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Mental Health Association Experiences Growth and Change

November 19, 2018

With significant growth in recent years, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) has also experienced transitions in leadership. Pictured (from left) at a celebration of some of these changes are new Board President Ian Eastman, former executive director Kia Briggs, Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, and new Executive Director Steven Cobb.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Formed in 1999, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) became a peer-run organization in 2005.

With the acceptance of the need for more recovery services, in 2015 the MHA became a United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Community Partner, and now has 15 full- and three part-time employees.

MHA Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney recently emceed an event that recognized a significant transition at the organization: the departure of Executive Director Kia Briggs and the promotion of Associate Director Steven Cobb to Executive Director.

More than a decade ago Briggs was only the second full-time person to join the staff. Cobb was the third and has been part of the MHA for seven years.

The tributes to Briggs's accomplishments and the confidence in Cobb's leadership were numerous.

Speakers included newly-elected Board President Ian Eastman, outgoing President Carm Micciche, Board Secretary Marie Anderson, Chautauqua County Commissioner of Social Services/Public Health Director and Advisory Board Member Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Deputy Commissioner of Social Services/Adult, Child & Family Services and Advisory Board Member Leanna Luka-Conley, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene Project Coordinator Misty Pennington, AAUW representative and MHA volunteer Janet Forbes, Katrina Fuller representing Congressman Tom Reed, Advisory Board Member Dr. Betsy Kidder, MHA CFO Jenny Rowe, and New York State Senator Andy Goodell.

Briggs is departing to take a position closer to home, where she can spend more time with her young son. She shared her appreciation for having been able "to work with an amazing group of people" and said to everyone present, "Without all of you, I would not be where I am."

Cobb said that from Briggs he learned that stigma is the biggest obstacle to recovery and that the opposite of stigma is love. He noted that while sometimes we are afraid to use the word, "The reason we're here is because of love."

Dr. Ney acknowledged the presence of other important MHA supporters including United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Executive Director Amy Rohler, Sheldon Foundation Executive Director Linda Swanson, and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Julie Apperson.

Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Chautauqua MHA Director Steps Down

November 17, 2018

Steven Cobb was named the new Associate Director for the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. P-J Photo by William Mohan

Jamestown Post-Journal - PAGE ONE - WILLIAM MOHAN wmohan@post-journal.com

To celebrate the change, a farewell-promotion party was held on Friday at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County offices at the Gateway Center in Jamestown.

Executive director Kia Briggs stepped down. Associate director Steven Cobb was appointed to her position. Briggs was the second person to be hired full time to MHA's staff. Briggs joined MHA in 2007. Cobb was the third full-time staff member at MHA, and has been with the organization for seven years.

Briggs' retirement was announced after she accepted an unexpected opportunity that would allow her to be closer to her family.

MHA Advisory Board Chairwoman Dr. Lillian Ney introduced each speaker as well as credited those in attendance. Along with Ney, Briggs and Cobb, 11 people addressed the attendees. Some of the speakers were former addicts who had come to give thanks to Briggs, others were former members of MHA.

"We're indebted to Kia who has done a remarkable job here," Ney said. "She has made so many inroads for us at the MHA. It is really quite remarkable. She has made wonderful collaborations with various organizations, and brought MHA to a new place and everyone in our community can benefit from that."

Ney also thanked Cobb and the MHA staff for arranging the event. Along with Ney, Briggs, and Cobb, 11 MHA volunteers and dignitaries addressed the attendees. Eight members of MHA spoke.

Included were Board President Ian Eastman; Former President Carm Micciche; Board Secretary Marie Anderson; Commissioner of Health and Human services Christine Skyler; Deputy Commissioner of Human Services Leanna Luka-Conley; Assistant Representative for Mental Hygiene Services director Patricia Brinkman; Advisory Board member Betsy Kidder and Chief Financial Officer, Jenny Roe.

Three other speakers also commented on Briggs. They were American Association of University Women Member Janet Forbes; Katrina Fuller representing U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.

Others in attendance were UPMC Psychiatric Analyst July Aperson and Sheldon Foundation Executive Director Linda Swanson.

Briggs spoke fondly of her time at MHA.

She also thanked the attendees for their time in acknowledging her work. She also spoke highly of the transition.

"I'm very confident in this direction with Stephen Cobb as the new executive director," Briggs said. "I feel completely gracious as well as confident that I am able to work with an amazing group of people that are able to help inspire people to believe in themselves."

Briggs also described how she felt lost in her life, and also sympathized with others who felt the same.

"In the beginning I truly felt that I had destroyed my life, had no direction, had no support system even to believe in," Briggs said. "I was only 23, so for anyone it doesn't have to stop no matter where you are at your point in life." She also spoke on how she hopes to carry out her future her work.

"I hope to always be an invaluable asset to the recovery community as well as Chautauqua County," Briggs said.

A former drug addict himself, Cobb also emphasized how Briggs effectively changed his life during his recovery.

"Kia taught me that the opposite of stigma is love," Cobb said. "That's the love that Kia has brought to the MHA."

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Jamestown Coin Club Contributes to Mental Health Association

November 16, 2018

At their recent executive committee meeting, officers of the Jamestown Coin Club voted to make a contribution to Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. Those present were (seated from left) Gloria Ross, Bob Ross, Steve Hatfield, Larry Crook, (standing from left) Don Hook, Mike Fay, Chuck Brininger, Jim Dye, Scott Kerr, and John Boner.

Jamestown, N.Y. - At a recent meeting, the executive committee of the Jamestown Coin Club voted to make a donation to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

As club president Chuck Brininger read from the donation request form, "The MHA is a peer support recovery center that promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. The MHA is currently working with the Manufacturers Association to increase the pool of prospective employees, improve retention rates, and reduce turnover."

With the exception of the December holiday party, the Jamestown Coin Club meets regularly on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Erie 2 BOCES Center on Route 394 in Ashville. Doors open at 6 p.m. and meetings begin at 7 p.m.

These monthly get-togethers include door prizes and raffles and are highlighted by an auction of coins submitted by members. Annual membership is $10. Guests are welcome to participate at no charge. March and August meetings are junior guest nights.

The group sponsors coin shows in March and September at the American Legion Herman Kent Post 777. The March show is held in conjunction with the Corry (Pennsylvania) Coin Club.

For more information about the Jamestown Coin Club, call (716) 720-1591.

To learn more about the Mental Health Association, located in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street in Jamestown, call (716) 661-9044 or visit www.mhachautauqua.org or www.facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

November 14, 2018

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County FAREWELL-PROMOTION PARTY

Friday, November 16, 2018

3-5 p.m., Mental Health Association Remarks at 4 p.m.

Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y.

You are invited to cover and participate in this special recognition, as the Mental Health Association appreciates the 11 years of service of departing Executive Director Kia Briggs and welcomes Associate Director Steven Cobb to that position. Remarks are planned for 4 p.m.

Among the speakers will be Briggs, Cobb, and Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney.

For more information, contact:

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MHA Invitation to Farewell-Promotion Party

November 7, 2018

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) invites the public to join in a party saying goodbye to Executive Director Kia Briggs as she leaves her position and celebrating the promotion of Steven Cobb as he assumes it. The event is set for 3-5 p.m., Friday, November 16, at the MHA. Pictured here are (from left) MHA Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian V. Ney, Board Chair Carm Micciche, Briggs, and Cobb.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Saying goodbye is never easy.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is making their farewell to Executive Director Kia Briggs easier by welcoming Associate Director Steven Cobb as their new Executive Director at the same time.

The public is invited to participate in the Farewell-Promotion Party on Friday, November 16, 2018, 3-5 p.m. at the MHA, Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown.

Formed in 1999, the Mental Health Association became a peer-run organization in 2005. Briggs was only the second full-time person to join the staff. Cobb was the third and has been part of the MHA over for seven years.

With the acceptance of the need for more recovery services, in 2015 the MHA became a United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Community Partner. The MHA now has 16 full- and three part-time employees and served 683 individuals or families in its last six-months reporting period.

Briggs noted, "It has been an amazing experience watching our team of peer coaches help people regain their lives and grow beyond their past. These eleven years have been an extraordinary chapter in my life, and I will value the memories of all we have done here as a community in bringing awareness and hope to those who are in recovery."

In a letter to the MHA board Briggs explained that she decided to accept an unexpected opportunity that allows her to be closer to her family and spend more time with her young son. She also said, "I know that I am leaving the organization and this capable team in the hands of strong leadership. Steven Cobb [is]...a respected leader who focuses on the personal value of every individual while promoting the importance of collaboration and advocacy for those that have an experience of mental health or substance use."

Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Wellness Fair at Mental Health Association Presented by JCC OTA Students

November 7, 2018

Twenty-two Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (OTA) students presented a Healthy Habits Wellness Fair at the Mental Health Association on Halloween. Pictured with the students are (far left) OTA Program Director Sarah Tranum and (back right) Senior Project Manager Michael Nordin.

Jamestown, N.Y. - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) was recently the scene of a Healthy Habits Wellness Fair presented by Jamestown Community College (JCC) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students.

The Wellness Fair aimed at promoting a healthier lifestyle and helping those in recovery from substance use and/or mental health disorders to regain their independence and increase their performance of daily activities.

As part of their eight-week Level 1 fieldwork placements at the MHA, JCC OTA students Jennifer Trusso and Lexi Lewis took the lead in planning the event. Working with JCC OTA Program faculty and Senior Project Manager Michael Nordin, all 22 students in the Community Based Practice class took part in the group project.

The students worked together to decide what topics would be displayed at each station, the layout of the fair, and the placement of stations. Information and activities were geared toward all aspects of daily life, including eating healthy, rest and relaxation, work, education, exercise, sleep, depression management, play, social participation, anxiety, money management, creating success, job interview skills, and how to dress for an interview.

The MHA Knitting for Wellness group that meets regularly on Wednesday mornings also had a display as did UPMC Chautauqua.

A luncheon was part of the event that was free and open to the public.

The program was made possible by an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The grant's purpose was to develop a community-based teaching clinic that would enhance the work skills of the OTA students while providing services to MHA participants.

The Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Receives SOPHi Award

October 26, 2018

Earlier this month the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) received a Spotlight on Population Health (SOPHi) Award. The MHA was among only seven organizations recognized by the Population Health Collaborative that works towards improving population health in Western New York by connecting diverse groups and aligning resources and expertise. Pictured are MHA Peer Specialist Sheridan Smith and Associate Director Steven Cobb (holding the award), who were in Buffalo to receive the award, and MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is one of seven Western New York organizations to receive a 2018 SOPHi Award.

Spotlight on Population Health (SOPHi) awards focus on population health organizational achievements in the eight counties of WNY. They are presented by the Population Health Collaborative, an organization that works towards improving population health in WNY by connecting diverse groups and aligning resources and expertise.

MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb and Peer Specialist Sheridan Smith were at the fourth annual SOPHi Awards & Expo at Buffalo RiverWorks to receive the award. The other recipients were Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, Create a Healthier Niagara Falls Collaborative, Evergreen Health, Greater Buffalo United Accountable Healthcare Network, Help Me Grow WNY, and Patient Voices Network.

The Mental Health Association also participated in the Expo at the October 5 event.

The MHA was nominated for this prestigious award by Lisa Schmidtfrerick-Miller, Healthy Communities Consultant for the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services. In her nomination, Schmidtfrerick-Miller wrote, "From our point of view at the Health Department, the MHA meets a critical need and closes a gap in our community for ongoing support of those in recovery. MHA has been successful in advocating for individuals with mental illness and substance abuse disorder, and has helped our community to become more knowledgeable and accepting. MHA's work improves the health and wellness of a population at risk, and their collaborative efforts help to strengthen our community."

Population Health Collaborative's website notes, "We know that sustainable change requires a multi-sector approach to community health, safety and wellness. Let's bring together community leaders and local organizations to support all 1.5 million residents across the region to live well – by building better service delivery systems, supporting positive choices, pursuing policy and environmental change and improving their own behaviors."

To learn more about the Population Health Collaborative, visit pophealthwny.org.

The Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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JCC OTA Students Presenting Wellness Fair at Mental Health Association Wednesday, October 31

October 18, 2018

Students in the Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program are presenting a Healthy Habits Wellness Fair at the Mental Health Association. Planning the Wednesday, October 31, event are Jennifer Trusso (left) and Lexi Lewis. The Wellness Fair is free and open to the public

Jamestown, N.Y. - Last fall Jamestown Community College (JCC) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students presented a Healthy Habits Wellness Fair at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The event was such a success that a new cadre of students is busy planning a repeat of the event for Wednesday, October 31, 11 a.m.-1 p.m

The Wellness Fair aims at promoting a healthier lifestyle and helping those who may be in recovery from substance use and/or mental health disorders to regain their independence and increase their performance of daily activities. Some of these areas include play and leisure, career/job skills, coping skills, social skills, hygiene, grooming, money management and homemaking.

JCC OTA students Jennifer Trusso and Lexi Lewis, who have Level 1 fieldwork placements at the MHA, are taking the lead in planning the Wellness Fair. Working with JCC OTA Program faculty and Senior Project Manager Michael Nordin, all 22 students in the Community Based Practice class who will be involved in this group project.

A luncheon is part of the event that is free and open to the public.

The program is made possible by an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The grant's purpose is to develop a community-based teaching clinic that will enhance the work skills of the OTA students while providing services to MHA participants.

The Mental Health Association is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Recovery Movement Supporters Recognized at Recovery Walk and Jam at MHA

October 6, 2018

At the recent Recovery Walk and Jam at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, three local residents were recognized for their support of the recovery movement. From left, they are Laurie Keller, Sheridan Smith, and Krista Camarata.

Jamestown, N.Y. - National Recovery Month was celebrated in Jamestown recently with a Recovery Walk and the honoring of three individuals for their substantial contributions to the recovery movement locally.

The Walk began and ended at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) in the Gateway Center on Water Street.

MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb recognized Krista Camarata, Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. Camarata was praised as a strong advocate for prevention, treatment and recovery and for her work with Chautauqua Bright Spots that supports and promotes all the positive things happening in Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) Associate Director Laurie Reynolds applauded Lauri Keller for the third successful memorial walk to benefit A Fresh Start. Keller organizes the Walks in remembrance of her daughter, McKenzie Paulson, and others who have suffered from substance use disorders.

CASAC Executive Director Melanie Witkowski commended Sheridan Smith for his work with the youth development program Awareness Theatre. Smith is creator of the video Recover Jamestown and has an ongoing commitment to Refuge Recovery groups at the MHA and St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Presentations to the honorees were made by State Senator Andrew Goodell and by Katrina Fuller on behalf of Assemblyman Tom Reed.

Chautauqua County Adult, Child & Family Services Deputy Commissioner Leanna Luka-Conley presented a proclamation on behalf of County Executive George Borello.

Jamestown City Council President Marie Carrubba read a proclamation of National Recovery Month by Mayor Sam Teresi.

UPMC Chautauqua provided refreshments and information for the event that was free and open to the public.

The Recovery Walk was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Tapestry, Evergreen Health Services, HOPE Chautauqua, Mental Health Association, and United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

An MHA Recovery Jam followed the Recovery Walk. Presentations included poetry, stories, a violin solo, and appreciations for help supporting a variety of recovery stories.

The MHA is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, peer support services, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, trainings, and family support. The MHA provides linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, and is available to assist adult individuals in identifying community resources for healthier living.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Jamestown. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Jamestown Recovery Walk at Mental Health Association, Thursday, September 27

September 13, 2018

Chautauqua County organizations providing mental health and substance use services invite you to join a Recovery Walk, Thursday, September 27, at noon in Jamestown. The short excursion along Jamestown's Riverwalk begins and ends at the Mental Health Association (MHA) in the Gateway Center, where light refreshments and an awards presentation will follow. Pictured planning for the event are MHA staffers (from left) Mark Lehere, Sean Jones, and Sheridan Smith.

Jamestown, N.Y. - In celebration of National Recovery Month, you are invited to join Chautauqua County organizations that provide mental health and substance use services at a Recovery Walk in Jamestown at noon on Thursday, September 27.

The short walk along Jamestown's Riverwalk will begin and end at the Mental Health Association in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street. Light refreshments, a story of recovery, and awards follow.

Now in its 29th year, this September observance celebrates the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

Awards will be presented to individuals for their continued support of the Recovery Movement, their determination to help individuals and families that may be dealing with addiction, and for bringing awareness to the concerns surrounding opioids.

Receiving awards will be Sheridan Smith, co-leader of Refuge Recovery groups at the MHA and St. Luke's Episcopal Church and creator of the video Recover Jamestown; Lauri Keller, who organizes the Fresh Start Recovery Walks in memory of her daughter, McKenzie Paulson; and Krista Camarata, Director of Community Impact at the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to wear their tie-dye apparel.

A similar Recovery Walk that starts and ends at Dunkirk City Hall will be held Thursday, September 20, 4 p.m. Awards there will be presented to Jeff Wentz, Jessica Falco, and Breathe Life of WNY, Inc.

Co-sponsoring the Walks are the Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Tapestry, City of Dunkirk, Evergreen Health Services, HOPE Chautauqua, Mental Health Association, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, and United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

To learn more, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

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Local Pastors Team Up to Offer Chapel Services at Mental Health Association

September 10, 2018

Under the direction of the Chapel Team, chapel services will be held at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County on Tuesday afternoons beginning September 25. Chapel Team members, pictured from left, are the Revs. Bob Hagel, First Presbyterian Church; Carolyn Stow, Kidder Memorial United Methodist Church; Tara Eastman, Tree of Life Lutheran Church; and Mark Hurst, Lander and Chandler Valley United Methodist Church. Not pictured is Rev. Luke Fodor, St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Jamestown, N.Y. - An ecumenical group of local pastors is working together to provide weekly chapel services at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The Chapel Team includes the Revs. Tara Eastman of Tree of Life Lutheran Church; Luke Fodor, St. Luke's Episcopal Church; Bob Hagel, First Presbyterian Church; Mark Hurst, Lander and Chandler Valley United Methodist Church; and Carolyn Stow, Kidder Memorial United Methodist Church.

Beginning September 25, they will offer chapel services every Tuesday, 2-3 p.m. Two of the pastors will be at each gathering.

Speaking for the Chapel Team, Rev. Eastman said, "The ecumenical pastoral team will facilitate Chapel time to assist the MHA staff and participants in meeting goals of welcome, hope and healing. We are working together to provide a safe space for people to receive spiritual support. As pastors and people, we know the importance of space for spiritual care and are thankful to the MHA for this opportunity."

Other area pastors interested in providing consistent care and support to the MHA chapel program are invited to contact Rev. Eastman at pastor@toljamestown.com.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The MHA is a peer recovery support center offering recovery coaching, services navigation, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, and family support.

The MHA has linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, SSI/SSDI income establishment, and veterans' benefits.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Plans Multiple Events for Recovery Month

September 2, 2018

The staff of Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) are planning multiple events for Recovery Month in September. Staff available for this picture were, from left, Steven Cobb, Sheridan Smith, Joe Anderson, Mark Lehere, Kia Briggs, Luis Rosa, Jennifer Diamond, Jenny Rowe, and Joseph Vaughn.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Everyone is pitching in at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) as well as working with other community organizations to plan a number of events for Recovery Month.

Recovery Month is a national observance held every September. It teaches that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. It celebrates the gains made by people in recovery, just as health improvements of those with hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease are celebrated.

Medication Assisted Therapy is the topic for 11 a.m. group meetings every Tuesday in September. The MHA and UPMC Chautauqua are jointly presenting this group to assist people using medications or thinking of using medications to support their recovery.

