Article Contributed by
Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County
With June upon us, it seems hard to believe that not long ago there were people who struggled to find overnight shelter from the cold.
The front page of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County’s (MHA) spring newsletter gives a quick tour of the warming center in the Gateway Center that was at capacity from shortly after its opening in early January through late April.
The newsletter tells of the generosity of the community – including Jamestown High School students who donated nearly $7,000 from the 2023 Battle of the Classes – and volunteers who make a difference.
The MHA’s Spring Newsletter can be found online at MHAChautauqua.org/newsletters.
Other stories highlight the accomplishments of staff members like Strong Starts Navigator Jessica Crooks, who received a 2023 Impact Award from the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, and Dunkirk floor manager Ken Kendall and his son Kenny, who turned their lives around.
In his executive director’s message, Steven Cobb explains the importance of “helping people who use substances to achieve their goals, not treatment providers’ goals. Recognizing often their goal has nothing to do with abstinence. Embracing that when you are still using, you look for a home, or a job, or better health, or a safe sleep, or NARCAN, or clean needles, or visitation with children, or peace of mind, or community, and—of course—love and respect….In so much of the healing that happens for those of us with substance use and mental health challenges, the foundation is built on reducing stigma, radical acceptance, and love.”
The MHA is participating in the Chautauqua Region and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundations’ 24-hour online fundraising event Give Big CHQ on Thursday, June 8. Give Big has special importance for the MHA because the money it raises can directly assist the participants it serves. Donations at GiveBigCHQ.org can be used for emergency housing, food, transportation and sometimes even a small treat to celebrate achievements or provide a needed lift. The MHA is also featured in Target Circle, with a June 30 deadline.
The newsletter describes the services offered by the MHA, including personal coaching, advocacy and community outreach, OPEN (Occupational Peer Empowerment Network), Narcan training and more. It also names the dozens of peer support groups that meet regularly, from Alternatives to Suicide to Writing in Recovery, with fuller descriptions of the Veterans, Fun Friday and Grief groups.
To access the MHA’s Spring Newsletter online, go to MHAChautauqua.org/newsletters.
For a printed copy, stop in at the Gateway Building Door 14, 31 Water Street in Jamestown, call (716) 661-9044, or email newsletter@MHAChautauqua.org.
With programs in both Jamestown and Dunkirk, the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is a peer recovery center offering support groups and individual coaching for people looking to improve their lives, deepen wellness, thrive in recovery, or support those on a recovery path. Peers use their personal stories to help people find recovery in their own lives in their own way.
All Mental Health Association services are free.