Proclamation ~

Erie Gives Day

Aug 15 2019 Erie, PA

Thanks to all who donated to the Warming Center at MHA on Erie Gives Day! MHA raised $6,786 during the Erie Gives Day Campaign. Every penny goes to support the Warming Center and helps to provide food and shelter on cold winter nights for all who are in need.

We are grateful to be part of such a Caring and Compassionate Community!

♦ 2018 ♦

MHA Welcomes New CEO

Oct 5 2018 Erie, PA

Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA is proud to welcome its new CEO, Pat Stucke (Miss Pat). Pat was MHA's former Operations Manager during the past 5 years. In all, she brings to the agency and community at large over 36 years of experience in the mental health field.

Pat is well prepared and honored to help continue and further the positive impact made by the former CEO, Bill Grove, who left quite a legacy following his 19 years of service at MHA.

"With new eyes and energy, I hope to continue the support that Bill gave so willingly and with such kindness and grace. Everyone deserves a safe environment, second chances and a time for recovery and healing in order to lead healthy, happy and meaningful lives. While I have a great supportive team surrounding me, I am extremely thankful for this opportunity and plan to put my best foot forward with heart and soul. I see many positive changes and growth happening presently and in the future for all involved at MHA."

Recovery Celebration in Erie, PA

Sep 11 2018 Erie, PA

The Mental Health Association, in conjunction with Gaudenzia SHOUT and 25 other partnering agencies held a Recovery Celebration for the public on Tuesday, September 11th hosted by the Martin Luther King Center, 312 Chestnut St. Erie, PA.

Deacon Joe of the Erie Catholic Diocese offered an invocation that connected the tragedies of September 2001 with today's theme. Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive, issued a proclamation recognizing September as National Recovery Month. Thank you for your inspirational words and support.

Over 200 people attended the free event. I am proud to say that five (5) individuals shared their personal recovery stories which emphasized the theme of "Join the Voices for Recovery, Invest in Health, Home, Purpose and Community". This year four (4) people received the Susan P. Esper Award.

Commitee members Rita Wheeler and Steve Simmelkjaer with award recipients Matthew Moon ,Jason Gochoco IV and Denise McConnell shown below.

Recovery Celebration 2018

We had a new award this year: Community Award. On behalf of the committee Michael Chevalier, President of Preferred Systems, Inc. lauded the 50 years of service of Gaudenzia Erie. Steve Simmelkjaer, SHOUT Outreach Supervisor accepted the award and was speechless.

A Speaker/Recovery Dance was held at the Mental Health Association, 1101 Peach St., Erie, PA on Friday, September 14. The recovery pledge was signed by 38 people. Fun was had by all in a safe and secure environment.

Comments by Attendees

  • "It was a blessing to be here."
  • "Very nice, great time."
  • "Thank you for putting so much time every year into organizing a nice recovery celebration for Erie."
  • "The Recovery Celebration was awesome. I look forward to being a part of it again."
  • "Always enjoyable, I look forward to it every year."
  • "Thank you!"

These links display the program, photographs and additional information.

Departing CEO Bill Grove Thanks Members and Staff.

Sep 9 2018 Erie, PA

Departing Chief Executive Bill Grove summarizes the highpoints of his service and recognizes the support of the members, staff and the community in his message.

Bill Grove Message ~

MHA Corry Outreach Resumes

Jul 16 2018 Corry, PA

MHA has been invited to return to Corry to offer some peer based support opportunities. Diana Ames and Michelle Mennini have been visiting the Grove Personal Care Home(PCH) in Corry over the past 4 months and it has been a very enjoyable experience. By developing strong, supportive relationships with the residents and listening without judgement, they have been encouraging the residents to share personal stories and the results have been amazing. Residents offer ideas to each other and to MHA. They have become more active in the PCH. They are developing healthy and positive interests. "I personally think that the residents are much more active in our group and they themselves have offered constructive responses to questions asked both by us and their fellow residents. We all listen to each other without being judgmental", says Diana. Participants have stated how much they look forward to the "visits", as they call them. "We used to throw out ideas for activities and events but that is no longer necessary. The group often has an agenda each week before MHA gets there" reports Michelle; case in point, a picnic. When it was suggested, a discussion was started and by the time the facilitators returned the following week, the group had come up with several options. "Last week, several of the residents shared how much they enjoy having us come and visit. And they can't wait for the picnic in the back yard", says Diana.

