In a given year, 1 out of 5 employees will likely develop a mental illness. NAMI of Erie County would like to create a healthier and more productive workforce, a reduction in absenteeism and create a more positive work environment for all. Thanks to the support from Highmark, NAMI will be able to empower individuals to return to the workforce and maintain their current level of employment through mental health education. “Together, we’ll help improve the current unemployment rate in Erie County,” Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, Executive Director at NAMI says, “We’re excited to launch this new partnership – we’re already seeing the value of this program to the community. Thank you, Highmark, for your support!”
Although the program is in its initial stages, NAMI of Erie County has received positive feedback from the Erie Community Foundation, Country Fair and the Erie County Department of Health. “Based on the first round of meetings, leaders in the community are concerned about the well-being of individuals and families facing the daily challenges of mental health. “We’re here to assist local businesses and nonprofits in providing the information and resources that will help meet an individual’s needs at home and in the workplace,” says Kolivoski. The mental health education outreach program will offer a series of educational speakers and the evidenced-based Peer-to-Peer program that NAMI of Erie County launched as a pilot project in 2010 in Corry, PA. Kolivoski says, “The survey data from the Corry project showed an overwhelming impact on an individual’s ability to develop and maintain a mental health recovery plan that enables individuals with mental illness to return to the workforce or maintain their current level of employment. Many participants in the class were empowered to further pursue professional accomplishments.”
PHOTO: Pictured above is Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, Executive Director of NAMI of Erie County and James W. Martin, CFRE, Director of Community Affairs at Highmark.