At Tie Dye for Hope & Suicide Awareness on Thursday, September 13, there will be refreshments and friendship from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a tie-dye workshop, 1-3 p.m. Bring a white cotton apparel item to tie-dye. Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Chautauqua County is providing the tie dye supplies; a limited number of t-shirts will be available, if needed.

You can learn how to reverse an opioid overdose and save a life at the Narcan Training, 6 p.m., Monday, September 17. Along with your training by the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, you will be given a Narcan kit.

Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) is working with several community organizations to plan Recovery Walks on Thursdays, September 20, in Dunkirk and September 27 at the MHA. The MHA event begins at noon with a short walk along the Riverwalk, followed by stories of hope, fellowship, and a 1 p.m. Recovery Jam Luncheon.

Family Support is an MHA peer support group for families and friends of people in recovery. It meets Mondays, 6-7:30 p.m., and uses CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), a program that teaches how to support those still using substances and guide them to treatment. During September, the CRAFT instructors will be available from 5 to 6 p.m. to talk with people about the MHA and the CRAFT program before the group starts at 6 p.m.

Like all MHA meetings and services, these events are free and open to the public. The MHA is in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street in Jamestown.

To learn more, call Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is a peer recovery support center. It offers recovery coaching, services navigation, peer support groups, advocacy, veterans support, employment and job support, and family support. The MHA has linkages to mental health and substance use treatment, primary care doctors, health and human services, SSI/SSDI income establishment, and veterans’ benefits.

MHA hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call (716) 661 9044 or stop in Door #14 at the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street.

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Tie-Dye for Hope & Suicide Awareness at Mental Health Association Thursday, September 13

August 30, 2018

A Tie-Dye for Hope & Suicide Awareness will be held on Thursday afternoon, September 13, at the Mental Health Association (MHA). The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is joining in this celebration of Recovery Month. Getting ready for the event are avid tie-dyer Morgan Merrill-Larson (left) and MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs.

Jamestown, N.Y. - You are invited to a Tie-Dye for Hope & Suicide Awareness at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) on Thursday, September 13.

The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Chautauqua County is joining with the MHA to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide and celebrate September as Recovery Month

There will be refreshments and friendship from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a 1-3 p.m. tie-dye workshop with local resource tables.

Bring a white cotton apparel item to tie-dye; a limited number of t-shirts will be available, if needed. The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is providing the tie-dye supplies.

The MHA is in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street in Jamestown. Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention of Chautauqua County

Now in its 29th year, Recovery Month is a national observance of SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. It also honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

To learn more about the Tie-Dye, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) is spearheading plans for Recovery Walks on Thursdays, September 20, 4 p.m., from Dunkirk City Hall to the pier and back, and September 27, noon, from the MHA along the Riverwalk and return for a Recovery Jam Luncheon.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. It works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Saturday, August 18, Rock'n the Road to Recovery Walk Benefits A Fresh Start Programs

July 31, 2018

Rock'n the Road to Recovery will celebrate what would have been McKenzie Paulson's twenty-sixth birthday and remember others who have been lost to substance use disorders. The walk starts from the Falconer Fire Hall at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 18. A Family Friendly Birthday Celebration follows from noon to 4 p.m., featuring live music, a meal, children's activities, and more.

Jamestown, N.Y. - In celebration of what would have been McKenzie Paulson's twenty-sixth birthday and in remembrance of others who have suffered from substance use disorders, Rock'n the Road to Recovery will be held Saturday, August 18.

Same-day registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Falconer Fire Hall, 115 Davis Street, Falconer. The two-mile walk starts at 11 a.m.

This recovery and awareness walk takes place rain or shine.

The public is invited to the Family Friendly Birthday Celebration following the walk from noon to 4 p.m. at the fire hall.

The afternoon features performances by Take Two, Ken Hardley, and Anthony Flint. There will also be birthday cake, a hot dog or hamburger dinner for $5, a Huffy Bike raffle, 50/50 drawings, and face, rock and t-shirt painting for children.

Cost for the walk, t-shirt, birthday celebration and one dinner is $25. To register online, sponsor a walker, or make a donation, visit agfmtp.wufoo.com/forms/recovery. (Only online registrations prior to August 6 are guaranteed a t-shirt.)

Despite her efforts at recovery, McKenzie Paulson passed away from her struggle with drugs at the age of 23. Her mother, Lauri Keller of Falconer, is organizing this event, now in its third year.

Keller noted that her daughter was a typical All-American girl who, with her good grades, graduated a year early from Falconer High School. McKenzie enjoyed working with the elderly and those with disabilities and went to Jamestown Community College with plans to go into nursing.

This year the focus of the walk is to applaud the efforts of the volunteers with A Fresh Start and all the agencies and organizations that are assisting those with substance use disorders.

Proceeds benefit two A Fresh Start programs in Jamestown: the Marvin and Dolly Sutton Fresh Start House, a safe and secure home for women in recovery from substance use disorders and their children, and Child Warriors, helping children who have been touched by substance use disorders.

Created in memory of Alex Foulk, A Fresh Start is dedicated to helping people find a fresh start, free from substance use and alcoholism. For those who need to talk but are not sure where to start, there are 5-7 p.m. meetings every Wednesday evening at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 410 North Main Street, Jamestown.

Other local resources include:

Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council in the Springchorn Building, 501 West Third Street, Suites 3 and 4, (716) 664-3608 in Jamestown, and 51 East Third Street, Suite 2, in Dunkirk, (716) 366-4623.

Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene Department in Jamestown (716) 661-8330, Dunkirk (716) 363-3550, and Mayville (716) 753-4104.

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, open six days a week in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, in Jamestown, (716) 661-9044, with certified peer specialists and more than two dozen peer support groups.

UPMC Chautauqua Mental Health & Chemical Dependency Programs, South County (716) 664-8641 and North County (716) 363-0018.

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New Choices in Recovery Educational Forum at Mental Health Association Saturday Morning, August 11

July 25, 2018

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) Executive Director Kia Briggs and Associate Director Steven Cobb are making plans for the New Choices in Recovery program at the MHA on Saturday, August 11. This will be an opportunity for Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use related conditions to learn how to access services from a number of community-based programs.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use related conditions can benefit from a number of community-based programs, including managed care, Health and Recovery Plans (HARP), Health Homes, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).

But there are a lot of misconceptions around HARP and HCBS, and it can be confusing.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 11, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is hosting New Choices in Recovery to clear up some of this confusion, to educate people about these new possibilities, and to encourage them to take the steps to make use of them.

Participants can learn about coordinating peer and family support, work and school, and about transportation services that are now available. They can take a fresh look at their health, work, social and other personal goals and meet with someone who can help their providers work more closely together so they can achieve those goals.

Including short video vignettes, the presentation will last about 75 minutes. It is delivered in an informal, conversational and interactive manner with lots of encouragement for shared identification and empathy.

David Ferencz is coming from Albany to speak at this event. Ferencz is New Choices in Recovery Community Outreach Specialist with New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS).

While providers are welcome, this is a peer-delivered training for a peer audience and is meant to be very practical. This is a purely educational initiative; no direct services will be offered.

The presentation is done in connection with the Mental Health Empowerment Project and The Association of Substance Abuse Providers with the support of the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, and The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

The MHA is a designated HCBS provider in peer empowerment services and will continue to provide support services free of charge.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The MHA offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. It works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua

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Mental Health Association Has Moving Recovery Jam and Big BBQ

June 21, 2018

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) had their first Recovery Jam and Big BBQ on June 14, Give Big CHQ Day. Among those who shared their experiences were (pictured from left) Sharon Lawson, Ronald Morin, Kaycee Hale, Sean Jones, MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb, and Morgan Merrill-Larson.

Jamestown, N.Y. - In celebration of Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's recent Give Big CHQ, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) held its first ever Recovery Jam followed by a Big BBQ.

More than 50 people assembled in the MHA's main room. Using a microphone so everyone could hear, Associate Director Steven Cobb noted that there are different paths to sobriety. The purpose of the Recovery Jam was to give some MHA participants the opportunity to share the variety of pathways that helped them regain their lives.

One at a time, six people then took the mic, each capturing the audience in their own way.

You did not have to be a poetry lover to be profoundly moved by the incredibly personal original poetry shared by two different women.

It was hard not to be tearful along with the mother who told of losing her son to an overdose – three days after a doctor said he couldn't be treated because he showed no symptoms. As she said, "A parent should never have to bury a child." She is now a facilitator for the MHA Women's Peer Support Group and co-facilitates Parents of Angels, the group for parents who have experienced the tragic death of a child.

A man's music had people looking at each other, wondering if they were hearing a recording of a train and a dog, not just the harmonica that he was playing.

One man described how "the MHA saved my life." Another said that after 24 years of substance use disorder, during which he married and became a father, it took his third DUI for him to seek help, through meditation and then MHA's Refuge Recovery. Now sober for three and a half years, he asserted that, "Recovery is possible. Change is possible. Stay on your path, stay focused on being the real you. Remember to love yourself." He closed with thanking the MHA and "everyone here."

Cobb closed the Recovery Jam with the reminder that it was Give Big CHQ Day.

With beautiful, if windy, weather, everyone enjoyed the Big BBQ meal prepared by Sean Jones and served outdoors beside the river.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Having Recovery Jam and Big BBQ on Give Big CHQ Day, Thursday, June 14

June 11, 2018

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is holding a Recovery Jam and Big BBQ on Give Big CHQ Day, Thursday, June 14. Your support of the MHA on Give Big CHQ Day could support programs like those provided by JCC Occupational Therapy Interns. Former intern Meredith Sheesley is pictured with an MHA participant.

Jamestown, N.Y. - This Thursday, June 14, is Give Big CHQ, and the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is doing something to celebrate.

Give Big CHQ is a 24-hour online fundraising event coordinated by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. It is designed to raise as many dollars as possible for local nonprofits across our region.

From noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, the MHA is having a Recovery Speaker Jam followed by The Big BBQ. People will be sharing how recovery is happening for them. Lunch will be provided by the United Christian Advocacy Network.

Here's what your Give Big CHQ donation to the MHA that day could provide:

  • $18 - recovery books to people new to the MHA
  • $35 - an evening peer group for families supporting people in recovery
  • $50 - an evening of yoga for families in recovery
  • $65 - topsoil and seeds for 15 people to learn to grow healthy food

Supporting the Mental Health Association through Give Big CHQ is easy: On Thursday, just visit givebigchq.org, search for "Mental Health" and make your contribution.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua

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Free CASAC Parenting Program at Mental Health Association Begins Wednesday, June 6

May 29, 2018

It is not easy to be a parent today. Beginning Wednesday, June 6, Kathleen Colby, Director of Training Services at the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, will present “Active Parenting.” The six-session program presented at the Mental Health Association is free and will give you skills to achieve a fuller, more satisfying family life.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Parenting today is a serious challenge.

"Active Parenting" is a program that helps parents of children ages 5 to 12 learn the skills to achieve a full and satisfying family life and to help their children achieve greater happiness and success.

Thanks to a partnership between the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) and the Mental Health Association (MHA) and a grant from the Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant, this video and discussion workshop is being offered free in Jamestown.

Kathleen Colby, Director of Training Services at CASAC, will present the six-session program from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, June 6, 13, 20, 27, and July 11 and 18, 2018. Classes will be held at the MHA in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door 14, Suite 7, in Jamestown.

The workshop will show you effective ways to:

  • Use nonviolent discipline that really works
  • Open up lines of communication - before they get clogged
  • Teach responsibility, courage, and other important character traits
  • Encourage school success in seven steps
  • Prevent future problems with drugs, alcohol, and sex
  • Defuse power struggles with your children
  • Stimulate independence as your child grows older
  • Stop scolding and start smiling with your kids again!

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

For information and to register, contact Kathleen Colby at (716) 664-3608 or kjcolby@casacweb.org.

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MHA Group Celebrates World Wide Knit in Public Day and Jamestown Public Market Opening, Saturday, June 9

May 23, 2018

Members of the Mental Health Association's Knitting for Wellbeing group are looking forward to sharing their new passion on World Wide Knit in Public Day during the Jamestown Public Market’s opening day, Saturday, June 9. Pictured working on their latest projects are group members, from left, Gloria Pacheco, Dan Carson, and Krystina Papaserge.

Jaestown, N.Y. - Saturday, June 9, not only marks the opening of the Jamestown Public Market, it is also World Wide Knit in Public Day.

To celebrate both these events, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) Knitting for Wellbeing group will be part of the Market's Opening Day festivities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its location between Second and Third Streets in downtown Jamestown. Group members will share their love of knitting and its therapeutic value, while staff and board members showcase all the services and collaborations.

In February, community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore started the Knitting for Wellbeing group that meets at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. Anyone is welcome to participate and, like all of the MHA's services and programs, there is no charge.

Forbes, an RN who worked in health care and non-profit organizations before her retirement, has been fascinated by the wealth of recent research that confirms the many benefits of knitting - her lifelong passion. Knitting is linked to reducing depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness and isolation. While distracting from chronic pain, it increases a sense of wellbeing, accomplishment, and inclusion in society. Knitting provides a portable, easy to learn skill that calms the mind and keeps a person's hands happily occupied while creating beautiful items for oneself or a gift for family and friends.

"We have been delighted with the joy that the participants express with learning a new skill that helps them self-calm and focus while knitting beautiful hats, scarves, and baby items. It is such fun to listen to needles clicking as we chat and learn together," said Forbes. "Knitting with a variety of yarn textures and colors gives knitters an opportunity to express their creativity and enjoy the tactile and visual aspects of fiber arts."

Begun in 2005, World Wide Knit in Public Day is the largest knitter-run event in the world. Last year there were 1,125 Knit-In-Public local events, each put together by a volunteer or a group of volunteers. Events have been held in 54 different countries including Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United States and more.

A United Way Partner Organization since 2015, the MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Recognizes JCC's OTA Interns Invaluable Contributions

April 20, 2018

The cover story in the recently published Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) newsletter expresses appreciation for the student interns from Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (OTA). Standing in front of one of the murals of earlier OTA students are, from left, the Program's Senior Project Manager Mike Nordin, MHA's Director of Student Activities Ken Yergens, and current intern Justin Jimenez.

Jamestown, N.Y. - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) has been a placement for students in Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (OTA) since 2010.

In the cover story in the MHA's recently published Spring 2018 Newsletter, MHA Director of Student Activities Ken Yergens says, "It would be tough to say who's benefitted more from this collaboration: the students or the MHA. We know from the feedback we get from our interns that it is a valuable learning experience for them. And all we have to do is take a look around our cheerful space to be reminded of all they've done for us!"

Yergens is referring to the brightly painted walls of MHA's common area. Under the direction of JCC's OTA Program Senior Project Manager Mike Nordin, interns designed murals to cover the broad expanses. Participants and interns worked together to bring the images to life.

Recent intern Meredith Sheesley explains, "Life begins at the end of our comfort zones. MHA is giving individuals the opportunity to stare life in the face, sit in the driver's seat, and take control of their futures. I am forever grateful to be a part of something so unique and life changing."

The newsletter also contains information about the HIV and Hepatitis C testing offered by the Evergreen Health Exchange at the MHA. Those interested can call (716) 541-0678 for more information or an appointment, or come to the Evergreen Exchange at the MHA.

A remembrance of former Chief Fiscal Officer Bob Tomb and a message from Executive Directory Kia Briggs are among the other stories.

There is a page of information about books worth reading and videos worth watching related to the opioid crisis. Included is the conclusion of British journalist and researcher Johann Hari that "the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it's connection. 'A core part of addiction, I came to think…is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.'"

The Spring 2018 edition can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on "Read Our Newsletter" at mhachautauqua.org.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua

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Special Volunteer Recognized, Evergreen Information Shared at Mental Health Association Luncheon

March 29, 2018

At the March Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA), volunteer Amy Lynch was recognized for her significant assistance to MHA and to those in recovery. Lynch is pictured here on the right with MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs, who presented her with a certificate of appreciation.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Participants at the recent Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) applauded those who achieved recovery milestones.

MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb had certificates for 14 people for advancing phases in treatment court, four for graduating/completing treatment court, and four for gaining employment.

Cobb also announced plans for Treasured Gems Makeover Day hosted by REALiFE Church of Jamestown and Community Helping Hands on April 28. Women can sign up by Saturday, March 31, at the MHA.

Cobb reminded participants that the Knitting for Wellbeing class at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays requires no experience or supplies and is open to both men and women. Other announcements were for a resume workshop and CASAC's parenting classes.

MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs recognized volunteer Amy Lynch for her significant assistance to MHA and to those in recovery. Lynch started volunteering in 2011 by offering help whenever she saw a fellow peer in need. Recently she has facilitated the group "Out of Control" every Friday at noon. The curriculum for this group is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, and looks at examples of daily situations for participants in recovery from both mental health and substance use problems.

Ian Eastman, who coordinates The Exchange for Evergreen Health, spoke to the group about how harm reduction strategies are making progress towards reducing HIV and Hepatitis C. New HIV infections across the state dropped by 9%, which is significantly better than the national average. Evergreen Health provides free and confidential HIV rapid testing, with results provided in about 20 minutes.

Eastman thanked MHA participants for participating in a Hepatitis C summit held last year in Jamestown. Their feedback was added to others around the state, resulting in Governor Cuomo making New York the first state in the country to commit to ending Hepatitis C.

Evergreen Health also provides quick and easy Hepatitis C testing. Evergreen Health in Jamestown now offers a treatment that fights the virus that causes Hepatitis C. For most patients, Hepatitis C can be cured in several months with very few side effects. For more information call (716) 541-0678 or come to the Evergreen Exchange at the MHA.

A delicious luncheon was prepared by Jan Ball ladies from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Falconer. She was assisted in serving the meal by fellow parishioners Gloria Anderson and Terese Whitford.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua

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St. Luke's Winged Ox Players Make Donation to Mental Health Association

March 20, 2018

The Winged Ox Players of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown made a donation recently to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). Pictured at the occasion are (from left) MHA Peer Specialists Jennifer Diamond and Louis Rosa with St. Luke's parishioner Shar Maisto.

Jamestown, N.Y. - The Winged Ox Players of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown recently made a significant donation to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Winged Ox Players is a theatre ministry of St. Luke's, and their donation came from the proceeds of their production last spring of Least Resistance.

Least Resistance was written by British-born Jamestown resident and playwright Richard Olson-Walter and directed by Steven Cobb, Associate Director of the MHA. It addressed the local drug epidemic through the words of those who have personally struggled or been affected by addiction.

This spring the Winged Ox Players are presenting It Can't Happen Here, a new stage adaptation by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen of Sinclair Lewis's 1935 semi-satirical political novel. Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler's aggression, the book juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press. It Can't Happen Here has been described as "a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and contemporary as today's news."

Cobb will be performing in this Winged Ox Players' production directed by Daniel Pierce. It will be presented May 11 and 12, 18 and 19 at the Willow Bay Theater. Shows begin at 7 p.m., and all tickets are free.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center. The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Knitting for Wellbeing and Other New Groups at Mental Health Association

March 12, 2018

Community volunteers Janet Forbes (left) and Jeanette Moore (right) assisted Becky Hemmis at the Knitting for Wellbeing group that meets on Wednesday mornings at the Mental Health Association. The focus and repetitive action of knitting helps with wellness recovery, and both men and women are encouraged to participate.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Knitting for Wellbeing is one of the new groups that meet weekly at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore lead the class at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. No experience is necessary, and a starter kit is provided. Both men and women are encouraged to participate.