Along with the PCH group, a group that used to meet at Corry Counselling Services is resurrecting. Diana and Michelle are looking forward to doing two support groups at Corry Counseling; one with folks that have serious mental illness and the other will be folks who are dual diagnosed. MHA is very pleased to be able to join with both Grove PCH and Corry Counselling services in support of peer based recovery programming.

Erie County Treatment Court

Jun 21, 2018 Erie, PA

The Erie County Treatment Court consists of four components: a drug & alcohol component commonly referred to as Drug Court (started in March 2000), a mental illness component commonly referred to as Mental Health Court (started in March 2002), a program with drugs & alcohol and mental health specifically for cases involved with the Erie County Office of Children & Youth referred to as Family Dependency Court (started in September 2011) and our newly formed Veterans Treatment Court (started in January 2015) which operates separately. The Drug and MH components work within the framework of one combined "Treatment Court" in order to handle drug involved defendants and or seriously mentally ill defendants. The Family component works with drug involved parents and or seriously mentally ill parents in Family Dependency Court. Treatment Court is in a supportive, treatment oriented setting that uses graduated sanctions along with incentives.

The Erie County Treatment Courts have been developed to handle the nonviolent, seriously mentally ill offenders and non-violent drug dependents through intensive and comprehensive supervision, case management and treatment. The intervenors on the Treatment Court Team are the Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Counsel, Case Managers, Treatment Specialists, Probation Officers, Caseworkers, Law Enforcement, Correctional Personnel and others. This unique partnership that has been developed in Erie County is able to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach in addressing the most devastating problems facing our community today; drug abuse, mental illness and/or crime.

The Erie County Treatment Court is a joint program involving:

  • The Erie County Court of Common Pleas, Sixth Judicial District
  • The Erie County Public Defenders Office
  • The Erie County District Attorneys Office
  • Erie County Office of Human Services
  • Office of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities
  • Erie County Care Management
  • Erie County Adult Probation/Parole Department
  • The Erie County Prison
  • Mercyhurst College Civic Institute
  • Drug & Alcohol/Mental Health Treatment Providers
  • Erie County Office of Children and Youth

There are currently over 2,800 drug courts, over 275 mental health courts, more than 300 family drug courts that are either in operation or being planned nationwide.

Pennsylvania has approximately 100 "problem solving" court programs in operation or being planned.

Erie County is an organizational member of the National and PA Association of Drug Court Professionals.

There have been 35 Treatment Court graduations. There have been 294 graduates from the Erie County Treatment Court programs.

Erie County Treatment Court holds Graduation

Jun 21, 2018 Erie, Pa

The Erie County Treatment Court held its thirty-fift (35th) Graduation on Thursday (6/21/2018). Being present during this ceremony helped recognize the diligent efforts and proud accomplishments of the graduates today. Also by being there for these individuals, it lets them know that they are not alone and that we are here to help them. Since this day, two hundred and ninety-four (294) individuals have graduated from the Erie County Treatment Court Programs. We hope that many more individuals out there, who are struggling, will come forth and take advantage of the resources offered through the Erie County Treatment Court.

Comments by Graduates

Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Conference

May 16 2018 Erie, PA

"Connections", the 17th Annual Spirituality and Mental Health Recovery Conference was held 9:30AM to 4:00PM May 16, 2018 at the St. Martin Center, Erie, PA. Lunch was included. The event was free to family menbers and mental health consumers.

♦ 2017 ♦

Wellness Connection Clinic Helping Homeless And Low Income Get Healthy

Dec 6 2017 Erie, PA

Starting in September 2017, the MHA second floor has been host to an innovative, collaborative outreach program to bring healthy resources to the homeless and underserved members of our community. Spearheaded by the volunteer faith community nurses from the Erie United Methodist Alliance, a group of representatives including MHA, Community Health Net, and nursing programs from Gannon University and Edinboro University gathered beginning in the Spring to begin formulating a plan to put together a health resource clinic at MHA. The idea was to provide a drop-in service embedded in a site where qualifying individuals attend regularly, that could do basic health and needs assessments and have resource representatives available to connect consumers to services. This is a one year experiment in which data on effectiveness will be gathered. If successful, the program will continue and could be replicated at other sites where homeless and undeserved members of the community frequent.