The focus and repetitive action that knitting requires help with wellness recovery.

Forbes explained, "I decided to start this class because I know from a lifetime of knitting that it helps me relax, stay grounded, frees my busy mind while enjoying the rhythm of clicking needles. And it's just plain fun. Plus I end up with a hat, baby blanket, dishcloth, or scarf for a gift!"

At the first class, one participant said she wanted to learn to knit so she could make gifts for her first grandbaby that will be born in the fall. By her second class she had made a cell phone holder as well as a small shawl for herself. A young woman said she may reach out to her grandmother, a knitter, for help as she learns this new skill. Participants as well as the instructors help each other along, and all enjoy chatting and learning together.

Sean Jones, local chef and former owner of Jones Valhalla, has teamed up with the MHA and Daniel Brown of Farm Fresh Foods to offer a Recovery Cooking Skills group. At 10:30 on Monday mornings, Jones demonstrates some basic cooking skills for those who lack them or who need a refresher or encouragement to try again. As the owner of Farm Fresh Foods, Brown has made the donation establishing the partnership. The class runs through May.

Another new group is Eating Smart and Being Active that meets on Thursdays at 1 p.m. It is led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educator Else Alonge.

New participants are welcome to all groups, and there is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of Jamestown's Gateway Center.

MHA is a peer-run organization that offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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New Skills Groups at Mental Health Association

March 6, 2018

On Monday mornings chef Sean Jones (pictured) leads a Recovery Cooking Skills group at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). On Wednesday mornings, fellow community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore lead Knitting for Wellbeing.

Jamestown, N.Y. - New volunteer-led classes have begun meeting at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

After recognizing the significant progress of participants at the most recent Recovery Luncheon, MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb announced additions to the more than two dozen on-going groups.

At 10:30 on Monday mornings, local chef Sean Jones leads a Recovery Cooking Skills group. The former owner of Jones Valhalla has teamed up with the MHA and Daniel Brown of Farm Fresh Foods to present some basic cooking skills for those who lack them or who need a refresher or encouragement to try again. As the owner of Farm Fresh Foods, Brown has made the donation establishing the partnership. The class will run for three months.

Fellow community volunteers Janet Forbes and Jeanette Moore lead Knitting for Wellbeing at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. No experience is necessary, and a starting kit is provided. The focus and repetitive action of knitting helps with wellness recovery, and both men and women are encouraged to participate.

Cobb also announced the Eating Smart and Being Active group that meets on Thursdays at 1 p.m. It is led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educator Else Alonge.

At the luncheon, progress was recognized for two participants for beginning employment, seven for graduating from treatment court, six for advancing to Phase 2 of treatment court, and two for moving to Phase 3.

The meal was provided by United Christian Advocacy Network. Food was prepared by Christ First and Bemus Point United Methodist Churches and served by Jan Ball, Tina Ellsworth, and Charlie Hodges.

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of Jamestown’s Gateway Center.

MHA is a peer-run organization that offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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JHS Student Learn About Mental Health Awareness

February 28, 2018

JHS students Isabella Palermo, Giovana Calamunci and Karley Kennedy work on a group project during their "Youth Leadership in Mental Health" educational sessions.

A select group of tenth and eleventh grade Jamestown High School students are learning more about mental health to help their peers who may need a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear in times of struggle. The group is taking "Youth Leadership in Mental Health Awareness, an informal education session with Kia Briggs, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Chautauqua County with JHS School Psychologist, Susan Mead, coordinating and providing supervision.

The partnership is an offspring of meetings between the MHA and JHS administration that began last spring and culminated in an action plan this year. The three-phase plan started with an inservice training with JHS staff, continues with additional student sessions, and culminates with targeted training for 25 staff members later this spring. For this initial phase of skill-building, Mike McElrath, JHS Principal has enlisted the help of Mrs. Mead.

I have worked in the Jamestown Public School District, as a school psychologist, for 19 years and have seen an increased need to address the mental health needs of our students, said Mrs. Mead. Many times, within the school setting, fellow peers will be the first to notice when someone is struggling. We are striving to increase awareness about mental health among the student population. Student participation will increase their awareness of mental health signs and symptoms, while learning about common myths and facts. The student interest in this training has been phenomenal and positive. I am very proud of the students who have taking the initiative to learn more about mental health.

Mrs. Mead indicated that all students are encouraged to seek help from a trusted adult at school if they are experiencing challenges or are aware of a friend who may be having difficulty. More and more students are taking the step to be a support to their peers and advocate for help.

JHS faculty nominated students from a variety of social groups across the school who are viewed as empathetic listeners and caring individuals. The initial list of recommendations included 60 students. The first round of training includes 24 students but according to Dr. McElrath, JHS is planning to train more students over the next several years. The national standard for peer support in schools is to have 20 percent of your students trained at any given time, that’s our goal.

I am really interested in health care as career so this will really help me moving forward, said JHS junior Naleen Pimentel. I am very excited to learn more information and the actions I should take if I think someone needs help and how I can help. Everyone in this group has such a positive attitude and we hope to spread that positivity to everyone at JHS. I appreciate that I got chosen and hope I can help my peers.

The two-day session took place at St. Luke's Church with Mrs. Briggs. The Mental Health First Aid model talking points were discussed while encouraging students to take the full certification at 18 years old. The session included role-playing activities to increase empathy; warning signs of unsafe situations and the appropriate way to provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The students are given a pre-questionnaire to determine current knowledge of mental health. Discussion topics include mental health concerns in the U.S., adolescent development, what to look for including signs and symptoms, and what to do if you are concerned about a fellow student. The students are also given a list of community resources for peer referrals and some tools for how best to approach a student they think might need help. Students hope that this information will help them help others.

Because I know there are people struggling, I want to figure out how to help. A lot of these issues are a big deal for people my age, said JHS junior Josh Zielinski. Kids often think adults just don't understand what they are going through and it is very different today with social media. They feel it's easier to talk to someone their own age who can understand. We are hoping to be that person they can talk to.

JHS students who participated in the training were: Giovana Calamunci, Xaymarie Carrasquillo, Corin Derby, Olivia Gates, Nadine Glover, Grayson Holt, Katleyn Hewitt, Hannah Hornyak, Derrick Howser, Alyce Johnson, Karley Kennedy, Dylan Lydell, Mason Maggio, Gillian Mead, Gianna Melton, Kendra Nickerson, Isabella Palermo, Naleen Pimentel, Matthew Roehmholdt, Gabriella Rosario, Josh Tonkin and Josh Zielinski.

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Busti Church of God Contributes to Mental Health Association

February 22, 2018

The Busti Church of God made a donation recently to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). Pictured at the occasion are (from left) congregants Carna Pierce and Lana Keller, MHA CFO Jenny Rowe, Pastor Roy Ferguson, MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb, and congregant Norma Jean Angelo.

Jamestown, NY - Sometimes the right words can inspire positive action.

Last November Pastor Roy Ferguson of the Busti Church of God gave a sermon about realizing the wealth and bounty that we have in this community, despite being economically disadvantaged.

That sermon evolved into a fundraising drive that asked church members to donate to a fund to support community needs during the holiday season. Church members selected local non-profit organizations to support that are making an impact.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) was one of the organizations chosen.

We are so appreciative of the generosity of the good folks at the Busti Church of God, said MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb. We are using their contribution for upgrades to our restrooms. Cobb explained that this was a need created by the increase in the number of MHA participants.

The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Cornell Cooperative Extension Eat Smart Group at MHA Thursday Afternoons

February 15, 2018

At Thursday afternoon classes at the Mental Health Association, you learn about healthy eating under the leadership of Else Alonge, nutrition educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Jamestown, NY - Healthy eating classes have been added to the many groups that meet regularly at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

With a focus on nutrition and healthy living, the Eating Smart group meets weekly at 1 p.m. on Thursdays at the MHA, 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Else Alonge, nutrition educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County, leads the group based on Eat Smart New York (ESNY) Nutrition Education.

ESNY provides nutrition education materials and sponsors education events and classes in local communities on a variety of nutrition topics. These topics include healthy eating on a budget, smart shopping for vegetables and fruit, healthy meal planning, basic cooking and food safety skills, weight control and physical activity.

The goals of the Eat Smart New York program are to eat more fruits and vegetables, drink less sugar-sweetened beverages, exercise more and balance calories eaten as part of a healthy lifestyle.

For more information about Eat Smart New York, visit albany.cce.cornell.edu/eat-smart-new-york.

The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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The ACE Score Helps Us Understand Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

February 13, 2018

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study found that multiple exposures to negative childhood events increases the likelihood of being at risk for later physical, mental, emotional and social health problems. Kia Briggs, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association, believes that increased awareness of the correlation between ACE Scores and the likelihood of having a mental health or substance use problem will help improve access to local treatment and services and reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.

Jamestown, NY - It is so easy to pass judgment on people afflicted with mental health and substance use disorders.

And yet, asks Kia Briggs, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA), do we expect a person with a bleeding arm to 'get over it' or deny life-saving treatment to a diabetic or cancer patient?

Briggs finds that being aware of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, can help with understanding how early trauma can impact a person's ability to thrive as an adult.

ACEs are stressful or traumatic experiences of childhood, including physical or verbal abuse, neglect, and a range of environmental or relational factors. These factors could be growing up in a home with substance misuse, mental illness, parental discord or crime, witnessing domestic violence, or the absence of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment.

These childhood stressors can injure the developing brain, impairing the brain's physical development and function. ACEs can cause kids to have difficulties learning, making friends, and trusting adults or authority figures. They can have a long-term impact on mental and physical health issues and social problems.

As adults, these experiences do not go away. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study found a stunning link between multiple stressful events in childhood and chronic diseases like asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as social, emotional and behavioral problems that can include substance use disorders, isolation, incarceration, lack of employment, depression, violence, personal encounters of a violent act, and suicide.

An ACE score is a tally of these different characteristics of a rough childhood. The ACE Study found that the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later health problems. (Worth noting is that the study's participants were 17,000 mostly white, middle and upper-middle class college-educated individuals with good jobs and great health care.)

While there are children who experience multiple negative occurrences and still develop the skills necessary to successfully transition into adulthood, a high ACE score reduces that likelihood.

Briggs believes that an understanding of the significance of ACEs can improve access to local treatment and services and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders.

Instead of asking What’s wrong with you?, people in helping situations who use the evidence from ACEs studies will practice trauma-informed language like What happened to you?

When a person discloses the traumatic events in their childhood, it can humanize them: they can be seen as someone who wants to become healthy instead of someone whose situation is hopeless. The long-term impact of treatment and support can help break the cycle of ACEs in families.

You can learn more about ACEs at buncombeaces.org and acestoohigh.com. To find your ACE Score, google NPR Ace Quiz.

Information about ACEs was in the MHA’s most recent newsletter. The newsletter can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on Read Our Newsletter at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower adult individuals in attaining self-identified goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes while also celebrating recovery milestones. There is currently no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Rick Huber Praised at Mental Health Association

January 29, 2018

Live music, helium balloons, and an array of edibles made for a party atmosphere when the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) celebrated the contributions that now-retired Rick Huber made to the welfare of the community, reducing stigma associated with mental health, and fighting the local opioid epidemic. Huber is pictured here with (from the left) MHA Executive Director Kia Narraway-Briggs, Board President Carm Micciche, and Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney.

Jamestown, N.Y. - It was a community-wide celebration last Friday (January 26) when the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) honored Rick Huber on his recent retirement.

As Board President Carm Micciche explained, The MHA Board of Directors, the Advisory Board, and the staff wanted to hold this retirement recognition to honor and thank Rick for his many years of commitment, dedication and selfless service to the Mental Health Association. It was under Huber's leadership that the MHA became a peer-run organization in 2005.

Live music by Vince Micciche and Dalt Berringer and helium balloons in the MHA's blue and yellow colors made for a festive party atmosphere. The array of edibles included a large fruit tray donated by Brigiotta's, a decorated cake and cheese tray donated by A Fresh Start, and cookies and other treats provided by members of the Board of Directors.

MHA Executive Director Kia Narraway-Briggs welcomed everyone then introduced Chief Fiscal Officer Jenny Rowe. Rowe shared messages from staff members that began, There has not been a day here at the MHA that Rick had not put his full heart into. Each one of us cannot express how your simple and kind words gave us hope. You believed in this place, in us, when nobody else did, and for that, we are more than grateful.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, Carm Micciche dedicated the sensory room in Huber’s honor. The wood plaque she presented features the Mental Health logo bell and the inscription Welcome to Rick's place: dedicated 2018 in honor of Rick Huber. It is now displayed over the doorway to the space created by Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students.

Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney expressed a great big thank you to Rick for his inspiration, courage and passionate and persistent advocacy on behalf of individuals and their families. He worked tirelessly through the years and nurtured the MHA though many difficult times. Rick has brought the MHA to where it is now, a successful and appreciated organization.

Dr. Ney recognized and welcomed to the podium a number of community representatives: Lori Cornell on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, Jacqueline Chiarot-Phelps on behalf of Congressman Tom Reed, County Executive George Borrello, former County Executive Vince Horrigan, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, Judges John LaMancuso and Michael Bobseine, Chautauqua County legislator Elizabeth Rankin, and Kathy Swanson for Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene Director Patricia Brinkman.

After reading a proclamation from New York State Senator Cathy Young and a message from Chautauqua County Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler, Dr. Ney expressed appreciation for their support to Tory Irgang and Lisa Lynde of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Amy Rohler and Krista Camarata of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, Linda Swanson of the Sheldon Foundation, and to the Lenna Foundation.

MHA Advisory Board Vice Chair Dale Robbins spoke of Huber’s importance in the community’s coming to recognize the extent of the local opioid epidemic. He quoted Linda Swanson as pointing out that Rick was the canary in the mine and gave examples of Huber's being aggressive in sending his message.

When it was the guest of honor's turn to speak, Huber said he was truly humbled by the outpouring for him. He wants others to love everyone who comes through the door, love God, and love yourself, noting that the only difference between himself and the staff and participants is time and recovery.

Huber closed the event by giving a plaque to Dr. Ney inscribed In Honor of Dr. Lillian Ney for her ongoing support and dedication to the MHA.

Other MHA Advisory Board members are Leanna Luka-Conley, Dr. Betsy Kidder, Jim McElrath, Jr., Christine Schuyler, Harry Snellings, Todd Tranum, and Michelle Hammond Turner. Other Board of Directors members are Vice President Mary Keeney, Secretary Marie Anderson, Treasurer Robert Tomb, Ian Eastman, Peggy Hallberg, Lindsey Isaac-Lopus, Sharon Lawson, Kimberly Lombard, Heather Panczykowski, and Patrick Slagle.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Rick Huber Looks Back On Time At MHA

January 21, 2018

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, left, with Rick Huber, former Mental Health Association executive director, who will be celebrating his retirement Friday. Submitted Photo

KATRINA FULLER "County Reporter" kfuller@post-journal.com

It's been such a blessing, said Rick Huber of his time at the Mental Health Association.

Huber, former MHA executive director, said the time he spent at the organization taught him a lot, but he doesn't feel like he did anything special - he just opened the door.

I had three rules: love God, love yourself and love everyone who comes through the door, he said. That's the three rules we used to run the place, and it worked.

Huber is retiring after 16 years of service to the association, which he said started out as a fairly small entity, and he originally served on the board. Then, several years ago, the decision was made to make the organization peer-based.

Huber said the model was successful, and there isn't another organization like it in New York state.

It's grown tremendously over the years, he said. The success rate is high, and I know it will continue to grow under Kia (Narraway-Brigg's) leadership.

Over the years, Huber said working with the board of directors, the advisory board, officials from throughout the county and the people of the MHA has been a blessing. Huber said the best part of working at the MHA has been the success stories and getting to help so many people.

Part of the success of the organization is the lack of judgment people face there, Huber said. Rather than simply being an organization, Huber said he looks at it like a big, dysfunctional family. One of the greatest compliments Huber said he ever received was when someone told him he didn't run the MHA like an executive director, but more like a benevolent grandfather.

It's been such a pleasure to watch people grow, he said. When someone would walk through the door, I'd think 'I wonder who is really in there,' and then we'd get to see.

Huber said another factor that made the association successful was the availability of staff and peer counselors.

We competed with the drug dealers, he said. If you want drugs, you can call at 2 a.m., but if you need treatment, you have to call Monday through Friday. We're not like that — you can call me at 3 a.m., and our recovery coaches are on call just like I was.

Huber said if he hadn't recently been dealing with health problems, he would still be the executive director. However, Huber said he will still keep his fingers in the pie, so to speak. He said he is not sure in what capacity, but he will remain involved somehow.

Huber said he believes the association has helped bring the drug epidemic to the forefront of people's minds, whereas before it was not spoken of. He said the association also helped combat stigma and were one of the first organizations to bring Narcan training into the area.

I think we've accomplished a lot, Huber said. I love it and I will miss it.

The association will hold a retirement recognition for him on Jan. 26 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 31 Water Street Suite 7, door 14 in Jamestown. A dedication and recognitions by Kia Narraway-Briggs, Mental Health Association executive director; Carm Micciche, board chair; and Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, advisory board chair.

The event is being presented by the staff, board and the advisory board of the Mental Health Association.

The Mental Health Association's reception for Rick Huber is in recognition of his retirement from the organization, and it affords the MHA an opportunity to thank Rick for his tireless work, nurturing it through many lean years, helping many, many individuals get through troubled times. His inspiration, courage, persistence and hard work have paid off, and he formed an excellent organization doing good in the community, Ney said. He should be proud of his accomplishment.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County has been a peer run organization since 2005 when Huber became executive director. The next year he was joined by Narraway-Briggs and other part-time staff.

Rick's dedication to the MHA and the community he resides in, is like nothing I have seen before, Narraway-Briggs said. He has been a voice to those that have felt dismissed or hopeless. He has brought attention to systems issues while encouraging hope to his employees and individuals at the MHA. He is a fierce advocate.

It has been an honor to work with Rick these past five years, helping others realize that they are more than their experiences, said Associate Director Steven Cobb.

Huber said he was not expecting a send off, and was hoping to go "softly into that good night." He said he was humbled by the gesture, but felt that it wasn't him that made the difference. Rather, it was the people and the changes he saw within them that made the difference.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water St., Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown. For more information, call 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

January 17, 2018

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County RETIREMENT RECOGNITION for RICK HUBER

Friday, January 26, 2018

3-5 p.m., Mental Health Association Remarks at 4 p.m.

Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y.

You are invited to cover and participate in this special recognition. A dedication and remarks about Rick Huber’s many years of service to the local recovery community are planned for 4 p.m. Huber will speak, as well as MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs, Board President Carm Micciche, and Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney.

For more information, contact:

  • Kia Narraway-Briggs, Executive Director
  • Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County 31 Water Street, Jamestown, NY 14701
  • (716) 661-9044, ext. 1
  • kia@mhachautauqua.org
  • Website: http://www.mhachautauqua.org/

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Mental Health Association Honoring Rick Huber Friday, January 26

January 11, 2018

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) invites the community to join them in honoring Rick Huber on his recent retirement. A reception celebrating Huber will be held at the MHA on Friday afternoon, January 26.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Before detox or accessible rehab services were available locally, Rick Huber could often be found spending hours during the night in the emergency room, helping someone see hospital staff until morning hours.

Huber is now retired from his leadership role at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). Throughout the many years, he served as an advocate, Board Member, peer advocate, Executive Director, CEO, and Director of New Programming. His many contributions to the welfare of the community, reducing stigma associated with mental health, and fighting the opioid epidemic will be honored at the MHA on Friday afternoon, January 26.