The "Wellness Connection" is held at MHA on Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm. MHA members and anyone in the area is welcome to come by either to learn about the clinic services or get help with a health related issue in a holistic approach. The clinic offers accessible, patient-centered and trauma-informed care with an emphasis on an integrated healthcare model. Safe Harbor Behavioral Health of UPMC Hamot has a mental health therapist and blended case manager attending the clinic providing initial assessments for services. There are homeless housing assessments and referrals available to those in need. There is no cost for any of these services. Edinboro University Social Work Program is also helping coordinate services and provide follow-up and outreach to persons accessing the clinic services.

Recovery Celebration in Erie, PA

Sep 29 2017 Erie, PA

The Mental Health Association, in conjunction with Gaudenzia SHOUT and other partnering agencies held a Recovery Celebration for the public on Tuesday, September 19th hosted by the Martin Luther King Center, 312 Chestnut St. Erie, PA.

192 people attended the free event. I am proud to say that five (5) individuals shared their personal recovery stories which emphasized the theme of "Join the Voices for Recovery, Strengthen Families and Communities". This year four (4) people received the Susan P. Esper Award.

Commitee members Rita Wheeler and Steve Simmelkjaer with award recipients Vickie Church and Andrew Davis shown below.

Recovery Celebration 2017

A Speaker/Recovery Dance was held at the Mental Health Association, 1101 Peach St., Erie, PA on Friday, September 22. The recovery pledge was signed by 66 people. Fun was had by all in a safe and secure environment.

Comments by Attendees

  • "This is a wonderful experience to be a part of!"
  • "Good Job!!!"
  • "Thank you for having me"
  • "Thank you very much was amazing"
  • "Great Celebration"
  • "Very nice & kind event"
  • "I really liked it; it was better than last year’s"
  • "First time here; everything was great"
  • "Wonderful way for the community to receive encouragement and support"
  • "Alanon was very grateful to be part of such a well-planned, organized program. Please continue to reach out to all in need and search of turning their lives around. What a Blessing this is to all involved. Thank you!"

A Recovery

30 June 2017 Erie, PA

A Graduation Ceremony was held on Friday June 30 at Blasco Library, Hirt Auditorium, Erie PA for 18 Certified Peer Specialists. Two instructors and three community speakers offered their congratulations and remarks. Graduates offered a list of characteristics that they had discovered in their classmates.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper Visits Consumer Recovery Center

Jun 27, 2017 Erie, PA

MHA was very pleased to have Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive, come by to meet with members of the Consumer Recovery Center. After a brief introduction, Ms. Dahlkemper provided some perspective of the differing roles of City, County and State government in provision of services. She then made herself available to speak with consumers about issues impacting them as individuals. Consumers presented issues in regards to housing, employment, and stigma/barriers impacting their access to resources critical to recovery and community inclusion.

Ms. Dahlkemper was an attentive and supportive guest and we all greatly appreciate her ongoing interest in helping mental health consumers become active and participating members of the larger community. We will look forward to welcoming her back for future visits.

Wellness Tool Boxes Help Consumers At Warren State Hospital

May 11 2017 Warren, PA

MHA, Warren State Hospital (WSH) External Advocate, Jodi Wilson, is pictured with Sara Lee Harris, WSH Certified Peer Specialist, at their exhibit table at Mental Health Awareness Day. WSH Administration requested they attend this event held at Strawberry Square in Harrisburg, PA, to share the Wellness Tool Boxes they and consumers at WSH have created to help consumers pursue and maintain wellness while on the various units at the state hospital. The boxes are full of written materials and activity ideas/materials that help consumers find creative ways to address stress and change. We congratulate and thank Sara Lee and Jodi for their innovation and successful introduction of this unique recovery oriented project at WSH.

Memorial Service a Celebration of Life

Apr 20, 2017 Erie, PA

We remembered and celebrated the lives of 21 people on April 20, 2017 at the Mental Health Association. The Scripture passages and words of inspiration by Reverend Rhodes highlighted the theme of "LIFE" during this Easter season. Thank you to the volunteers who organized the space, proclaimed the Scriptures, prepared and served the refreshments. Thank you Reverend Rhodes and Gloria!

MHA Talks Affordable Housing With State Sen. Dan Laughlin

Mar 31 2017 Erie, PA

Sen. Dan Laughlin hosted a meeting at his office March 31, 2017 with MHA CEO, Bill Grove, Community Engagement Coordinator, Diana Ames, and Roy Remone, Compeer/Compeer Corps Coordinator for veterans from MHA in Butler. We had requested the meeting to talk about safe affordable housing options for low/very low income persons. Many of MHA’s members are in this income category and are living in spaces that are very poorly maintained, or are homeless. Sen. Laughlin was very receptive to this issue and expressed his own specific concern about the many persons released from prison environments who also struggle with housing issues due to the barriers to housing prompted by their history of incarceration. The discussion was highlighted by our interest in the tiny house phenomenon and its potential as a source for lease and home ownership for any of the low income populations represented at the table.

Senator Laughlin provided direction for immediate actions that we could undertake and suggested that he may be convening a forum for further discussions around the issue of safe affordable housing in Erie. We thank Sen. Laughlin for his attention to this matter and look forward to a continuing dialog and action on the issue.

Erie United Methodist Alliance Volunteer Nurses Provide Health Screening For MHA Members

Mar 17 2017 Erie, PA

For the past year Erie United Methodist Alliance volunteer Healthcare for the Homeless nurses have been coming to MHA monthly offering free health screenings to Recovery Center members. This preventative measure is helping those members who do not have regular medical attention, the opportunity to get a basic screening to determine if there are any medical conditions for which they should seek treatment. The EUMA nurses can direct members to sources for medical care when necessary. We greatly appreciate having the EUMA nurses on the premises to help our members pursue their physical health as well as their mental health.

Rita Wheeler Honored For 20 Years Of Service To MHA

Feb 27, 2017 Erie, PA

At our regular staff meeting on February 27, 2017, Rita Wheeler was presented a commemorative clock by CEO Bill Grove. Rita has been a staff member of MHA for over 20 years, a fact worth celebrating. She has brought her skills, talents and dedication to bear in MHA's efforts to provide mental health consumer directed programming throughout her time at MHA. She has worn several hats over her years at MHA as a member of the original Consumer Family Satisfaction Team and later as Program/Volunteer Coordinator where she has mentored literally hundreds of volunteers and interns with an individualized volunteer plan tailored to their comfort and talents. Known for her organizational skills, Rita is the "go to" person whenever we need to know where to find anything at MHA. She is also frequently consulted on a variety of matters pertinent to the effective operation of the organization.

Congratulations and thanks Rita for 20 years of remarkable service to MHA.

Eve, We Will Miss You

Jan 4, 2017 Erie, PA

MHA lost a friend and colleague. Eve Shreve was a Certified Peer Specialist in our Peer Support Program. She was friendly, funny and compassionate. She was a professional who made good use of her talents and life story to connect with peers and provide them with support and encouragement. We were fortunate to have her with us, even for a short time. Eve is missed by family and friends and by all of us at MHA whose privilege it was to have gotten to know her. God's speed Eve. Jan. 19, 1964 - Jan. 4, 2017

♦ 2016 ♦

Volunteer Appreciation

Nov 29, 2016 Erie, PA

A Gratitude Party was be held at the MHA 2nd floor on Tuesday, Nov 29 2016.

Members enjoyed refreshments, conversation and giveaways, music and much more. Congratulate Alexis, James and Gage on the conclusion of their internships.

"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.

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.

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 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)

National Recovery Month Sept 2016

Sep 13, 2016 Erie, PA

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

"Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!" was the theme for 2016 which was celebrated on Sep 13, 2016, with 180 attendees.

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.

Thanks to All Who Participated in Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Jun 16 2016 Erie, PA

Over $9,000 was raised for the Warming Center at MHA during this year's Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community campaign. MHA along with 24 other local nonprofits were able to benefit from the Walk. As always, Highmark covered the costs of organizing, managing, and promoting the event. Thanks go out to all the Highmark staff who dedicated their time energy and finances to make this another successful year for the Walk.