The public is invited to join elected officials and community leaders in celebrating all Mr. Huber has accomplished.

Midway during the 3-5 p.m. reception will be a dedication and recognitions by Executive Director Kia Narraway-Briggs, Board Chair Carm Micciche, and Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney.

The event is being presented by the staff, board, and the advisory board of the MHA.

Of their plans, Dr. Ney said, The Mental Health Association's reception for Rick Huber is in recognition of his retirement from the organization, and it affords the MHA an opportunity to thank Rick for his tireless work, nurturing it through many lean years, helping many, many individuals get through troubled times. His inspiration, courage, persistence and hard work have paid off, and he formed an excellent organization doing good in the community. He should be proud of his accomplishment.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County has been a peer run organization since 2005 when Huber became executive director. The next year he was joined by Narraway-Briggs, and other part-time staff.

As Narraway-Briggs noted, Rick envisioned a peer run agency that could fiercely advocate for those who were asking for help but needed support in their journey. His vision was to increase awareness of how essential peer support and engagement with local treatment would increase the healing process. He encouraged individuals to believe in themselves, to live the life they had intended.

Carm Micciche, Board President, stated It has been amazing to see the growth of the MHA and be a part of Rick's dedication to helping others.

The MHA grew more than ten-fold under Huber’s leadership. Last year alone 575 individuals received peer services, including 374 new participants. More than two dozen peer support groups meet every week, with 1,540 meetings held in 2017. Each group can provide exposure to healthy living and the steps towards independent living.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

Of his departure from the MHA, Huber said, The Mental Health Association has been my life for many years. I feel confident that current staff can continue providing advocacy and support to struggling families. We have done groundbreaking work together, but there are still so many men and women who need the help the MHA provides. I look forward to seeing the MHA grow under the current leadership team and love them like family.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Wellness Fair Presented by JCC OTA Students at Mental Health Association

December 4, 2017

Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students sponsored a "Healthy Habits Wellness Fair" at the Mental Health Association recently. Leading the project were students (pictured from left) Jennifer Hochmuth, Beverly Hallquist, Jessica Bruns, and Kirstie Surrena.

Jamestown, N.Y. - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) was recently a beehive of activity during the Healthy Habits Wellness Fair presented by Jamestown Community College (JCC) Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) students.

During the fall semester Jessica Bruns, Beverly Hallquist, Jennifer Hochmuth, and Kirstie Surrena had eight-week Level I fieldwork placements at the MHA. Working with OTA Program Interim Director Sarah Tranum, Senior Project Manager Michael Nordin suggested they make the health fair their group project.

These students worked together to decide what topics would be displayed at each station, the layout of the fair, and the placement of stations. They also helped plan the food choices that would be available to the participants. During the fair, they worked as greeters, setup the food, and helped participants and classmates. All 22 students in the Community Based Practice class took part.

Information and activities were geared toward all aspects of daily life. The Wellness Fair covered stress management, sleep, meditation, nutrition and meal planning, education, career, resume and interviewing, social participation, leisure activities, exercise, budgeting and money management, and community resources.

More than 60 participants interacted with the students at different stations. As an example, the Social Participation station used Conversation Jenga to develop social skills and help promote social interaction and self-expression; this game can also assist with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Another great table showed individuals how to tie a suit tie.

Healthy food provided at the 11 a.m.-1 p.m. event was purchased through donations by the MHA and the JCC OTA program along with potluck dishes brought in by some of the OTA students.

Drinks were supplied by the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency.

The program was made possible by an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The grant's purpose was to develop a community-based teaching clinic that would enhance the work skills of the OTA students while providing services to MHA participants.

The Wellness Fair was free and open to all.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists that offer recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to Mindfulness and much more. All services and programs are free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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"New Choices in Recovery" Educational Forum at Mental Health Association Friday Afternoon, December 8

November 30, 2017

David Ferencz, an Outreach Specialist with the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, will visit the Mental Health Association on Friday afternoon, December 8. He will discuss new services available to Medicaid recipients with mental health and substance use related experiences, describing how to engage in Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) through Health and Recovery Plans. The primary aim of the HCBS program is to help provide a holistic system of support services along with medical services.

Jamestown, N.Y. - If they know how to make use of the services available, Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use experiences can benefit from a variety of community-based programs.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, December 8, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is hosting "New Choices in Recovery," a statewide peer-to-peer educational forum to help with these issues.

David Ferencz, New Choices in Recovery Community Outreach Specialist with New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), will travel from Albany to speak at the event.

Participants can learn about coordinating peer and family support, work and school, and about transportation services that are now available. They can take a fresh look at their health, work, social and other personal goals and meet with someone who can help their providers work more closely together so they can achieve those goals.

Ferencz said, Our aim is to inform eligible Medicaid enrollees with mental health and substance use related conditions about managed care, Health and Recovery Plans (HARP), Health Homes, and Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). There are a lot of misconceptions around HARP and HCBS, and it can be confusing. Our mission is to clear up some of this confusion, to educate people about these new possibilities, and to encourage them to take the steps to make use of them.

The MHA is a designated HCBS provider in peer empowerment services and will continue to provide support services free of charge.

The presentation is delivered in an informal, conversational, and interactive manner with lots of encouragement for shared identification and empathy. It will last about 90 minutes. A purely educational initiative, there will be no direct services provided.

While providers are welcome, this is a peer-delivered training for a peer audience and is meant to be very practical.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y.

The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. It is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching and work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

November 12, 2017

2nd Community Education Forum
OUR COMMUNITY STANDS TOGETHER
The Many Faces of Addiction: No One Cause, No One Solution
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:30 p.m., JCC's Scharmann Theatre
Co-sponsored by the Health Care Action Team (HCAT), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Mental Health Association (MHA)


You are invited to cover and participate in this major event featuring a distinguished panel of speakers moderated by Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Chair of HCAT and the MHA Advisory Board:

  • Karen McElrath, PhD, Professor of Criminal Justice, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina (see http://www.uncfsu.edu/criminal-justice/faculty/karen-mcelrath)
  • Davina Moss-King, PhD, Positive Direction and Associates, Buffalo (see https://www.pdawny.com/)
  • Andrew O’Brien, Current Consultant and former Director of Behavioral Health, UPMC-Chautauqua-WCA
  • Leanna Luka-Conley, Deputy Commissioner of Adult, Children and Family Services, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Chief Harry Snellings, Police Chief/Director of Public Safety, City of Jamestown
  • Reverend Luke Fodor, Rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Jamestown A question and answer period will follow the presentations.

The event is free of charge and open to the public.

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Mental Health Association Outreach to the Spanish-Speaking Community

November 9, 2017

The cover story in the recent Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) newsletter tells the story of certified peer specialist Luis Rosa. The Puerto Rican native's dual language skills have enabled the MHA to extend their services to many Spanish-speaking members of the community.

Jamestown, NY - Thanks to the Spanish language skills of Luis Rosa, a Certified Peer Specialist trained in Recovery Coaching and a Certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, 74 Spanish-speaking participants got connected to resources during the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) last fiscal year.

Rosa's story is featured on the cover of the MHA's Fall 2017 Newsletter. It tells of his journey from the Bronx back to his native Puerto Rico, his subsequent schooling at Columbia University in New York City, and his eventual settling in Jamestown. Downturns in his life led to substance use disorders, till he found his way through support at the MHA, where he can now help people who might otherwise go unaided.

Of the Mental Health Association, Rosa says, If I had to start all over again, I would start here. Pointing out that participants come back even after they are out of a crisis situation, he said, I like this place because I'm helping others. I encourage them: 'I did it, you can, too.'

The newsletter also describes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's visit to the MHA, Mental Health First Aid Training, and collaborations with the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, A Fresh Start, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

Another piece explains the ACE score, a tally of different types of abuse, neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study found a stunning link between multiple stressful events in childhood and chronic diseases, as well as social, emotional and behavioral problems.

The newsletter can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on "Read Our Newsletter" at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York. More than two dozen peer support groups meet there every week, with focuses including Veterans, Jobs, Spanish Language, Women's PTSD, AA Living Sober, Parents in Recovery, and many more.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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JCC OTA Students Presenting Healthy Habits Wellness Fair at Mental Health Association Wednesday, November 15

November 3, 2017

Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program interns are sponsoring a "Healthy Habits Wellness Fair" at the Mental Health Association (MHA) on Wednesday, November 15. After that announcement at the MHA's October Recovery Luncheon, Dan Carson (pictured, left) and Jason Koons, were among those recognized for their recovery achievements.

Jamestown, N.Y. - Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Program Senior Project Manager Mike Nordin and OTA student interns made a presentation at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) recent recovery luncheon.

Nordin spoke about their upcoming "Healthy Habits Wellness Fair" at the MHA on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Information and activities will be geared toward all aspects of daily life. The interactive event will cover anxiety management, sleep, meditation, nutrition and meal planning, education, career, resume and interviewing, social participation, leisure activities, exercise, budgeting and money management, and community resources. The Wellness Fair is open to all.

Associate Executive Director Steven Cobb recognized five participants for graduating from treatment court, and 12 people were recognized for recovery milestones.

Rev. Luke Fodor of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown presented a check to upgrade the restrooms at the MHA.

Lunch was provided by United Christian Advocacy Network with Charlie Hodges, Jim Quattrone, and Jan Ball serving.

At 6:30 p.m. on November 15, along with the Health Care Action Team (HCAT) and the American Association of University Women, the MHA is a major sponsor of "The Many Faces of Addiction: No One Cause, No One Solution" in Jamestown Community College's Scharmann Theatre. Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Chair of HCAT and the MHA Advisory Board, will moderate an outstanding panel of speakers followed by a question-and-answer session. Refreshments will be served beginning at 6 p.m. The forum is free and open to the public.

The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. Monthly luncheons are an opportunity to recognize progress by participants.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Collaboration is Key to "The Many Faces of Addiction" at JCC on Wednesday, November 15

November 1, 2017

To tackle the crisis of substance abuse disorders in Chautauqua County, more than two dozen organizations are collaborating to present "The Many Faces of Addiction: No One Cause, No One Solution." This second Community Education Forum will be held at Jamestown Community College on Wednesday, November 15, 6:30 p.m. Among the planners are (seated, from left) Andrew O'Brien, UPMC-Chautauqua-WCA; Kia Narraway-Briggs, Executive Director, Mental Health Association; Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Health Care Action Team; (standing, from left) Leanna Luka-Conley, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services; Janet Forbes, Program VP, AAUW-Jamestown Branch; and The Rev. Luke Fodor, St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Jamestown, NY - A coalition of community organizations is working together to defeat the addiction crisis that is plaguing Chautauqua County.

In the spirit of "Our Community Stands Together," the Health Care Action Team (HCAT) along with two major planning partners and sponsors, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Mental Health Association (MHA), has planned a second Community Education Forum on this complicated subject.

"The Many Faces of Addiction: No One Cause, No One Solution" will be presented on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 6:30 p.m., in Jamestown Community College's Scharmann Theatre.

Attendance is free and open to the public. Light refreshment will be available beginning at 6 p.m.

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Chair of HCAT and the MHA Advisory Board, will moderate the panel of speakers that includes:

  • Karen McElrath, PhD, Professor of Criminal Justice, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina
  • Davina Moss-King, PhD, Positive Direction and Associates, Buffalo
  • Andrew O'Brien, Current Consultant and former Director of Behavioral Health, UPMC-Chautauqua-WCA
  • Leanna Luka-Conley, Deputy Commissioner of Adult, Children and Family Services, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Chief Harry Snellings, Police Chief/Director of Public Safety, City of Jamestown
  • Reverend Luke Fodor, Rector, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Jamestown A question and answer period will follow the presentations.

The many collaborators that have joined to support and help in various ways include Jamestown Community College, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, City of Jamestown, County of Chautauqua, Chautauqua Works, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, The Post-Journal, YWCA, Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council, A Fresh Start, HOPE Coalition, UPMC Chautauqua WCA, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, The Resource Center, The Chautauqua Center, Jamestown Area Medical Associates-GLPP, Addiction Response Ministry, Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System, United Christian Advocacy Network, Southern Tier Environments for Living, and Burgett & Robbins LLP.

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You Can Make a Difference: Mental Health First Aid Training at JCC November 14 and 15

October 31, 2017

To learn how you could provide first aid in a mental health emergency, Jamestown Community College's Center for Continuing Education is offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, November 14 and 15. Certified trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, Executive Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, lead the class. This poster describes MHFA's "7 Super Skills to Help a Friend in Need."

Jamestown, NY - There is a popular myth that the average person can't do anything to help someone with a mental health problem.

The Mental Health First Aid training offered at Jamestown Community College on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, November 14 and 15, will not only disprove that myth, it will give you the tools to possibly save a life.

Mental Health First Aid is a national program that aims to help people recognize signs of substance use disorder or depression or disordered eating in others, and then show how and when to encourage those suffering to get help. Even more, it aims to help people overcome their fear of getting involved. These steps have saved lives of the mentally ill as well as others.

The fact is that friends and loved ones can make a big difference. According to mentalhealth.gov, only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by

  • Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
  • Helping them access mental health services
  • Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true
  • Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
  • Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy"

Based on the principle that early intervention encourages people to seek help, the MHFA program is designed to give community members the skills to help or intervene in a crisis. It increases the understanding that mental illnesses and substance misuse are real, common, and treatable and teaches ways to connect to the appropriate professional, peer, or self-help program.

In the training you will be introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies, and engage in activities that build understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families. Role playing will make it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation.

You can learn more about Mental Health First Aid at mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

The eight-hour class will be held in JCC's Katharine Jackson Carnahan Center. Instructors are certified Mental Health First Aid trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, Executive Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The fee for the MHFA course is $79. To register, call JCC's Continuing Education Center at (716) 338-1005.

For additional information on Mental Health First Aid training call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching. More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others about concerns. All services and programs are free. The MHA is located at the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y.

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Narcan Training at Mental Health Association, Monday Evening, November 6

October 25, 2017

Alison Espin, Public Health Nurse at Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, will lead a free Narcan training at the Mental Health Association at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 6. The Mental Health Association is located in Jamestown at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Jamestown, NY - Friends, family, and other bystanders who have Narcan and are trained in its administration can save the life of someone at risk of an opioid overdose.

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a medication that can be administered as a nasal spray by first responders and others to someone who is experiencing an opiate or heroin crisis.

Narcan has saved hundreds of lives in Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services and the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) are presenting a Narcan training at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 6.

Alison Espin, Public Health Nurse at the Health Department, will instruct the class.

MHA Associate Director Steven Cobb will be at the training to answer questions about the MHA and treatment options in the community.

The free session is open to the public, and participants will be given a Narcan Reversal Kit.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Registration for the training is not required but is appreciated. For information or to register call (716) 661-9044.

Open Monday through Saturday, the MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

In an accepting environment, the MHA provides recovery coaching as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Changing Behavior, Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, PTSD, Family Support, Parenting, Spanish Language, Living Sober, and more. There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Suicide Prevention Week Highlighted at Mental Health Association

October 4, 2017

Events were announced and achievements recognized at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's September Recovery Luncheon. Among those applauded were (from left) Susan Smeraglioulo, Lindsey Mason, Jennifer Fain, and Grant Monroe.

Jamestown, N.Y. - In celebration of National Recovery Month, some fun activities followed the September Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. Monthly luncheons are an opportunity to recognize progress by participants.

Executive Director Kia Briggs invited folks to enjoy Tie Dye for Hope and Rock Painting sessions following the luncheon. Other Suicide Awareness Week events held at the MHA were a Poetry Slam and SafeTalk training.

Along with the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention, MHA was one of the primary sponsors and locations for Suicide Awareness Week, September 18-23, 2017. Other sponsors were Chautauqua Tapestry, The Resource Center, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Fredonia State University of New York, Jamestown Community College, Chautauqua Mall and KidX Club, United Christian Advocacy Network, BestSelf Behavioral Health, CATTOOS, Raynor Memorial Golf Tournament, Randolph Peaches N Cream, Nite-Line Magazine, Northwest Arena, Media One Group LLC, and Wegmans.

Associate Director Steven Cobb announced the National Recovery Month Recovery Walks in Dunkirk and Jamestown and the Rally to Recover Jamestown. Luncheon participants applauded those present to receive awards. Cobb had certificates for two people who graduated from treatment court and 14 who achieved recovery milestones.

United Christian Advocacy Network presented the ham dinner prepared by ladies from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Falconer. The meal was served by Jan Ball, Brenda Donato, Sarah Fowler, and Renee Tompsette.

Evergreen Health Services provides free and confidential HIV rapid tests at its location at the MHA in the Gateway Center. People should get tested at least once, more if you are at risk. The staff is happy to speak to you about ways you can reduce risks and be healthy. Call (716) 541-0678 or stop in weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get more information.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The MHA's Spring 2017 Newsletter can be accessed on line at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Experience "Red Carpet" Movie, Support UCAN City Mission

October 4, 2017

Before its national release, you can see Same Kind of Different As Me and support Jamestown's UCAN City Mission at a Red Carpet advance screening on Wednesday, October 18, 7 p.m., at Lakewood Cinema 8. The film is the true story of a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together.

Jamestown, NY - UCAN City Mission is hosting a Red Carpet screening of Same Kind of Different As Me on Wednesday, October 18, two days before its national release.

The PG-13 film will be shown at 7 p.m. at Lakewood Cinema 8. It tells the true story of international art dealer Ron Hall, who must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the most remarkable journey of their lives. The movie stars Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, and Djimon Hounsou. Jon Voight plays Hall's father, with whom he reconciles, thanks to the revelations of his new life.

Same Kind of Different As Me follows the book of the same name by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. You can see trailers of the film at youtube.com.

This joint venture with Paramount Pictures and the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions intends to bring attention to homelessness and be a fund raiser for the UCAN (United Christian Advocacy Network) City Mission.

Located at 7 West First Street in downtown Jamestown, the Mission's purpose is to help all those who need to break the cycle of crime, substance abuse, and poverty. To learn more about the Mission, call (716) 488-7480, email ucan516@gmail.com, or visit ucancitymission.org.

Ticket price is $7.50. Presale tickets are available by contacting Jim Quattrone, UCAN Executive Director, or UCAN City Mission at (716) 488-7480 or ucan516@gmail.com.

UCAN also sponsors monthly Recovery Luncheons at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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National Recovery Month Celebration Features Dunkirk Recovery Walk, Tuesday, September 26

September 14, 2017

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Chautauqua County organizations providing mental health and substance abuse services invite you to join Recovery Walks in Dunkirk and Jamestown. The Tuesday and Wednesday, September 26 and 27, walks begin at noon and include light refreshments and an awards presentation.

TO NORTH COUNTY MEDIA:

Jamestown, N.Y. - The theme for 2017's National Recovery Month is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities."

Now in its 28th year, this September observance celebrates the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

Chautauqua County organizations providing mental health and substance abuse services are celebrating with Recovery Walks, an opportunity to demonstrate support of the recovery community, including those who provide prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, a Recovery Walk will begin and end at the Salvation Army, 704 Central Avenue in Dunkirk.

The Recovery Walk on Wednesday, September 27, is along Jamestown's Riverwalk. It will begin and end at the Mental Health Association in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served, and an information table with local resources will be available at both locations. Participants are encouraged to wear their tie-dye apparel.

A special feature will be the presentation of awards to individuals for their continued support of the Recovery Movement, their determination to help individuals and families that may be dealing with addiction, and bringing awareness to the concerns surrounding opioids.