Thanks also to the many donors and walkers who made this year's Walk for a Healthy Community so successful for the Warming Center at MHA. Your generosity now is helping ensure we will be ready to open our doors to anyone without adequate shelter next winter when overnight temperatures dip to 25 degrees or below. Have a great summer and we will see you again for next year's Walk for a Healthy Community.

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.

Gannon U Recognizes Rita Wheeler with Outstanding Field Instructor Award

Apr 19 2016 Erie, PA

Rita Wheeler, Program Development/Volunteer Coordinator at MHA, accepted the Outstanding Field Instructor Award for Years of Outstanding Service at the Gannon University Social Work Program appreciation lunch.

Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter, LSW comments:" In the almost 11 years I've been at Gannon and have been serving as the Field Coordinator, there has been only one year that we have not had a student working under Rita and Bill at the MHA. Frequently, we have had more than one student, as we do this year. There is a long history of serving as a field placement for my predecessor, Chuck Murphy.

Rita, we would like to acknowledge you as the day-today-hands on field instructor who has for every year accepted and guided Gannon students in their professional development for over 20 years. The outstanding field experiences you consistently and creatively provide are tailored to the unique in abilities and interests of our students. Therefore, every students field experience at MHA has been unique.

Thank you, Ms. Wheeler for service to the Gannon Social Work Program and our students."

Receiving this award during National Volunteer Week gave it a special meaning. This awards signifies that an organization outside of the mental health system recognizes that the MHA walks the road of recovery with others.

Gannon Univ Award to Rita Wheeler

Gannon U Recognizes MHA with Outstanding Agency for Field Placements Award

Apr 19 2016 Erie, PA

Bill Grove, CEO of MHA, accepted the Award for Outstanding Agency for Field Placement from Dr. Lori Lindley, Associate Dean CHESS and Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter LSW, Associate Professor, Social Work Program at Gannon University.

The Gannon university Social Work Program hosted an appreciation lunch for their interns and field instructors on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Dr. Sara Lichtenwalter LSW comments:"Under your leadership, Bill, the MHA has strived and thrived in the service of individuals and families impacted by mental illnesses. Without an exceptional organizational, the MHA, we would not have the venue for Rita or the vibrant placements available to dozens of students over the years. The Gannon Social Work Program wanted to acknowledge the valuable resource, this community treasure, which you captain and pilot through changing economical, political, social conditions and budget cuts, as well as through new and exciting opportunities.

This (award) is to honor the MHA in recognition and appreciation for service to the Gannon Social Work Program and our students."

Gannon Univ Award to MHANP

MHA consumers meet with Congressman Mike Kelly to share concerns about legislation.

Feb 16 2016 Washington, DC

MHA members Chuck Gauley and James Elmore attended a meeting with Congressman Kelly at his office on Feb 16, 2016.  The meeting was organized by Elisha Coffee from the Mental Health Assn. of Southeastern Pa. and Diana Ames at our MHA to specifically address concerns regarding Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (aka.the Murphy Bill), currently in the U.S. House, awaiting passage.  We were to meet for half an hour and ended up discussing the Bill for over 90 minutes. Everyone, including the Congressman, shared knowledge and experiences regarding the mental illnesses and the mental health system.  We shared the struggles, the treatments that failed, the attempts to make decisions benefiting both our families and ourselves.  We also spoke about the positive approaches of MHA's across the Commonwealth and how folks have successfully turned their lives around to become quite productive while still living with the diagnosis.  The Congressman requested to visit the MHA in Erie and offered to have further discussions on this issue.  He also responded positively to our request for help in organizing a meeting with the Bill's sponsor to share consumer ideas and concerns with him.  Rep. Kelly felt that would be very productive and would definitely try to make that happen.  He also stated he was grateful we took the time to meet with him as he felt this was an important issue.