In Dunkirk, awardees will be Vince Horrigan, County Executive; Mike Tramuta, REBT; Hon. Walter Drag, Dunkirk City Court; and Lee Ann Lazarony, Drug Court. In Jamestown, awards will be given to Vince Horrigan, County Executive; Kim Carlson, A Fresh Start; Pastor Leecroft Clarke, Addiction Response Ministry; and UPMC Chautauqua WCA, Andy O'Brien.

Co-sponsoring the Walks are the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Tapestry, Evergreen Health Services, HOPE Chautauqua, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, TLC Health Network, TRC, United Christian Advocacy Network, and UPMC Chautauqua WCA.

To learn more, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

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National Recovery Month Celebrations Feature Recovery Walks, September 26 and 27

September 14, 2017

In celebration of National Recovery Month, Chautauqua County organizations providing mental health and substance abuse services invite you to join Recovery Walks in Dunkirk and Jamestown. The Wednesday, September 27, event is along Jamestown's Riverwalk, starting and ending at the Mental Health Association in the Gateway Center. It begins at noon and includes light refreshments and an awards presentation.

TO SOUTH COUNTY MEDIA:

Jamestown, N.Y. - The theme for 2017's National Recovery Month is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities."

Now in its 28th year, this September observance celebrates the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

Chautauqua County organizations providing mental health and substance abuse services are celebrating with Recovery Walks, an opportunity to demonstrate support of the recovery community, including those who provide prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, a Recovery Walk will begin and end at the Salvation Army, 704 Central Avenue in Dunkirk.

The Recovery Walk on Wednesday, September 27, is along Jamestown's Riverwalk. It will begin and end at the Mental Health Association in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Light refreshments will be served, and an information table with local resources will be available at both locations. Participants are encouraged to wear their tie-dye apparel.

A special feature will be the presentation of awards to individuals for their continued support of the Recovery Movement, their determination to help individuals and families that may be dealing with addiction, and bringing awareness to the concerns surrounding opioids.

In Dunkirk, awardees will be Vince Horrigan, County Executive; Mike Tramuta, REBT; Hon. Walter Drag, Dunkirk City Court; and Lee Ann Lazarony, Drug Court. In Jamestown, awards will be given to Vince Horrigan, County Executive; Kim Carlson, A Fresh Start; Pastor Leecroft Clarke, Addiction Response Ministry; and UPMC Chautauqua WCA, Andy O'Brien.

Co-sponsoring the Walks are the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua Tapestry, Evergreen Health Services, HOPE Chautauqua, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, TLC Health Network, TRC, United Christian Advocacy Network, and UPMC Chautauqua WCA.

To learn more, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

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Mental Health First Aid Training Offered at JCC

September 5, 2017

Jamestown Community College will offer a course in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) on September 12 and 13. Participants will learn how to assist in a mental health crisis until professional help comes - like one would administer CPR for a heart attack. Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and the National Council for Behavioral Health are committed to training 150,000 people in MHFA by the end of the year.

Jamestown, NY - What do Lady Gaga, NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and television personality Dr. Oz all have in common?

They have all been trained in Mental Health First Aid. Now you can be also.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has been called "CPR for the mind." This groundbreaking program teaches people of all ages and all walks of life to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges and crises.

Lady Gaga thinks it is so important that her Born This Way Foundation, created to address anti-bullying and children's confidence, is partnering with the National Council for Behavioral Health to train 150,000 people in Mental Health First Aid by the end of the year.

Born This Way was co-founded by Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, to empower youth to create a kinder, braver world.

We need to demystify and destigmatize mental health and that has to start with more honest conversations and with better access to practical resources. Mental Health First Aid Training exemplifies that approach, said Germanotta.

Jamestown Community College (JCC) is partnering with the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) to offer an MHFA certification course from 1-5 p.m. on September 12 and 13 in JCC's Carnahan Center. Participants will learn how to assist someone having a mental health crisis - such as contemplating suicide - until professional help arrives.

The fee for the MHFA course is $79. Instructors are certified MHFA trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, executive director and associate director, respectively, of the MHA.

To register, call JCC's Continuing Education Center at (716) 338-1005. The MHFA course will also be offered on November 14 and 15.

Based on the principle that early intervention encourages people to seek help, the MHFA program is designed to give community members the skills to help or intervene in a crisis. It increases the understanding that mental illnesses and substance misuse are real, common, and treatable and teaches ways to connect to the appropriate professional, peer, or self-help program.

For additional information on Mental Health First Aid training contact The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching. More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others about concerns. All services and programs are free. The MHA is located at the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York.

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Refuge Recovery Groups at St. Luke's and MHA for People Dealing with Addictive Behavior

August 25, 2017

Refuge Recovery groups for people dealing with any form of addictive behavior are meeting weekly at both the Mental Health Association and St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jamestown. Pictured are participants after a recent meeting at St. Luke's: (from left) Willow Fodor, Oliver Bookman, Susan Smeragliuolo, Wesley Priolette, Steven Cobb, Zack Wells, Sean Jones, and Sheridan Smith.

Jamestown, NY - Refuge Recovery is a community of people dedicated to the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity, using meditation and kindness to heal the pain and suffering that addiction has caused.

Sheridan Smith and Steven Cobb jointly facilitate two Refuge Recovery groups that meet weekly in Jamestown.

The Tuesday morning group at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County was the first meeting of this fellowship in New York State outside of New York City. Inspired by that experience, Smith and Cobb started another group that meets Thursday evenings at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Meetings are for folks suffering from any form of addictive behavior, including substance use disorder, food, shopping, technology, gambling, etc.

Many people feel Refuge Recovery compliments the recovery supports they are already participating in.

Based on Buddhist philosophy, Refuge Recovery includes daily meditation practices, written investigations that explore the causes and conditions of one's addictions, and advice and inspiration for finding or creating a community to help you heal and awaken. Practical yet compassionate, it is designed for anyone interested in a non-theistic approach to recovery and requires no previous experience or knowledge of Buddhism or meditation.

Smith is the creator of Recover Jamestown, the 60-minute film that tells stories of addiction, recovery, and loss, and explores what hope lies in new solutions and community efforts; a trailer and the full movie can be seen on YouTube.com. Cobb is Associate Director of the Mental Health Association (MHA) and a member of St. Luke's.

The 7:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday group meets at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 410 North Main Street. The 9:30-10:30 a.m. Tuesday group is at the MHA in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14.

To learn more, email refugerecoveryavl@gmail.com or phone (716) 661-9044. Those unable to participate in these groups can get information about online and phone meetings.

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A Fresh Start Sponsoring Recovery and Addiction Awareness Walk This Saturday

August 14, 2017

In celebration of what would have been McKenzie Paulson's twenty-fifth birthday and in remembrance of others who have been lost to substance abuse, A Fresh Start is sponsoring a Recovery and Addiction Awareness Walk this Saturday, August 19. Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. walk starting from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 410 East Fourth Street in downtown Jamestown.

Jamestown, NY - Despite her efforts at recovery, McKenzie Paulson passed away from her struggle with drugs at the age of 23.

In celebration of what would have been McKenzie's twenty-fifth birthday and in remembrance of others who have suffered from substance abuse, a Recovery and Addiction Awareness Walk will be held this Saturday (August 19). Proceeds will benefit A Fresh Start, created in memory of Alex Foulk and dedicated to helping people find a fresh start, free from substance abuse and alcoholism, through personal experience.

Walkers will have a choice of three planned routes of approximately one-half, one, and one and a half miles in downtown Jamestown.

The goal of the walk is to help raise awareness in our community, increase understanding, and educate people on the steps and resources available for recovery and support.

McKenzie Paulson's mother, Lauri Keller of Falconer, describes her daughter as a typical All-American girl who, with her good grades, graduated a year early from Falconer High School. She worked at Heritage Green as a teenager and continued work in the health care field.

McKenzie enjoyed working with the elderly and those with disabilities and went to Jamestown Community College with plans to go into nursing. She attended Zion Tabernacle Church in Jamestown. Among those she left behind are a son, a daughter, and a stepson.

Keller stressed that this event is in remembrance of all those who passed away because of substance abuse.

At 10 a.m., walkers as well as the public are invited to participate in a birthday celebration with cupcakes, coffee and conversation at St. Luke's. Rick Huber, Director of New Program Development for the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, will make a brief presentation and share names of people lost to substance abuse disorder. Kim Carlson will talk about A Fresh Start.

For online registration, to sponsor a walker, or to make a donation, visit agfmtp.wufoo.com/forms/awareness2.

A Fresh Start meets 5-7 p.m. every Wednesday evening at St. Luke's. With certified peer specialists and more than two dozen peer support groups, the Mental Health Association is open six days a week in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, in Jamestown, (716) 661-9044. Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council is in the Springchorn Building, 501 West Third Street, Suites 3 and 4, (716) 664-3608 in Jamestown, and 51 East Third Street, Suite 2, in Dunkirk, (716) 366-4623.

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JCC Offering Mental Health First Aid Training

August 14, 2017

In just 10 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States, one million strong and growing every day. To learn how you could provide first aid in a mental health emergency, Jamestown Community College is offering Mental Health First Aid on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, September 12 and 13. Certified trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, Executive Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, will lead the class.

Jamestown, NY - You can get trained in CPR so you could assist someone having a heart attack until medical professionals arrive.

Now Jamestown Community College (JCC) is offering a course is Mental Health First Aid so you can get trained to assist someone having a mental health crisis - such as contemplating suicide - until professional help arrives.

The eight-hour class will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, September 12 and 13, 1-5 p.m., in JCC's Katharine Jackson Carnahan Center. Instructors are certified Mental Health First Aid trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, Executive Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The MHA believes that anyone can assist someone until appropriate help is available, Narraway-Briggs said. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) will help give you the tools to feel at ease when encountering someone who is experiencing a mental health or substance use issue, so you can be part of the solution.

The MHFA program aims to help people recognize signs of substance abuse or depression or disordered eating in others, and then show how and when to encourage those suffering to get help. Even more, it aims to help people overcome their fear of getting involved. These are steps that can and will save lives - of the mentally ill, but also, likely, of many others.

Every year, one in four Americans will suffer from a mental illness or substance abuse disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in this country.

Because you are more likely to encounter someone experiencing a behavioral health condition or crisis than someone facing a physical emergency, the National Council for Behavioral Health has made it a priority to train more Mental Health First Aiders than ever before.

In the training you will be introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies, and engage in activities that build understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families. Role playing will make it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation.

The cost to be certified in Mental Health First Aid is $79.

The JCC course number is CRN 4060. To enroll, call JCC Continuing Education at (716) 338-1005 with your debit or credit card, Visa, MasterCard or Discover; mail a check or money order to JCC Continuing Education, 525 Falconer Street, Jamestown, NY 14701; or come in person to the Carnahan Center with any of those payment options or exact amount cash.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The MHA is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. For more information, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Narcan Training at Mental Health Association, Monday Evening, August 21

August 10, 2017

Anticipating Overdose Awareness Day at the end of the month, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) and the Chautauqua County Department of Health are presenting a free Narcan training on Monday evening, August 21 at the MHA in Jamestown's Gateway Center. This easily administered opiate antidote can be used by first responders as well as friends and family who may find themselves in a position to save the life of someone at risk of an opioid overdose. Participants will be given a free Narcan Reversal Kit.

Jamestown, NY - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is offering Narcan training at the MHA at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 21. The program is presented by the Chautauqua County Department of Health.

Narcan, the brand name for Naloxone, is a safe medication used to block the effects of opioids -- such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin -- especially in overdose. Administered as a nasal spray, this opiate antidote is widely used by emergency medical personnel and other first responders to prevent overdose deaths.

Friends, family, and other bystanders who have Narcan and are trained in its administration can save the life of someone at risk of an opioid overdose.

The free session is open to the public, and participants will be given a Narcan Reversal Kit.

Registration for the training is not required but is appreciated. For information or to register call (716) 661-9044.

Hosted by Evergreen Health Services, Overdose Awareness Day will be observed locally on Thursday, August 31, at Jamestown Community College.

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. More information can be found at overdoseday.com.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Open Monday through Saturday, the MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

In an accepting environment, the MHA provides recovery coaching as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Changing Behavior, Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, PTSD, Family Support, Parenting, Spanish Language, Living Sober, and more. There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Evergreen Health Presents at Mental Health Association Luncheon

July 24, 2017

Many achievements were recognized at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's July Recovery Luncheon. Among those applauded were David Sargent and Desirae Bradford, who are pictured here.

Jamestown, NY - The monthly Recovery Luncheons at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) are an opportunity both to recognize progress for participants and to share important news. The MHA is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance abuse and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

At the July luncheon Associate Director Steven Cobb announced the names of those who received awards for their recent recovery achievements. Fifteen people completed and graduated from treatment court. Twenty-three people were recognized for recovery milestones including employment, phase advancement on treatment court, and enrollment in college.

Cobb also announced the 7 p.m. Monday Night Open Mic at the MHA, noting it is a supportive environment for your artistic endeavors. The first Monday of the month is Sing-Along, second is Family Comedy, third: Open Poetry, fourth: Live Music, and fifth: Wildcard Monday.

Executive Director Kia Briggs acknowledged the United Christian Advocacy Network (UCAN) for their work in reopening the City Mission on First Street as a Crisis Center and Shelter for men. UCAN also prepares and presents the delicious meals at all Recovery Luncheons.

Charlie Hodges of UCAN introduced the Bemus Point United Methodist Church's E Team that made a presentation. E Team members include Chase Boardman, Cassidy Richardson, Holly Bless, Madigan Bless, Keirsten Maidel, Kim Malarkey, Sue Verbosky, Tom Holland, and Rebecca Ottaway.

Ian Eastman, MHA board member and Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator for Evergreen Health, said that according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in seven people infected with HIV are unaware of it. Evergreen can help people prevent and treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Without treatment, HIV can make a person very sick and even cause death. Learning the basics about HIV can keep you healthy and prevent transmission.

HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact, sharing needles, and mother-to-baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. HIV is NOT transmitted by casual contact such as air or water, saliva, sweat, tears, insects, or toilet seats.

Evergreen Health provides free and confidential HIV rapid tests at its location at the MHA in the Gateway Center. People should get tested at least once, more if you are at risk. The staff is happy to speak to you about ways you can reduce risks and be healthy. Call (716) 541-0678 or stop in weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to get more information.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The MHA's Spring 2017 Newsletter can be accessed on line at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MHA Staff Teach Mental Health First Aid

July 17, 2017

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County has three certified trainers who teach how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. ALGEE, pictured, is the Mental Health First Aid mascot and mnemonic for the 5-step action plan:
Assess for risk of suicide or harm,
Listen nonjudgmentally,
Give reassurance and information,
Encourage appropriate professional help, and
Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

Jamestown, NY - With CPR training, you don't have to be a trained clinician to assist someone who's had a heart attack until the medical professional arrives.

Now you can get training in how to help a person experiencing a mental health crisis - such as contemplating suicide - until appropriate professional help arrives.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) has three certified trainers of Mental Health First Aid. This eight-hour course can give you the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. It teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders in your community.

With one in five American adults having a mental illness and one in ten full-time employees having an addiction, employers may be especially interested in this training. It can also be very valuable for first responders.

Mental Health First Aiders learn a single five-step strategy that includes assessing risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual in crisis, and identifying appropriate professional help and other supports. Role playing makes it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation.

Participants are introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, engage in activities that build understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families, and learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies.

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid training, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

For more information about participating in Mental Health First Aid training through a certified trainer at the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The MHA's recent Spring 2017 Newsletter can be accessed on line at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Achievements Recognized at Mental Health Association Luncheon

June 12, 2017

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's recent Recovery Luncheon recognized participants for their recovery achievements. Among those applauded were (left to right) Michelle King, Jennifer Glover (with her son), Torry Knight, and Maranda Lopez (with her daughter).

Jamestown, NY - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance abuse and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

Because celebrating positive milestones has been shown to increase long-term recovery, the MHA holds regular Recovery Luncheons to help provide this positive reinforcement to those in addiction and mental health recovery.

At the luncheon on June 1, Executive Director Kia Briggs thanked everyone for making the MHA the accepting place that it is.

Associate Director Steven Cobb announced the names of those who received awards for their recent recovery achievements. Seven people were recognized for recovery milestones, nine advanced stages in the Jamestown Treatment Court program, and four graduated from Treatment Court.

Cobb also recognized Joseph Vaughn, who is coordinating "Monday Night Open Mics at the MHA" that are every Monday at 7 p.m. The first Monday of the month is a Sing-Along, second is Family Comedy, third is Open Poetry, fourth Live Music, and when there are five Mondays, the last is Wildcard Monday.

In introducing Charlie Hodges of United Christian Advocacy Network (UCAN) Cobb noted that it is because of UCAN that the Recovery Luncheons are possible. Hodges said that many churches in the community support UCAN. He wanted participants to know that they have a whole community behind them and that everything they need can and will be provided: "We're here for you." The UCAN City Mission on First Street is now open as a Crisis Center and Shelter for men.

Ian Eastman, MHA board member and Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator for Evergreen Health, reminded that it is dangerous to dispose of syringes improperly, as needle stick injuries may result and blood borne viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C can remain alive in the barrel for weeks. The Exchange provides free disposal of sharps for community members between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. Used sharps can be placed in a plastic puncture-proof container, like an empty soda bottle or laundry detergent container. People may call (716) 541-0678 with any questions.

Rick Huber, MHA's Director of New Program Development, said that eight million children live in homes where drugs are abused, and most of those children are under five years old. The MHA reinforced keeping the community safe.

The delicious meal was prepared by UCAN and served by Charlie Hodges, Jan Ball, and Karrie Olmstead.

MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The MHA's recent Spring 2017 Newsletter can be accessed on line at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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The Road from Participant to CFO at the Mental Health Association

June 9, 2017

The cover story in the recent Mental Health Association (MHA) newsletter describes the journey their chief fiscal officer took to achieve her new position. Bob Tomb, board treasurer, and Jenny Rowe, CFO, are pictured in the office they share at the MHA.

Jamestown, NY - Jenny Rowe has been Chief Fiscal Officer at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) since January.

When Bob Tomb returned to his hometown after his second retirement - first from AT&T's financial arena then as a paralegal - he volunteered to run the computer lab at MHA before becoming its Chief Fiscal Officer. When he prepared to move from CFO to board treasurer, Tomb knew that Rowe would be his perfect replacement.

As Rowe says in the MHA's recent newsletter that features her story on the cover, Six years ago I wouldn"t have believed I could come so far. That's because six years earlier she was in the Chautauqua County Jail.

The story describes the abuse, addiction and despair that characterized most of her life until Rowe found her way to the MHA. There she found the support she needed not only to become drug-free but to earn her bachelor's degree from Jamestown Business College and now to be half-way to a master's degree in finance.

Other features of the MHA's Spring Newsletter are descriptions of the many happenings there, announcements of new programs and opportunities, and recommended books and videos. There is information on mental health first aid training and Parents of Angels, MHA's newest group for grieving parents who have experienced the tragic death of a child, especially by addiction or suicide.

The newsletter, with the MHA's new logo highlighting "Hope Advocacy Recovery," can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on "Read Our Newsletter" at mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York. More than two dozen peer support groups meet there every week, with focuses including Veterans, Jobs, Spanish Language, Women's PTSD, AA Living Sober, Parents in Recovery, and many more.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Family Planning and Healthy Living at Mental Health Association Thursday, June 1

May 24, 2017

Registered Nurse Supervisor Alison Espin will give her monthly presentation on Family Planning and Healthy Living at noon on Thursday, June 1, at the Mental Health Association (MHA). Espin works for the Nurse Family Partnership through the Chautauqua County Health Department and oversees the Opiate Overdose Prevention Program in the county. The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center in Jamestown.