Consumers Meet with Congressman Mike Kelly regarding legislation

♦ 2015 ♦

MHA Annual Consumer Christmas Dinner Great Success Thanks To Harborcreek Bob Evans

Dec 23 2015 Erie, PA

Over 150 consumers and MHA staff members enjoyed a Christmas Dinner on December 23rd, 2015 thanks in large part to the generosity of Sean McCullough and his staff at the Harborcreek Bob Evans Restaurant. As has been the case with other major holiday meal events at MHA over the past year, they contributed main course, side dishes, and dessert items to make sure we had enough food so that no one at the dinner went without a meal. The event, held annually in the Mental Health Consumer Recovery Center on the first floor of the MHA building, was enjoyed by all in attendance. We are also very grateful to the Center Team staff and Consumer Family Satisfaction Team staff for their time and commitment to preparing and serving the dinner. They did a great job.

Special Happy Holidays To Cobb’s Second Time Around Thrift Store

Dec 23 2015 Erie, PA

Amy Cobb and Brenda Gallogly from Cobb’s came to our rescue on short notice. MHA needed some additional Christmas gift items for our guests at the Annual Dinner on 12/23/2015. Cobb’s stepped right up and delivered a variety of items we could offer to dinner attendees. We thank them again for their help and generosity especially at this time of year.

Bob Evans' Fundraiser for Warming Center at MHA Big Success

Dec 23 2015 Erie, PA

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.

Our friends at Bob Evans' are again helping mental health consumers at MHA celebrate the holidays. On 12/23/15 we held the Annual Christmas Dinner in the Consumer Recovery Center. As they did for Thanksgiving, Bob Evans' Restaurant in Harborcreek donated meal items to help feed the over 100 members and staff who attend this event. For some this dinner will be the only Christmas celebration they will have. So, thanks again to Sean McCullough and all the fine folks at the Harborcreek Bob Evans' for helping make Christmas memorable for so many.


Thanks go out again to Sean McCullough and the staff at the Harborcreek Bob Evans' Restaurant. Sean and his crew are donating an Easter Dinner for the mental health consumers at MHA. We are very grateful for the generosity behind this donation but also for the commitment of both the Harborcreek Bob Evans' and the regional Bob Evans' office for their support to MHA. Recovery from the impact of mental illness in one's life is a worthy challenge which becomes more real with the support of the community. Bob Evans' has been at our side throughout the winter as we provided overnight shelter for over 400 persons on Erie's coldest nights and their spirit as well as great Bob Evans' food was at the table for holiday meals offered this year.

World Aids Day at MHA

Nov 30 2015 Erie, PA

Educational materials and a Tree of Hope were on display for two weeks to recognize World Aids Day. Free and confidential testing and asking questions was offered by the Gaudenzia SHOUT Team on Monday, November 30, 2015.Thank you Mary for decorating the Tree of Hope.

World Aids Day Tree decorated by Mary

World Aids Day
through the years

Annual MHA Thanksgiving Dinner Serves Over 130

Nov 26 2015 Erie, PA

With the help of Bob Evans' Harborcreek restaurant, on Nov 26, 2015 MHA staff served up a great Thanksgiving meal for mental health consumer members and staff. Over 130 individuals enjoyed dinner with all the trimmings. Everyone was very complimentary and no one was turned away without a meal. The meal was planned and prepared by members of the Consumer Recovery Center and served by the Consumer/Family Satisfaction Team.

Bob Evans' provided ham, vegetables, potatoes, gravy, dressing and cranberry relish for the event. Thanks go out to General Manager, Sean McCullough and his staff in Harborcreek for their generous support. This is the second year Bob Evans' has partnered with MHA on making sure our members enjoy a well-supplied and prepared meal during holiday celebrations. We encourage any friends of MHA to patronize Bob Evans' both for a good meal and to support a good partner.

MHA Consumers Invited To Meet Governor Wolf

Nov 1 2015 Erie, PA

MHA consumers Scott Clark and Charles Gauley, along with CEC, Diana Ames and MHA CEO Bill Grove, were given an exclusive opportunity to meet Governor Tom Wolf following the Governor’s speech at a Jefferson Society event held Nov. 1st, 2015 at Collegiate Academy in Erie. The Governor expressed his thanks to MHA for helping focus public attention on the impact of the state budget impasse. The MHA group highlighted the need for addressing past cuts to human service funding and creating meaningful work opportunities for consumers.

MHA Staff and Members meet with Governor Wolf

National Recovery Month was celebrated Sep 15, 2015

Sep 15 2015 Erie, PA

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. This is the twelfth (12th) year that Erie County has celebrated this event.

Erie Downtown Partnership Helps Keep MHA Member Bikes Safe

Aug 1 2015 Erie, PA

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. On August 1, 2015, 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.

Open House Held May 18-22, 2015

May 18 2015 Erie, PA

Our open house held May 18-22, 2015 was an invitation to the Erie community to share with us, our updated and expanded facility. Staff members met the visitors as they toured the individual areas and explained the functions and opportunities of each unique area.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.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.

Spirituality & Mental Health Recovery Conference 2015

May 6 2015 Erie, PA

The 13th Annual Spirituallity & Mental Health Recovery Conference, "Spiritual Opportunities", was held May 6, 2015 at the Masonic Temple, Erie.

MHA Holds Candidates Forum

Apr 16 2015 Erie, PA

On Thursday, April 16, 2015, 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.

♦ 2014 ♦

MHA Participates in a Giving Tree Program to Benefit Children at Kid's Café

Dec 9 2014 Erie, PA

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. 9 2014th. Stop by the MHA building and come on up to the second floor. You can't miss the tree.

MHA Staff Participate as Panel Members in Presentations at Statewide Conference

Nov 17 2014 Harrisburg, PA

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, this conference brought 850 housing providers, developers and State and local housing officials together to learn about opportunities for safe, affordable low income housing and related issues.

MHA was invited to participate in two panel presentations at this year's conference. Center Team Leader, Carla Kurpiewski was a panelist in a workshop focusing on shelter alternatives for persons who are homeless. Center Team Member, Diana Ames was also a panelist in a workshop designed to help attendees to become effective advocates for their programs and the low income populations. Both represented the topics and MHA well.

Erie Gives Day

Aug 12 2014 Erie, PA

Thank you to the 34 donors who supported the Warming Center at MHA on Erie Gives Day on Aug. 12th, 2014. With their generous contributions and the prorated match from the Erie Community Foundation, GE Transportation, Erie Insurance Exchange and Presque Isle Downs and Casino, a total of $2,249 was raised in this year’s campaign. This total represents a new record for Erie Gives donations for MHA.

Last winter’s brutal weather took quite a toll on our resources to support the Warming Center at MHA and we are still working hard to recover so that we can be ready for what is predicted to be another cold winter ahead. The Erie Gives effort helps us get closer to being financially prepared but we still have a ways to go. So, please keep the Warming Center in mind as you consider any Fall philanthropic plans.
Thanks again to all those who gave on Erie Gives Day. Thanks and congratulations to Rita Wheeler for her efforts and leadership with this year’s Erie Gives Day planning and to LuAnn Gossett, Danielle DiFilippo, and Pat Stucke for their work on the Warming Center at MHA donation request video.

MHA Presents at AFL/CIO Event

May 9 2014 Erie, PA

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.

Very Successful Year for 2014 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Jun 7 2014 Erie, PA

Thanks to all who registered and donated for MHA in this year's 2014 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.

♦ 2013 ♦

Black History Month Celebration

Feb 19 2014 Erie, PA

MHA celebrated Black History Month on Feb 19th, 2013. Keeping with this year's theme "Building a Brighter Future through Education and Diversity", Eric Jackson, a graduate student at Edinboro University, produced an event that included voter registration, community service awards, guest speakers, spiritual music and refreshments.

Event Photos

♦ 2012 ♦

Celebrating our volunteers: National Volunteer Week April 15-21

Apr 20 2012 Erie, PA

A party was held Apr 20th, 2012 to recognize the many contributions of the volunteers at the Mental Health Association. During the last 12 months, 219 different volunteers have given 7,175 hours of their lives to the betterment of our community. The focus of these efforts vary from Art Class to Woodworking and include 55 categories.

The Mental Health Association has always stepped up to aid sister non-profit agencies in their missions whenever possible. For example, our volunteers have performed mail handling and office tasks for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Upper Room of Erie, reordered and shelved materials for the library at NAMI Erie and recently created a new web site for Upper Room of Erie. We visit those hospitalized at Warren State Hospital and offer encouragement and socialization. We visit the Corry Counseling Center and share life experiences with members. These are but a few of the numerous efforts we make to reach out and assist whenever possible.