Jamestown, NY - Two factors led Alison Espin to offer Family Planning and Healthy Living presentations at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Compared with the rest of New York State, Chautauqua County has a high incidence of babies born with NAS: neonatal abstinence syndrome. As a result of their mothers taking opioids -- either prescribed painkillers or heroin -- these infants were exposed to drugs in the womb and can experience drug withdrawal after birth.

In addition, with the closing of county family planning clinics in December, 2015, there are increasing barriers to getting birth control for the high risk population MHA serves.

Espin oversees the Opiate Overdose Prevention Program in the county as part of her work for the Nurse Family Partnership through the Chautauqua County Health Department. Beginning last January, at noon on the first Thursday of every month she gives a talk on the methods of birth control and where to go to get them, STDs, Hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

While every group is different, there are usually 15-20 participants, both male and female.

Our conversations usually evolve to whatever the participants want to talk about, and I spend some time dispelling myths -- of which there are many! Espin says.

Explaining that she tries to incorporate as much humor as possible, the Registered Nurse Supervisor says that her motivation for this work, Comes from my sincere desire to connect those in need to the people that can help. For this particular group, the message is that if they are 'in use' or in 'the first year of recovery,' they need a method of birth control, as their bodies are just not ready for a healthy pregnancy. She says they may be using risky sexual behaviors, and she recommends STD testing every three months if they have more than one partner.

Like all of the more than two dozen groups and classes that meet every week at the MHA, Family Planning and Healthy Living is free and open to the public.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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New Groups, Open Mic Nights Announced at Mental Health Association Luncheon

May 18, 2017

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's April Recovery Luncheon recognized participants for their recovery achievements and others for their service to the organization. Among those applauded were (seated, left to right) Dorothy Carlson, Blaine Wescott, (standing, left to right) Harry Radke, Angel, David Sargent, Amanda Penhollow, Debra Carr, Susan Rhodes, and Emilia Dunn.

Jamestown, NY - In addition to recognizing recovery progress and expressing appreciation, the April Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) was a time to describe new opportunities.

Associate Director Steven Cobb announced the names of 26 people who received awards for their recent recovery achievements or their contributions to the work of the MHA. Six were recognized for successfully graduating treatment court and ten for advancing through treatment court phases, five for recovery achievements, three for gaining employment, and four for their contribution to the huge success of the Coffee Houses. One of those named went from being in jail eight months ago to starting full-time employment in a very demanding setting.

The Coffee Houses begun by Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program interns Susan Rhodes and Emilia Dunn will continue under the direction of Joseph Vaughn and Angel. Now named Monday Night Open Mic at MHA, they will be from 7:00 to 8 p.m. on the second through fourth Mondays. The theme for the second Mondays will be Family Comedy, third Mondays: Open Poetry, and fourth Mondays: Live Music.

Joining more than two dozen peer support groups that gather weekly, Parents of Angels meets on Thursdays at 6 p.m. Facilitated by Tina Glenn and Sharon Lawson, the group is exclusively for grieving parents who have experienced the tragic death of a child, especially by addiction or suicide.

Pastor Mark Hurst reported that more than 30 people participated at some point in his Anger Management Class, with four graduating. His new group that meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays is based on discussion of William Paul Young's The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, that has been made into a film.

Charlie Hodges of UCAN - United Christian Advocacy Network - announced that the UCAN City Mission on First Street is now open as a Crisis Center and Shelter for men.

Ian Eastman, MHA board member and Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator for Evergreen Health Services, announced that Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause serious liver damage. Only about half of the 200,000 infected in New York State know they have Hep C, and our area has a particularly high rate. Evergreen offers a free and confidential test at their location at the MHA.

On Thursday, May 11, you can learn about the work being done across New York State at "Hepatitis C Elimination Listening Session" at the Prendergast Library. Evergreen is a co-sponsor with VOCAL-NY and Partnership for Public Good. The 1-3 p.m. event will include food and beverages. To reserve a space, contact The Evergreen Exchange at (716) 541-0678.

Least Resistance is the original play presented April 28-29 and May 5-6 by Winged Ox Players, the theatre ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Focused on hope, many of the stories it tells of people dealing with addiction and recovery in Jamestown are about MHA participants. As part of their preparation, all the cast came to the free Narcan training offered at MHA by the Chautauqua County Health Department. Steven Cobb directed the play that included MHA participants in the cast.

The delicious meal was prepared by UCAN and served by Jan Ball, Ryan Carn, Tim Ellis, Charlie Hodges, and Karrie Olmstead.

The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants succeed in attaining their goals.

All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the rear of the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Narcan Training at Mental Health Association, Monday, May 15

May 11, 2017

Winged Ox Players, the theatre ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, recently presented Least Resistance, an original play about people dealing with addiction and recovery in Jamestown. As part of their preparation, all the cast went to a free Narcan training presented at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). The Narcan training will be offered again at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 15, at MHA, 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center in Jamestown.

Jamestown, NY - In the opening scene of Least Resistance, the recent production by Winged Ox Players, a mother saves her daughter's life by administering Narcan after the young woman overdoses on heroin.

Presented by the theatre ministry of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Least Resistance is an original play about people dealing with addiction and recovery in Jamestown. As part of their preparation, the cast participated in Narcan training at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a medication that can be administered as a nasal spray by first responders or friends and family to someone who is experiencing an opiate or heroin overdose.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is offering Narcan training at the MHA again at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 15. It will be led by Public Health Nurse Alison Espin.

The free session is open to the public, and participants will be given a free NARCAN Reversal Kit.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center. Registration is not required but is appreciated. For information or to register call (716) 661-9044.

Open Monday through Saturday, the MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and treatment courts to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

In an accepting environment, the MHA provides recovery coaching as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Changing Behavior, Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, PTSD, Family Support, Parenting, Spanish Language, Living Sober, and more. There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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"Parents of Angels" Meetings Start Thursday, April 27, at Mental Health Association

April 20, 2017

Thursday evening, April 27, will be the first meeting of "Parents of Angels" at the Mental Health Association. The group is exclusively for grieving parents who have experienced the tragic death of a child, specifically to addiction or suicide. This "angel" image has been selected to represent the group.

Jamestown, NY - When Hamilton composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda tried to express what Eliza and Alexander Hamilton went through after the death of their 19-year-old son in a duel, the only words he could find were "the unimaginable."

While coping with the death of a loved one is always difficult, it is especially traumatic for parents who have lost a child to addiction or suicide.

To provide support for those experiencing the unimaginable, "Parents of Angels" will begin meeting on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to mindfulness and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Narcan Training at Mental Health Association, Thursday, April 20

April 13, 2017

Alison Espin, Public Health Nurse at Chautauqua County Health Department, will lead a free Narcan training at the Mental Health Association at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.
The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Jamestown, NY - Narcan can save a life. It has saved dozens of lives in Chautauqua County.

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a medication that can be administered as a nasal spray by first responders or friends and family to someone who is experiencing an opiate or heroin overdose.

Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services and the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) are presenting a Narcan training at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 20.

Alison Espin, Public Health Nurse at Chautauqua County Health Department, will be doing the training. The free session is open to the public, and participants will be given a free NARCAN Reversal Kit.

The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center. Registration is not required but is appreciated. For information or to register call (716) 661-9044.

Participating in the training will be the cast of Least Resistance, a new play about addiction and recovery that features stories of people in Jamestown, and some Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program students.

The students are using the Narcan training to further their awareness of chemical dependency and mental health treatment.

The cast of Least Resistance want to help bring awareness to the resources in our community to fight opiate overdose and be prepared themselves to help people. Performances of the play, written and compiled by Richard Olson-Walter and directed by Steven M. Cobb, are at 7:30 p.m. on April 28 and 29 and May 5 and 6. Reservations for the free tickets can be made at leastresistance.org. Donations will be accepted to help support the recovery community in Jamestown.

The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

The MHA is open Monday-Saturday. In an accepting environment, the MHA provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, PTSD, Parenting, and more. There is no charge for any of the MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Many Announcements and Recognitions at Mental Health Association Luncheon

March 29, 2017

Twenty-eight people were recognized for their recovery achievements at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's March Recovery Luncheon. Among those who received certificates were (pictured from left) George Edington, Christopher Maini, Michelle King, Timothy Ellis, and Jonathan Schwab.

Jamestown, NY - The monthly Recovery Luncheons at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) are an opportunity both to recognize progress for participants and to share important news.

At the March luncheon Associate Director Steven Cobb announced the names of 28 people who received awards for their recent achievements. Six people were recognized for successfully completing Jamestown treatment court, eight for advancing stages on treatment court, six for gaining employment, and eight for other recovery milestones.

Cobb also said that the first presentation of the Coffee House initiated by Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program interns was a great success. All are invited when it convenes again on Wednesday evenings, 6-7 p.m., April 5 and 19.

MHA is sponsoring the final game of the Jamestown Jackals at Jamestown Community College. The Jackals is an area basketball team that was created to help inspire hope in others.

Community Helping Hands is holding a Treasured Gems women's makeover event on Saturday, April 29. Taking place 2-7 p.m. at the Gateway Center and sponsored by Praise Fellowship in Russell, Pennsylvania, the full makeover will provide hair styling, manicure, pedicure, new dress and shoes.

MHA Certified Peer Recovery Coach Jennifer Huber applauded UCAN - United Christian Advocacy Network - for their diligence in continuing to present the monthly recovery luncheons even as they are working to reopen the Jamestown Union Gospel Mission.

As an MHA board member and Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator for Evergreen Health Services located at the MHA, Ian Eastman announced that the Center for Disease Control has determined that substance overdose is the number one cause of accidental death. He cautioned that just as the body develops a tolerance for drugs and requires more, that tolerance can also be lost rapidly when a person is in recovery or jail, leading to an increased risk of overdose in the case of relapse.

Jim Quattrone from UCAN announced "Iron Sharpens Iron," the all-day men's conference that works on developing leadership skills in a Christian environment. MHA will provide tickets and transportation for those interested in participating in the Saturday, April 8, event in Orchard Park, New York.

The delicious meal was prepared by UCAN and served by Karrie Olmstead from the MHA, Jan Ball from COMPEER, Charlie Hodges and Jim Quattrone from UCAN, and MHA participant Joe Cohen.

The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists that provide recovery coaching. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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JCC Interns Introduce Coffee Houses at Mental Health Association

March 25, 2017

Thanks to two Jamestown Community College (JCC) occupational therapy assistant interns, Coffee Houses are a new part of the programming at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. Pictured on either side of Dr. Heather Panczykowski, Director of JCC's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, are students Emilia Dunn (at left) and Susan Rhodes.

Jamestown, NY - Two newcomers to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) exhibited obvious excitement as they described the first Coffee House they initiated.

Emilia Dunn and Susan Rhodes are students in Jamestown Community College's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program who began internships at MHA this semester.

More than two dozen participants came to their recent inaugural Coffee House, with contributors playing guitar, singing, reading poetry, doing karaoke, and showing art pieces. Some of these reflected work the participants had done in groups at MHA.

The students described the Coffee House experience as very powerful, healing as participants shared how they have battled addiction and childhood tragedies. They thought those who took the open mic could be so personal because MHA is a safe place to share, where everyone supports each other.

The event, which lasted a little more than its scheduled hour, is planned again for 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, April 5 and 19, while Dunn and Rhodes complete their internships. The young women hope the program will continue when their work is finished.

Commenting on MHA's connection with the college, Director of Student Activities Ken Yergens said, JCC's Occupational Therapy Assistant Program and the MHA continue to expand our collaborative efforts on behalf of both the students and our participants. This is a very successful relationship, and we hope to expand on it in the future.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

March 22, 2017

Mental Health Association Coffee House Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 6 p.m.

With apologies for the short notice (this all came together rather quickly), you are invited to the inaugural Coffee House at the Mental Health Association. Beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, this will be an evening filled with poetry, music, stand-up comedy, and open mic. Refreshments will be served.

Plans are for Coffee Houses to be every other Wednesday night, with dates scheduled for April 5 and April 19, to which you are also welcome.

The event is free of charge and open to the public.

(Just a reminder to ask permission of any individuals photographed.)

  • What: MHA Coffee House
  • Why: inaugural event
  • When: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 6 p.m.
  • Where: Mental Health Association, Gateway Center, 31 Water St., Door 14, Jamestown, NY
  • Who: Sponsored by Jamestown Community College Occupational Therapy students

For more information, contact:

Kia Narraway-Briggs, Executive Director
Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County 31 Water Street, Jamestown, NY 14701
(716) 661-9044, ext. 1
kia@mhachautauqua.org
Website: www.mhachautauqua.org

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Free Classes in March for Parents of Newborns to 5-Year-Olds

February 14, 2017

Parenting today is a serious challenge. Kathleen Colby, Director of Training Services at the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, is pictured leading First Five Years, a four-session, two-hour multicultural video and discussion program she will present in March at the Mental Health Association. Pre-registration is required for these classes that are offered free of charge thanks to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Jamestown, NY - Whatever the age of your child, being a parent today is a tough job.

To get a good start, parents of children from birth through age five are invited to participate in "First Five Years," a program that addresses basic parenting skills and is perfect for the new parent.

Kathleen Colby, Director of Training Services at the Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, will present this four-session multicultural video and discussion program from noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, March 1, 8, 15, and 22. Classes will be held at the Mental Health Association (MHA) in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door 14, Suite 7, in Jamestown.

The program is offered free of charge thanks to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

"First Five Years" looks at child development and parenting in terms of the age/stage of the child in a variety of nuclear families and diverse cultures.

This early intervention will increase school readiness as you learn the importance of developing language skills, increasing vocabulary, and providing positive learning opportunities during early brain development. You will also learn the stages of development - why your child acts like he/she does, how to keep a child safe, how to bond with your child, the importance of self-care, and how you can discipline your young child.

In addition to parents, the program is for grandparents, nannies, childcare professionals, early childhood educators, mental health professionals, and anyone else who lives or works with young children.

Deadline for registration is Monday, February 27. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required.

For information and to register contact Kathleen Colby at (716) 664-3608 or kjcolby@casacweb.org.

To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Significant Announcements, Recognitions at Mental Health Association Luncheon

February 12, 2017

Twenty-four people in the recovery community were recognized for their achievements at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's January Recovery Luncheon. Among those who received certificates were (pictured from left) Debra Carr, Samantha Sargent (with her son in front), Miranda Lopez, Harry Radke, and Erica Burkholder.

Jamestown, NY - In 2016, 465 different individuals worked with Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) recovery coaches. More than 90 gained or maintained employment, and 57 enrolled in education programs.

Those were the numbers shared by Director of New Program Development Rick Huber at the MHA's January Recovery Luncheon.

In presenting awards for achievements to MHA participants, Associate Director Steven Cobb said, You are the recovery community in Jamestown. … You are all very important members of our community. We need you to grow and strengthen our town. When you are finished here, you go out and contribute to the Recovery Jamestown needs. You will all be vital parts of our community.

Six people were recognized for completing treatment court, eight for advancing stages on treatment court, and ten for achieving recovery goals from employment to new housing.

Cobb also announced that Jenny Rose is the new chief financial officer of the MHA.

Evergreen Health Services can now test for Hepatitis C. Anyone who has tattoos or has injected drugs is encouraged to visit Evergreen's office at the MHA for free testing.

Jim Quattrone of United Christian Advocacy Network (UCAN) announced that the Jamestown Union Gospel Mission is expected to be reopening soon.

The delicious meal was prepared by UCAN, including Charlie Hodges, and served by Jan Ball, Jonathan Schwabb, and Joe Cohen.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Notes Growth, Promotions, and New Logo

February 6, 2017

Key figures at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) met recently in the sensory room. Pictured are Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Chair of the MHA Advisory Board; Kia Narraway-Briggs, Executive Director; Steven Cobb, Associate Director; and Carm Micciche, Board President. Missing from the picture because he was in Albany is Rick Huber, Director of New Program Development. With a bell being the historic symbol of the mental health movement and freedom from the stigma of mental health diagnosis, it has been incorporated into the MHA's new logo, as pictured.

Jamestown, NY - When your numbers double in a year, you must be doing something right. And you probably need to make some adjustments to accommodate your growth.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is a peer run organization staffed by trained recovery coaches who are themselves recovering from mental health diagnosis and/or substance abuse. For those battling addiction, the availability of peer support can mean the difference between overcoming the addiction, relapsing, and possibly even death.

In 2016 the MHA recorded 15,337 daily visits - almost double the 7,714 recorded just a year earlier.

In keeping with this growth, the organization has advanced key staff and unveiled a new logo.

Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Chair of the MHA Advisory Board, announced, The Mental Health Association Advisory Board joins the chorus of those congratulating Kia Narraway-Briggs on her appointment as the new Executive Director of the Mental Health Association. Kia is the perfect choice for this position. She is known for her abilities as an excellent leader, administrator, advocate and peer recovery coach all in one. Her calm and steady approach are so important as the MHA continues to carry out its mission during a time of considerable community need. Our Advisory Board is proud of Kia's accomplishments and looks forward to working with her in this new capacity.

MHA Board President Carm Micciche said, I am pleased to announce Steven Cobb as our new Associate Director. Steven has shown great dedication to the MHA and the recovery movement. He became employed at the MHA in 2012 and the board feels that he is a great motivational speaker and has all the qualities to compliment the new administration team.

With his increasing involvement in securing grants, making trips to Albany, and advocating for the organization, Rick Huber's title has been upgraded to Director of New Program Development. His new title has him focusing on program viability and sustainability.

Of her new position, Narraway-Briggs said, I am excited to work as a team to move forward in the peer movement and to continue to collaborate with outside agencies to better serve our participants and the community.

Narraway-Briggs was also eager to share the new logo approved by the board. Created by Sara Corsi Staley of Wax Lily Design, it incorporates a bell, the historic symbol of the mental health movement and freedom from stigma of mental health diagnosis.

Sixteen people in the city of Jamestown died last March as a result of drug addiction.

Narraway-Briggs said that deaths from substance abuse are down from earlier last year, possibly because more professionals - including volunteer fire departments, police and sheriff departments, and EMTs - have been trained in the use of Narcan.

We would love to work ourselves out of a job, but we don't see that happening, Narraway-Briggs said. While Narcan can reverse the effects of drug overdose and prevent so many deaths, there may be more actual overdoes now as well as possible suicides. We don't turn people away. A week can be too long to wait if you are ready for treatment or suicidal. As long as someone wants help, we will find help for them.

Referrals to the Mental Health Association come from treatment courts, community resources, local churches and non-profits, as well as the individual themselves or their family members.

The MHA currently employs nine full-time recovery coaches, including one Latino, to provide help and support to the men and women in their program. Recovery coaches work with individuals to set self-sufficient goals that they wish to accomplish. For many, those goals may include continuing their education, obtaining and maintaining employment, securing permanent housing, and increasing visitation with their children or regaining custody.

The Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings participants come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

To learn more about the Mental Health Association and its programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

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More Than 70 Enjoy Mental Health Association Holiday Luncheon

January 15, 2017

Twenty-two people in the recovery community were recognized for their achievements at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County’s December Recovery Luncheon. Among those who received certificates were (pictured from left) Torry Knight, Dorothy Carlson, Jonathan Schwabb, and Brian Jones.

Jamestown, NY - More than 70 people from Jamestown's recovery community enjoyed the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) December recovery luncheon.

They came to recognize recovery milestones for 22 participants, including six who succeeded in graduating from Jamestown Treatment Court. One Jamestown resident was celebrating 30 years of continuous sobriety.

The delicious holiday meal was prepared by United Christian Advocacy Network with the support of Christ First United Methodist Church, Bemus Point United Methodist Church, and Lakewood Baptist Church.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Luncheon Participants Learn About Evergreen Outreach Program

November 28, 2016

At the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's November Recovery Luncheon 20 participants were recognized for their progress. Among those who received certificates were Jackie Hayse, pictured at left, and Faye Wolbert, at right. Recovery guide Luis Rosa is in the center. Luncheon participants also learned about Evergreen Health HIV & Hepatitis C outreach to young injection drug users.

Jamestown, NY - At the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) November luncheon 17 participants were recognized for reaching recovery goals and three for graduating from Jamestown Treatment court.

While Hepatitis C and HIV are preventable and effective treatments are available for people who are already infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control, acute Hepatitis C infections increased by 250% between 2010 and 2014. Young people who inject drugs are at an especially high risk for these infections.

Ian Eastman, whose office is at the MHA, is Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator for Evergreen Health. He talked about Evergreen's new program to combat Hepatitis C and HIV, reaching out to people ages 29 and under who inject drugs to help them develop a strategy to reduce risks. Those who complete two sessions will receive a $50 gift card. Those who refer an eligible friend will receive an additional $25 gift card. Sessions include HIV and Hep C testing, overdose prevention training, linkage to services, and more. To make an appointment - which is necessary to participate - call (716) 541-0678 or come to the Evergreen Exchange at the MHA.

The MHA's Director of Peer Services, Steven Cobb, spoke about a new recovery program called Refuge Recovery that he and Sheridan Smith are leading. Based on Buddhist Principles, this is the first meeting of this fellowship in New York State outside of New York City. Smith is a Buddhist and each meeting includes meditation. Refuge Recovery meets every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Mental Health Association.

Charlie Hodges, Jan Ball, and Dr. Mark Hanson, volunteers from the United Christian Advocacy Network, prepared and served the meal.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Over two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the Mental Health Association, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns, from PTSD to parenting and much more. All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MHA Newsletter: Dr. Lillian Ney. Addiction is a Disease, Not a Moral Failing

November 21, 2016

One of the stories in the first newsletter published by the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is about a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for an additional recovery coach. The accompanying photograph includes (from left) MHA Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Ney, MHA Chief Executive Officer Rick Huber, Community Foundation Executive Director Randy Sweeney, and MHA Advisory Board Vice-Chair Dale Robbins.

Jamestown, NY - A picture of Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney graces the front page of the first newsletter published by the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

Dr. Ney is such an inspiration to us, said MHA Executive Director Kia Briggs, and we're so pleased that her message can be spread this way.

In her story, Dr. Ney explains how her eyes were first opened about drug addiction when she went to a presentation by the Mental Health Association. Her message now is, Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing.

In another story, a mother describes the trauma their entire family experienced from their daughter's substance abuse – including their house being set on fire. With the help and guidance of MHA's certified peer recovery coaches, eight years later the young woman received her master's degree in social work, while working full-time as a single parent.

This first newsletter, with the MHA's motto Recovering Lives, Saving Families, can be read in its entirety on the MHA website, mhachautauqua.org.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street, Door #14, in Jamestown, New York. More than two dozen peer support groups are held there every week, where participants can talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Hours are Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

To learn more about the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Advances Celebrated at Mental Health Association Luncheon

October 24, 2016

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Jamestown, NY - Nineteen individuals were recognized for their progress in recovery at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) October luncheon.

MHA Director of Peer Services Steven Cobb had certificates for two people who gained employment, three who completed treatment, 10 who advanced a phase in treatment court, and three who graduated treatment court.

Helen Walther, a certified peer specialist from Housing Options Made Easy, Inc., who runs the Self-Help and Advocacy: Foundations program at the MHA, recognized the individual who completed The Pursuit of Happiness: Working the Eight Dimensions of Wellness into Our Lives program.

A new peer support group has been added to the more than two dozen where participants can come weekly to talk with others across a wide range of concerns. Parents in Recovery now meets every Friday afternoon from noon to 12:45 p.m. at the MHA. For more information, call Samantha Sargent at (716) 661-9044.

It was announced that MHA hours have been extended. They are now Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Congressional candidate John Plumb spoke briefly of his plan for combatting the opioid epidemic.

The delicious harvest meal included turkey and all the fixings, as well as a selection of homemade pies. It was prepared by the United Christian Advocacy Network under the direction of Charlie Hodges and Todd Milspaw, with assistance from Bemus Point United Methodist Church, Christ First United Methodist Church, and Lakewood Baptist Church. It was served by volunteers Jan Ball, Richard Brown, Joey Cohen, Shawn Jones, and Tom Newton.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. They work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Recovery Participants and Coaches Recognized at Mental Health Association Luncheon

October 12, 2016

At the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's (MHA) recent Recovery Luncheon 23 participants were recognized for their progress. MHA recovery coaches were also recognized by CASAC for their contribution to the recovery community. Recovery coaches pictured (from left) are Steven Cobb, Luis Rosa, Joseph Anderson, Jennifer Diamond, Julie O’Brien, Jenny Rowe, and Michael Keeney.

Jamestown, NY - The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is staffed by recovery coaches who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

Recovery coaches are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

At the CASAC (Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council) Recovery Walk in September the MHA's recovery coaches were recognized for their contribution to the recovery community in Chautauqua County. They and their award were also acknowledged at the MHA's recent Recovery Luncheon.

The MHA holds monthly Recovery Luncheons to recognize participants for attending support groups, receiving recovery coaching services, gaining employment, advancing through treatment court, and starting college.

A total of 23 participants were recognized for their progress at the recent luncheon. Thirteen participants were acknowledged for advancing a phase at treatment court, eight for gaining employment, and two for graduating from treatment court.

The meal was prepared and served by Charles Hodges and Jim Quattrone of the United Christian Advocacy Network and volunteers Jan Ball and Todd Milspaw.

In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the MHA offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

All MHA services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Jamestown Coin Club Contributes to Mental Health Association

October 11, 2016

At their recent executive committee meeting, officers of the Jamestown Coin Club voted to make a contribution to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County. Those present were (seated from left) Bob Ross, Jr., Gloria Ross, and Bob Ross, and (standing from left) Jim Dye, Don Hook, Steve Hatfield, Chuck Brininger, Scott Kerr, Larry Crook, Mike Fay, and John Boner.

Jamestown, NY - Included on the agenda of the latest meeting of the executive committee of the Jamestown Coin Club was voting to make a donation to the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County.

As club president Chuck Brininger read from the donation request form, The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and also specifically with the Jamestown City Treatment Court, to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. Recovery coaches are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

The recent death from a drug overdose of the "adopted" son of one of the officers was of special concern to the group. The victim, in his mid-40s, had become addicted to opioid pain medications.

With the exception of the December holiday party, the Jamestown Coin Club meets regularly on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Erie 2 BOCES Center on Route 394 in Ashville. Doors open at 6 p.m. and meetings begin at 7 p.m.

These monthly get-togethers include door prizes and raffles and are highlighted by an auction of coins submitted by members. Annual membership is $9. Guests are welcome to participate at no charge. March and August meetings are junior guest nights.

The group sponsors coin shows in March and September at the American Legion Herman Kent Post 777. The March show is held in conjunction with the Corry (Pennsylvania) Coin Club.

For more information about the Jamestown Coin Club, call (716) 720-1591.

To learn more about the Mental Health Association, located in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street in Jamestown, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

September 21, 2016

Jamestown Recovery Walk, Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In celebration of National Recovery Month, a collaboration of eight local service providers is sponsoring a Recovery Walk in downtown Jamestown. Following the walk from CASAC to Infinity, the program will include a screening of Hope and Healing for Chautauqua, an inspiring short video created by Kranky Plate Productions; a skit on recovery by the Awareness Theatre Alumni; and the presentation of awards to individuals for their continued support of recovery.

One of the three awardees will be Dr. Lillian Ney, chair of the Mental Health Association’s Advisory Board.


The event is free of charge and open to the public.


  • What: Jamestown Recovery Walk
  • Why: Celebration of National Recovery Month
  • When: Tuesday, September 27, 2016, begins at 4 p.m., program at ~4:45 p.m.
  • Where: Walk begins at CASAC (Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Council) office, 501 W. Third Street, at 4 p.m. and continues to Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, 301 E. Second Street.
  • Who: Co-sponsors are CASAC, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, HOPE Chautauqua, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, TLC Health Network, United Christian Advocacy Network, and WCA Hospital.

For more information, contact:

Kia Narraway-Briggs, Executive Director

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County 31 Water Street, Jamestown, NY 14701

(716) 661-9044, ext. 1

kia@mhachautauqua.org

Website: www.mhachautauqua.org

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Chautauqua County Celebrates National Recovery Month, September 27 and 29

September 15, 2016

As part of a national celebration of Recovery Month, Chautauqua County organizations that provide substance use treatment and mental health services are joining to offer Recovery Walks in Jamestown at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27, and Dunkirk on Thursday, September 29. The Dunkirk event will include a screening of the video Hope and Healing for Chautauqua and keynote speaker Jeffrey Thomas.

NORTH COUNTY

Jamestown, NY - The theme for the 2016 National Recovery Month is Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover.

Now in its 27th year, this September observance celebrates the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery from mental and/or substance use disorder and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

In Chautauqua County, services providers are joining forces to present Recovery Walks in both Jamestown and Dunkirk, with the goal to promote awareness, educate the community, and remember those who have lost their fight with addiction and those who are still struggling with addiction.

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, a Recovery Walk will begin at the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) Jamestown office, 501 W. Third Street, at 4 p.m. and proceed through downtown Jamestown to Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, 301 E. Second Street.

The North County Recovery Walk will be on Thursday, September 29, 2016, starting at 4 p.m. at CASAC's Dunkirk office at 324 Central Avenue and ending at the Salvation Army at 704 Central Avenue.

Hope and Healing for Chautauqua, a short video created by Kranky Plate Productions, will be shown at both events. Through conversations with local residents, the film describes the variety of services available in Chautauqua County. In case of rain or for those not joining the walk, the showing will begin at 4:45 p.m. at both locations.

Also, in Jamestown the Awareness Theatre Alumni will present a skit on recovery. Jeffrey Thomas will be the keynote speaker in Dunkirk.

A special feature of the Jamestown event will be the presentation of awards to individuals for their continued support on the Recovery Move, their determination to help individuals and families that may be dealing with addiction, and bringing awareness to the concerns surrounding opioids. In addition to honoring Dr. Lillian Ney, two other awards will be announced.

Both events are free of charge and open to the public.

Co-sponsoring the Walks are the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, HOPE Chautauqua, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, Salvation Army, TLC Health Network, United Christian Advocacy Network, and WCA Hospital.

To learn more, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

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Chautauqua County Celebrates National Recovery Month, September 27 and 29

September 15, 2016

As part of a national celebration of Recovery Month, Chautauqua County organizations that provide substance use treatment and mental health services are joining to offer Recovery Walks in Jamestown at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, September 27, and Dunkirk on Thursday, September 29. The Jamestown event will feature a screening of the video Hope and Healing for Chautauqua, a skit on recovery by Awareness Theatre Alumni, and the presentation of three awards for service, including one to Dr. Lillian Ney (pictured).

SOUTH COUNTY

Jamestown, NY - The theme for the 2016 National Recovery Month is Prevention Works, Treatment is Effective, People Recover.

Now in its 27th year, this September observance celebrates the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery from mental and/or substance use disorder and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible.

In Chautauqua County, services providers are joining forces to present Recovery Walks in both Jamestown and Dunkirk, with the goal to promote awareness, educate the community, and remember those who have lost their fight with addiction and those who are still struggling with addiction.

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, a Recovery Walk will begin at the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) Jamestown office, 501 W. Third Street, at 4 p.m. and proceed through downtown Jamestown to Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, 301 E. Second Street.

The North County Recovery Walk will be on Thursday, September 29, 2016, starting at 4 p.m. at CASAC's Dunkirk office at 324 Central Avenue and ending at the Salvation Army at 704 Central Avenue.

Hope and Healing for Chautauqua, a short video created by Kranky Plate Productions, will be shown at both events. Through conversations with local residents, the film describes the variety of services available in Chautauqua County. In case of rain or for those not joining the walk, the showing will begin at 4:45 p.m. at both locations.

Also, in Jamestown the Awareness Theatre Alumni will present a skit on recovery. Jeffrey Thomas will be the keynote speaker in Dunkirk.

A special feature of the Jamestown event will be the presentation of awards to individuals for their continued support on the Recovery Move, their determination to help individuals and families that may be dealing with addiction, and bringing awareness to the concerns surrounding opioids. In addition to honoring Dr. Lillian Ney, two other awards will be announced.

Both events are free of charge and open to the public.

Co-sponsoring the Walks are the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, HOPE Chautauqua, Infinity Visual & Performing Arts, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, Salvation Army, TLC Health Network, United Christian Advocacy Network, and WCA Hospital.

To learn more, call the Mental Health Association at (716) 661-9044.

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Alex: Celebrate the Life, the Smile at Northwest Arena on Saturday, October 1

September 15, 2016

Alex: Celebrate the Life, the Smile will be at the Northwest (formerly Jamestown Saving) Bank Ice Arena in downtown Jamestown on Saturday afternoon, October 1. Complete with hockey games, a concert, and open skate, the event is to raise awareness of substance abuse disorders and funds for the Alex Foulk Memorial Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. An avid hockey player who died in February of a heroin overdose, Alex Foulk would have been 27 on October 4. Pictured is a logo with his hockey number.

Jamestown, NY - Hockey games, a concert, ceremony, and open skate - a lot of activities will be part of Alex: Celebrate the Life, the Smile.

The event at the Northwest (formerly Jamestown Saving) Bank Ice Arena in downtown Jamestown on Saturday, October 1, celebrates what three days later would have been Alex Foulk's birthday 27th. An avid hockey player, Alex died in February of a heroin overdose.

The afternoon will raise awareness of substance abuse disorders and funds for the Alex Foulk Memorial Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

"Old Timers" and "Young Guns" hockey teams made up of local players from a variety of backgrounds will face off in the main arena in two back-to-back games beginning at 2 p.m.

After the second game, at about 4 p.m., a red carpet ceremony will honor families who have lost loved ones to drugs or alcohol. Area residents who are in recovery and living fulfilled lives will also speak.

Following the ceremony, popular local band TPT will perform and there will be open skating in the rink until 6:30 p.m. A small donation ($5) is suggested but not necessary to cover skate rentals.

This family fun event will also be educational. Surrounding the rink will be representatives and informational materials from Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council, Evergreen Health Services, HOPE Coalition, Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, and more.

The epidemic has not reached its peak, said Kim Carlson, Alex's mother and organizer of the event. Young kids don't have the knowledge of what drugs will do or how deadly the wrong combination can be.

Anyone who has questions or names of people they would like to honor can call Carlson at (716) 499-5070.

Tickets are $10, $5 for children ages 6-10, free under age five, $25 for a family of four or more.

In hopes of filling the rink that holds 2500 people, there will be a flat fee of $100 for any size organization: an entire hockey, football, or other team, senior or other school class, Brownies, Boy Scouts, fire departments, clubs or civic organizations. Groups are asked to wear something that shows their association: a jersey, jacket, scarf, or anything of their choosing.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 20, in the main lobby of the Northwest Arena. A representative will be at the rink for sales from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, September 20, 22, 27 and 29.

The Alex Foulk Memorial Fund was established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to help raise funds for transitional housing for those recovering from drug addiction.

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Recover Story Told at Mental Health Association Luncheon

September 6, 2016

Twelve people were recognized for their progress at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's August Recovery Luncheon. Among those awarded certificates by Director of Peer Services Steven Cobb (pictured at left) were Ashley Miller, Dave Narraway, Jeff Kulig, and Erika Burkholder.

Jamestown, NY - Director of Peer Services Steven Cobb recognized 12 people for their progress at the recent Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

The MHA holds monthly Recovery Luncheons to recognize participants for attending support groups, receiving recovery coaching services, gaining employment, advancing through treatment court, and starting college.

The meal was prepared and served by Charles Hodges, Mark Hurst, and Jim Quattrone of the United Christian Advocacy Network. They were assisted by volunteers Laura Fellows, Todd Milspaw, and Jonathan Schwab.

At the previous luncheon, Jonathan Bogue shared his personal recovery story.

A Connecticut native, Jon battled drugs from the age of 12 and was overcome by them at 25 when he started using heroin. For the next 12 years, heroin controlled his life, costing him his wife and his son. In December of 2011, while he was in the hospital dying from walking pneumonia, an ex-girlfriend smuggled heroin to him. After signing himself out of the hospital against medical advice, panic attacks forced him to realize that something was terribly wrong.

At that point, Jon called his only drug-free friend, a Jamestown resident, and made the move here. Suffering through terrible withdrawals from multiple drugs, he was led to the Mental Health Association where he participated in a group and met with a recovery coach. Serious health issues followed -- endocarditis, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis C – and he eventually had open heart surgery for a valve replacement.

Now employed and speaking to school children about the horrors of drugs, Jon says he doesn't know what would have come of him if MHA hadn't been there: Everything good in my life happened here in Jamestown. I just want to bring hope to others so they realize what’s possible. I love life and other people.

The Christ-centered recovery group that Jon originally participated in at the MHA now meets at 6:30 p.m. on Monday and Friday nights at First Covenant Church, 520 Spring Street in Jamestown.

Jon is among the individuals featured in Hope and Healing for Chautauqua, a short video describing the services available in Chautauqua County for people suffering from substance abuse. The theme of the video is Prevention works. Help is Available. Recovery is Possible. It can be viewed on YouTube at youtu.be/E231kLLMqh0.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court, to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. Recovery coaches are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the MHA offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. The full schedule for support groups and classes can be found at www.mhachautauqua.org/services.

All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Be Part of the Solution Sponsoring Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk This Saturday

August 15, 2016

In celebration of what would have been McKenzie Paulson"s twenty-fourth birthday, Be Part of The Solution is sponsoring a Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk this Saturday, August 20. Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the 9 a.m. walk starting from Shawbucks in downtown Jamestown.

Jamestown, NY - Despite her efforts at recovery, 23-year-old McKenzie Paulson passed away this past June from her struggle with drugs.

In celebration of her twenty-fourth birthday, Be Part of the Solution is sponsoring a Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk this Saturday to help raise funds for transitional housing for those recovering from drug addiction.

The walk starts at 9 a.m. from Shawbucks, 212 West Second Street, in downtown Jamestown.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the person with the highest dollar amount of pledges and one for the person with the largest number of sponsors.

McKenzie Paulson's mother, Lauri Keller of Falconer, describes her daughter as a typical All-American girl who, with her good grades, graduated a year early from Falconer High School. She worked at Heritage Green as a teenager and continued work in the health care field.

McKenzie enjoyed working with the elderly and those with disabilities and went to Jamestown Community College with plans to go into nursing. She attended Zion Tabernacle Church in Jamestown. Among those she left behind are a son, a daughter, and a stepson.

Keller said her daughter was always a party girl. About three years ago when she was going through a tough time, she tried heroin. This led to trouble with the law and eventually to time in jail. When she was released to the Mental Health Association (MHA), a peer recovery program in Jamestown, their staff called for an appointment to begin treatment. The first opening was three weeks later; the appointment was scheduled for the day after McKenzie died.