We try to be responsible stewards of our neighborhood. Our volunteers keep our property neat and clean by collecting trash, pulling weeds, and planting flowers and shrubs where possible. We also maintain our building by painting what ought to be painted and cleaning what needs to be cleaned.

Our members are guided in the use of internet technology and personal computer usage in our computer lab by volunteers. In our computer training facility volunteers provide hands on learning of basic computer. This hands on learning is intended to improve members' employment chances.

♦ 2011 ♦

♦ 2010 ♦

Wellness Recovery Action Plan Groups Form

Dec 1 2010 Erie, PA

In December 2010, the Erie Community Foundation approved a grant to the Mental Health Association of NW PA for the purpose of offering four WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) groups. WRAP is a self- monitoring wellness tool that helps you manage your symptoms and stay well. WRAP helps you get well when things go downhill. WRAP covers such things as Wellness Tools, Triggers, Early Warning sign and Action Plans to work with symptoms.

Celebrating Success

Apr 26 2010 Erie, PA

Three university social work interns were honored on April 26th, 2010. Fifty staff and members of the MHA gathered to celebrate their successes. Amy Lechner and Jessica Clancy from Edinboro University, and Katy Lynn from Gannon University, will complete their field assignments at the MHA later this month.

Bill Grove, CEO, stated that these social work majors contributed much to our mission of providing an environment for mental health recovery. He noted that their future is bright considering the many contributions they made to the MHA.

Katy Lynn, whose home is Ontario, Canada, provided a very interesting overview of her country. The group was interested in learning surprising details about our northern neighbor. Amy and Jessica introduced members with whom they worked. These members read poetry they had authored, told stories about their recovery and played the instruments they had been taught.

The event concluded with a photo session, goodbyes and a light snack.

Congratulations Amy, Jessica and Katy!

♦ 2009 ♦

Certified Peer Specialists Graduate

Apr 17 2009 Erie, PA

Twenty new Certified Peer Specialist from the Erie area graduated on April 17th, 2009. The celebration was held at the Blasco Library. Recovery Innovations from Phoenix, AZ supplied the trainer, Chris Martin. The training was challenging and encouraging with its emphasis on Recovery principles. These Peer Specialists will be added to the 36 previously trained CPSs to bring the total of peers available to offer Peer Support Services up to 56.

Keynote Address

♦ 2008 ♦

♦ 2007 ♦

Annual Health Fair

May 18 2007 Erie, PA

Health Fair "My Health Matters" sponsored by the MHA and Erie Weed&Seed Program, was held on 5-18-2007 between 1PM and 4PM at the Booker T. Washington Center. Twenty-six different organizations offered healthy activities and information to different minority populations. Over 100 people participated in the activities. Thirteen people won raffle items. Thank you to everyone who made this event successful.

Heath Fair Details and Photos

Employment Fair

Mar 19 2007 Erie, PA

The MHA conducted an 'Employment Fair' on March 19, 2007. This event has been successful recently and was therefore repeated. Numerous consumers took advantage of this opportunity to seek employment locally. The event was well received and will be held again during the fourth quarter of 2007.

♦ 2006 ♦

Give Kids A Smile Day

Sep 15 2006 Erie, PA

We are proud to have been participants in the 2006 "Erie's Give Kids a Smile And Sealant Day!" The Erie County Weed and Seed Public Health Committee promotes this annual event which was held at Booker T. Washington Center.

Sue Bennett Room Dedication

May 19 2006 Erie, PA

The Susan L. Bennett Recovery Resource Room, located at the Mental Health Association, was dedicated on May 19th, 2006.

Details and images of ceremony

♦ 2005 ♦

Winning T-shirt Now Available

Aug 15 2005 Erie, PA

The winning design from the T-shirt Design Contest organized by Ken Zacherl has been selected. You or your organization should consider placing orders for this 2005 Edition now.

  • Attractive Design
  • Functional Style
  • Reasonable Price
  • Support the Home Team

Ordering Information

♦ 2004 ♦

Arts & Culture Center Opening Celebration

Jul 27 2004 Erie, PA

The MHA opened the Arts and Culture Center with an opening ceremony on July 27th, 2004

Visit Gallery