The MHA was phenomenal, Keller said. They gave us at least three wonderful weeks with her. We were all shocked that she was one who relapsed.

I can’t fathom the pull this drug has on people, Keller explained. At least at the MHA they understand. It takes at least a year for the addict's brain to return to normal functioning. Maybe if McKenzie had been in transitional housing, she might have made it. She wanted nothing more than to be with her kids. In transitional housing she could have been.

As a flyer promoting the Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk states, Addiction affects everyone in Chautauqua County and we, as a community, need to educate ourselves to erase the stigma attached to drug addiction. Many in our area have been touched by the loss of a son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister, or a close friend. WE CAN BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

The goal of the Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk is to help raise awareness in our community, increase understanding and to educate people on the steps and available resources for recovery and to remove the stigma associated with drug addiction.

Immediately after the Walk, a benefit will be held at the Hartfield Fire Hall for McKenzie Paulson's children. Participants will enjoy a chicken dinner, Chinese auction, music, dancing, door prize, and more. Email paulsonlacey@hotmail.com for the $20 tickets or more information. The Hartfield Fire Hall is at 6078 Elmwood Road, Mayville.

For more information on the Drug Addiction and Recovery Awareness Walk, email agfmtp@gmail.com. For online registration, to sponsor a walker, or to make a donation, visit agfmtp.wufoo.com/forms/awareness.

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Mental Health Association Luncheon Applauds Recovery Progress

August 8, 2016

At the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County's recent Recovery Luncheon nearly three dozen people were applauded for their progress. Pictured here are some of the honorees: in the front row from the left are Ashley Miller, Jonathan Schwab, Samantha Sargent and her son, Ashley Johnson, Amy Lynch, and Harry Radke; in the back row from the left are Kevin Philbrick, Brandon Smith, and Laura DuBois.

Jamestown, NY - The achievements of nearly three dozen individuals were applauded at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County’s recent July Recovery Luncheon.

Director of Peer Services Steven Cobb recognized 24 people for their advancement with Jamestown Treatment Court and achieving employment. Helen Walther of Housing Options Made Easy, Inc., recognized 10 people for completion of Peer Advocacy Courses.

A delicious meal was prepared and served by Charles Hodges and Jim Quattrone of the United Christian Advocacy Network. Jan Ball from Compeer assisted with the serving.

The Mental Health Association (MHA) is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

Since celebrating positive milestones has been shown to increase long term recovery, the MHA regularly holds luncheons to help provide this positive reinforcement to those in addiction and mental health recovery.

The MHA is staffed by recovery coaches who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and also specifically with the Jamestown City Treatment Court, to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. Recovery coaches are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

The MHA promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the Mental Health Association offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

All services and programs are offered free of charge.

The Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about the MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Be Part of the Solution Encourages Chautauqua Gran Fondo Participation

August 4, 2016

Be Part of The Solution leader Kim Carlson is encouraging participation in the Chautauqua Gran Fondo. Along with SWCS Education Foundation and the Chautauqua County Veteran's Endowment Fund, the Saturday, August 27, event benefits the Mental Health Association, a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

Jamestown, NY - Since the death last February of her 26-year-old son, Alex Foulk, Kim Carlson has worked tirelessly to bring awareness of drug addiction and removing the stigma associated with addiction to the local community.

As leader of Be Part of the Solution, a group she created to help tackle this crisis, she is encouraging participation in the Chautauqua Gran Fondo in Mayville, New York, on Saturday, August 27.

I believe that if we all come together and do a little bit, we can make a difference, Carlson said. Right now that 'little bit' can be having a fun day bicycling around our beautiful county.

Along with SWCS Education Foundation and the Chautauqua County Veteran's Endowment Fund, the Gran Fondo benefits the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

Promoting acceptance and recovery principles, the Mental Health Association (MHA) is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis, most from substance abuse. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the MHA also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

Carlson's primary focus is on the need for prevention and bringing transitional housing to Jamestown, so addicts aren’t told they have to leave the community to get help. She established the Alex George Gregory Foulk Memorial Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to help address both these issues. The fund will be used toward transitional housing and to support the prevention work of CASAC, the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council.

More information about the Chautauqua Gran Fondo is online at Facebook and chautauquagranfondo.com.

To learn more about Mental Health Association, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Recovery Progress Recognized at Mental Health Association Luncheon

June 12, 2016

The May Recovery Luncheon at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County was prepared by the United Christian Advocacy Network. Volunteers who served the meal are all members of Lakewood Baptist Church: (from left) Marianne Reinagel, Randy Wilson, Judy Kidder, and Debbie Sproveri.

Jamestown, NY - "Our daughter just got her master's degree," a woman shared in conversation at the May Mental Health Association Recovery Luncheon.

That would be a heart-warming event for any parent, but particularly for this mother. Because eight years ago her daughter had spent four months in jail after setting her parents' house on fire, causing the whole interior of the house to have to be rebuilt - an act that took more than six months of apartment living before her parents could return home.

These parents couldn't understand how she could come to this, living in their comfortable home and surrounded by a loving, supportive family - including near-by siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

"We were ready to give up and turn our backs on her," this mother said. Then they had friends whose daughter was brutally killed. "That terrible tragedy brought us to the realization that we were lucky enough to still have our daughter - and we knew we had to do whatever we could to help her."

The hardest part was not knowing where to go for help for the mental illness and substance abuse that plagued their 22-year-old daughter. They will be forever grateful for finally finding Kia Briggs and Rick Huber at Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).

"When our lives were turned upside down -- even before the fire -- we didn't know where to go, where to turn for help. It wasn't easy, but with the help we found, she put her life back together. After finishing at JCC (Jamestown Community College), she got her degree at Fredonia. Then as a single mom, she worked full-time while going to school, having an internship, writing a thesis, and now she has her master's degree in social work. And it all started here at MHA," this mother said.

She finished by stressing, "We want other people to know that MHA is here. These wonderful people at MHA helped our daughter to make it through Treatment Court, and they helped her find housing. They helped her find employment and got her started at JCC. We are so thankful that eight years later MHA is still here and has grown to help many more people like her and their families, especially now that the need is greater than ever."

Mental Health Association is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, MHA offers more than two dozen peer support groups where men and women can talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are free.

Recovery luncheons are held monthly to recognize the progress that individuals are making on their road to recovery. At the May luncheon, Director of Peer Services Steven Cobb recognized seven people for completing a Treatment Court Phase, six for graduating from Treatment Court, one for completing treatment, and eight for gaining employment.

Helen Walther from Housing Options Made Easy, Inc. runs the Self-Help and Advocacy: Foundations program at MHA. A Certified Peer Specialist, she is the training coordinator for the program that develops and teaches advanced life skills for people in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. Walther awarded five certificates of attendance.

A delicious meal was prepared by the United Christian Advocacy Network. Lakewood Baptist Church members Judy Kidder, Marianne Reinagel, Debbie Sproveri, and Randy Wilson were the volunteer servers.

Mental Health Association is located in the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, New York. To learn more about MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Narcan Training at Mental Health Association, Thursday Evening, June 23
June 12, 2016

Julie Apperson, a registered nurse who is Program Director for the Chautauqua County Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, will lead a free Narcan training at the Mental Health Association at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 23. The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center.

Jamestown, NY - Narcan has saved dozens of lives in Chautauqua County.

Narcan is the brand name for naloxone, a medication that can be administered as a nasal spray by first responders or friends and family to someone who is experiencing an opiate or heroin overdose.

Narcan training will be held at Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) on Thursday, June 23 at 6 p.m.

The free session is open to the public and will teach residents how to use Narcan in the case of an opioid overdose. The training will be presented by Julie Apperson, a registered nurse who is Program Director for the Chautauqua County Opioid Overdose Prevention Program.

Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center. For parking, drive through the main parking lot around to the back of the building and use the rear parking lot. Door 14 is located off the rear parking lot.

For information or to register call (716) 661-9044. Registration is not required by is appreciated.

MHA is open Monday-Saturday. In an accepting environment, MHA offers one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches -- trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis or substance abuse -- as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, and more. There is no charge for any of MHA's services or programs.

To learn more about MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A complete list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9-4, Thursday 9-8, Friday and Saturday, 9-2.

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Mental Health Association Membership Drive Underway
June 2, 2016

Becoming a member is one of the ways you can support the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County in its work "Recovering Lives, Saving Families." Board president Carm Micciche (at left) and vice president Mary Keeney are working with CFO Bob Tomb in spearheading the membership drive that is currently underway.

Jamestown, NY - "Recovering Lives, Saving Families."

This theme of the membership drive in progress at Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) describes what happens when people with mental health, alcohol, and/or drug addiction issues come to the program in Jamestown's Gateway Center.

"When a person is in crisis, the whole family suffers," said MHA board president Carm Micciche, who along with vice president Mary Keeney is heading up the membership effort. "When individuals or family members come to MHA, they are going to get help from someone who has been in their shoes and has learned to navigate the system."

MHA is staffed by recovery coaches, trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis or substance abuse. They work in collaboration with other community organizations and especially the Jamestown City Treatment Court to help participants be successful in attaining their goals.

In an accepting environment, MHA offers one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches as well as more than two dozen peer support groups and classes. Focuses for the various groups include Self Help, Recovery, Mindfulness, Veterans, Learning to Live Again, and more. There is no charge for any of MHA's services or programs.

The recent drug epidemic, with 16 drug-related deaths in Jamestown in the month of March alone, makes services more needed now than ever.

The response to the membership drive has been heartwarming. "There are so many people in our community who recognize the scourge of substance addiction and mental illness and want to support our work," Micciche said. "We've been thrilled to receive checks from folks who have responded to our invitation to help someone acquire adequate housing, go back to school, gain meaningful employment and financial independence, along with learning to adopt a healthier lifestyle."

You can become a member of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County by sending a check in the amount of your choosing to: MHA Membership, 31 Water Street, Suite 7, Jamestown, NY 14701.

To learn more about MHA and its many programs, call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. A complete list of support groups and classes is at mhachautauqua.org/services.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in at 31 Water Street, Door 14 in the rear of the Gateway Center.

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Alex Foulk Fund to Support Transitional Housing and Prevention

May 7, 2016

At a recent "Be Part of the Solution" gathering Kim Carlson talked about the Alex Foulk Memorial Fund she established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation in memory of her 26-year-old son who died from a heroin overdose. The Fund will support drug abuse prevention and transitional housing for recovering addicts. Pictured is the logo representing Alex's hockey jersey that Carlson will use with fund raising. Alex was a star kicker for Jamestown High School and also loved hockey; “44” was his number for both sports.

Jamestown, NY - When more than 30 people gathered recently at Shawbucks to "Be Part of the Solution" of the local heroin crisis, Kim Carlson described the need for transitional housing for drug addicts.

Since the February 26 death of her 26-year-old son, Alex Foulk, of a heroin overdose, Carlson has been working tirelessly to bring awareness of the drug problem to the Jamestown community.

"If we all come together and do a little bit, we can make a difference," Carlson assured her audience.

She described encountering a man pumping gas who recognized her as Alex's mother. This stranger told her how much Alex's support and encouragement had helped him get through cancer treatment. "Alex will always be with us," she said.

Opioid pain medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet, are gateway drugs to heroin. In her opening remarks, Carlson stressed the importance of not keeping these medicines where they are accessible to children or other family or visitors. People have been known to ask to use the bathroom just so they could search for these.

Carlson's primary focus was on the need for prevention and bringing transitional housing to Jamestown, so addicts aren't told they have to leave the community to get help. She plans to help address both these with the Alex George Gregory Foulk Memorial Fund she established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Carlson is working with Rick Huber, CEO of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, to develop a place where men, women, and mothers with children can be housed while they transition back to work and family life. As she described, transitional housing is neither a half-way house nor a rehabilitation facility, but rather, a safe place for recovering addicts to live while learning work-life skills.

Alex's sister Kasie talked about the TPT concert to benefit her brother's memorial fund. The event will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Willow Bay Theater, 21 East Third Street in downtown Jamestown. Doors will open early for basket raffles and t-shirt and Frisbee sales. Tickets are $3 pre-sale for students/kids and $5 pre-sale for adults, $4/$6 at the door.

Carlson said her son's fund at the Community Foundation will be used exclusively for the transitional housing project and to support the prevention work of CASAC, the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council. Julie Franco, coordinator of CASAC's substance abuse prevention coalition HOPE (Healthy Opportunities, Prevention & Education) Chautauqua, can be contacted at (716) 664 3608 or julie@casacweb.org.

Mental Health Association is a peer support recovery center that promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge: call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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Mental Health Association Luncheon Celebrates Milestones

May 4, 2016

Clients and friends of Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County recently enjoyed a Recovery Luncheon presented by the United Christian Advocacy Network.

Jamestown, NY - Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is a peer-run organization offering support services to people with substance addiction and all other forms of mental health diagnosis.

MHA is staffed by recovery coaches who work in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, and also specifically with the Jamestown City Treatment Court, to help participants be successful in attaining their goals. Recovery coaches are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

Because celebrating positive milestones has been shown to increase long term recovery, MHA regularly holds "Recovery Luncheons" to help provide this positive reinforcement to those in addiction and mental health recovery.

At the recent April luncheon attended by clients and friends of MHA, clients were celebrated for attending support groups and receiving recovery coaching services. Those recognized for reaching specific milestones included Curtis Nance for his graduation from treatment court and Lindsey Smith and Stacy VanSickle for gaining employment. Others celebrated were two people who had phase advancements during treatment court, four successfully completed their outpatient treatment, three successfully completed Jamestown City Treatment Court, four others gained employment, and one was accepted into Jamestown Community College.

A delicious meal was prepared and served by the United Christian Advocacy Network.

MHA is a peer support recovery center that promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

To learn more about the Mental Health Association and its many programs, call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

All services and programs are offered free of charge.

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Mental Health Association Receives Community Foundation Grant
April 24, 2016

Kia Narraway-Briggs, Mental Health Association (MHA) executive director and recovery coach trainer, provides a brief lesson in recovery coach training to Lillian Ney, MHA Advisory Board chair; Rick Huber, MHA chief executive officer; Randy Sweeney, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director; and Dale Robbins, MHA Advisory Board member. A recent grant from the Community Foundation provided funds to hire a full-time recovery coach at Mental Health Association.

Jamestown, NY - Mental Health Association in Chautauqua Country recently received a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's Fund for the Region to hire an additional full-time recovery coach for 2016.

"Individuals who are battling an addiction need to know they have their community's support behind them. We are seeing far too many of our young people, who have bright futures ahead of them, succumbing to this awful disease," said Randy Sweeney, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director. "It needs to stop, and the Community Foundation is encouraged by the work our Mental Health Association is doing with their recovery coach program, to do that."

Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) is a peer run organization staffed by recovery guides and coaches. MHA staff are trained individuals who are recovering from mental health diagnosis and most are recovering from substance abuse.

Rick Huber, Mental Health Association chief executive officer, expressed his appreciation to the Community Foundation for their grant, saying that it will serve a real need. In the month of March (2016) sixteen people in the city of Jamestown alone died as a result of drug addiction.

"In the last three years, the people who have used our coaching services have not suffered an overdose," Huber said. "That is an incredible statistic for us." He noted that the typical participant in their programs is a middle class, white female in her mid-twenties with two children.

Referrals to Mental Health Association come from treatment courts, community resources, local churches and non-profits, as well as the individual themselves or their family members.

For those battling addiction, the availability of peer support can mean the difference between overcoming the addiction, relapsing, and possibly even death. MHA currently employs nine full-time recovery coaches, including one Latino, to provide help and support to the men and women in their program.

Recovery coaches work with individuals to set self-sufficient goals that they wish to accomplish. For many, those goals may include continuing their education, obtaining and maintaining employment, securing permanent housing, and increasing visitation with their children or regaining custody.

"Being a recovery coach really needs to be a calling," Huber said. "It's not something for the faint of heart. It is not a 9-5 job: we are on call, 24/7. Often times, I'll get a phone call at 3 a.m. from a worried parent who got my phone number from a police officer, and you just go."

In addition to relating to participants though their own life experiences, recovery coaches must complete thirteen core competent classes though the Academy of Peer Services to become certified. Following their certification from the New York State Peer Specialist certification board, they must also adhere to the strict boundaries and Code of Ethics contract established by the board.

The Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings, men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns.

To learn more about Mental Health Association and the programs they offer, call (716) 661-9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua. All services and programs are offered free of charge.

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MEDIA ADVISORY
February 27, 2016

Candlelight Vigil for Christin Tibbetts and Others Killed by Heroin

This Saturday marks the first anniversary of the death of 23-year-old Christin Tibbetts from a heroin overdose. Born in Dunkirk, Christin graduated from Fredonia High School, went to Jamestown Community College, and attended SUNY Fredonia. Since finding his daughter's lifeless body on the morning of February 27 last year, Kevin Tibbetts has been committed to speaking out for the need for more services for people with addictions in Chautauqua County.

  • What: Candlelight Vigil for Christin Tibbetts and Others Killed by Heroin
  • Who: Christin's parents, Kim Leach and Kevin Tibbetts, and friends and family of other heroin victims
  • When: Saturday, February 27, 2016, 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Where: Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club 1 North Mullett Street, Dunkirk, New York
  • Why: Chautauqua County is losing a whole generation of young people to the heroin epidemic. This vigil is to remember those we have lost and to underscore the need for more services for people with addictions.

For more information, contact:
Rick Huber, CEO
Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County
(716) 661-9044
mhacc_1@yahoo.com

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Candlelight Vigil for Christin Tibbetts and Others Killed by Heroin
February 12, 2016

On the first anniversary of her death from a heroin overdose, Christin Tibbetts's parents, Kim Leach and Kevin Tibbetts, will join the Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County in sponsoring a Candlelight Vigil. This remembrance of all those who have died from heroin will be held on Saturday evening, February 27, 2016, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, 1 North Mullett Street in Dunkirk.

Jamestown, NY - When 23-year-old Christin Tibbetts died a year ago from a heroin overdose, she left her grieving parents as well as a five-year-old daughter.

On Saturday, February 27, the first anniversary of her death, her parents, Kim Leach and Kevin Tibbetts, will join the Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County in holding a Candlelight Vigil to remember Christin and all those who have died from heroin. The Vigil will be at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, 1 North Mullett Street in Dunkirk, New York.

Born in Dunkirk, Christin had been a soccer player and cheerleader, graduated from Fredonia High School, went to Jamestown Community College, and was attending SUNY Fredonia.

After becoming addicted to heroin, in the final months of her life Christin lost her car, apartment and custody of her daughter. In an effort to stay clean, she went from jail to her father's home in Falconer.

Since finding his daughter's lifeless body on the morning of February 27 last year, Kevin Tibbetts has been committed to speaking out for the need for more services for people with addictions in Chautauqua County.

In preparing for the vigil, Christin's parents had supper recently with Rick Huber, CEO of the Mental Health Association.

"Kim asked me why she could have sent her daughter to other states and gotten her in for treatment but couldn't find anything here," Huber said. "That was three years ago, and still all we have is the 12-bed, 28-day program at WCA (Hospital), when any parent who's had a heroin-addicted child will tell you that's not long enough at all."

From his years of providing peer support to drug addicted people at the Mental Health Association, Huber observed, "Our government has been spending time and resources trying to get the problem to fit into existing programs when we need to develop local programs to meet the problem. We are losing a whole generation of young people to this epidemic. This vigil is to remember those we have lost and remember we need to fight to get what is needed so we don't lose more."

To learn more about the Candlelight Vigil and the services of the Mental Health Association, call (716) 661 9044 or visit mhachautauqua.org or facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.

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