News & Events

Gannon Greek Life Supports NAMI

Recently, Gannon University’s Greek Life presented a check for over $2,500 in support of NAMI’s educational programs. Representatives from Greek Life are shown left to right: Mike Coyle, Lacey Rovnak, Shelby Malone, Elisabeth Duer, Margaret Carroll, Jake Braddock and Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County. Denise is a Gannon alumna with a Bachelor of Arts in 2001 and a Master in Business Administration in 2008.

Mental Health First Aid Course to be held at NAMI

A new course on Mental Health First Aid will be taking place soon, and you are invited to attend. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County will be hosting Mental Health First Aid training sessions beginning March 27-28, with later dates taking place in April and May. Through this course, which will be eight hours and held on two evenings for each session, participants will be trained to provide initial help to people experiencing symptoms of mental health problems.

In addition, participants will learn the impact of mental stress, how to respond to people who may need mental health services, and how to connect people with appropriate care. Over the course of the two-day course, participants will study a variety of topics including: depression, anxiety and panic disorders, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

In addition to the class dates on March 27-28, additional classes will be held April 25 and 27 and May 8-9. All of the classes will be held from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the NAMI office, which is located at 1611 Peach Street, Suite 105, inside the Professional Building in Erie, PA. Eileen Zinchiak, a certified trainer, will be the instructor. Cost to attend the training sessions is $35 per person, and the class size is limited. For any questions, please contact Eileen Zinchiak at 814-456-7217 or

‘Fabulous’ Fat Tuesday Event Kicks Off Golf Outing

On Tuesday, February 28, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County was the proud beneficiary of a Celebrity Bartending event at the Brewerie at Union Station.

At the event, which coincided with Fat Tuesday, there was live Dixieland Jazz by the Dixie Doodlers, and the proceeds raised from the night went to support NAMI’s programs and services.

In addition, this event served as the kickoff for our Fifth and Fabulous Annual Golf Outing, which will be held Friday, June 23 at Venango Valley Inn.

Thus far, $100,000 has been raised from the previous four golf outings, and we’re excited to make this upcoming golf outing bigger and better than ever.

For more information on the Fifth and Fabulous Golf Outing, please visit

Save the Date!

NAMI Staff Reads to Local Kindergarten Class

Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, and Jason Kisielewski, Kiwanis Club of Erie Members and NAMI of Erie County Staff, read a story to a kindergarten class at Lincoln Elementary School yesterday. The books were donated to the students by Hooked on Books.


NAMI Takes Home Gold at NWPA’s Niagara Awards

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County won two awards at last night’s Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Northwestern PA Chapter’s Niagara Awards. NAMI won a gold Niagara Award in the category of Advertising and Public Service Announcements for a client testimonial campaign and a silver Niagara Award in the category of Publications for the 2015 Community Report. The Niagara Awards honor the best of Northwestern Pennsylvania’s public relations practices. Pictured below, from left, are: Jeff Clorley, President of PRSA of NWPA; Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, NAMI of Erie County Executive Director; and Steve Orbanek, President-elect of PRSA of NWPA.


NAMI Partners with Local Media for Panel Discussion

Last night, Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA (pictured right), Executive Director at NAMI of Erie County, joined Emily Matson (pictured left), WICU-TV News Anchor and Reporter, and Lisa Adams (pictured center), WSEE-TV and WICU-TV News Anchor and Reporter, for a panel discussion at the Erie Art Museum. The panel discussion, which was moderated by Dr. R. James Wertz, Associate Professor for Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Communications and Media Studies, was held in response to the film, “Christine,” which discusses the life of TV news reporter, Christine Chubbuck, who was working in Florida in 1974. After struggling in her professional and personal life and living with clinical depression, Christine made national headlines after committing suicide during a live news broadcast. NAMI of Erie County thanks the Film Society of Northwestern PA for hosting the panel discussion and bringing awareness to suicide and suicide prevention.


NAMI’s Fall Cookie Mix Sale!

There is still time to purchase your fall cookie mix from NAMI! We have Autumn-themed jars that make great gifts for friends or a fun activity to do with your family on a cool, fall day! Each jar costs only $5 and includes enough ingredients to make two dozen cookies. This season, we have the following recipes available:  Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies, M&M Trick or Treat Cookies, Pumpkin Oatmeal Scotchies and Toffee Blondie Bars! To order, please stop by the NAMI of Erie County office or call (814) 456-1773. Cookie jars can be picked up at the NAMI Office. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Hurry in, because these cookie jars always sell out quickly!

Proceeds benefit NAMI of Erie County’s free programs and services.


Erie Sprout

NAMI of Erie County is proud to be a part of a new initiative, Erie Sprout. Erie Sprout is a website that allows people to search for community services wherever they are 24 hours a day. In addition, it is also a database for the various resources that are available in Erie County, separated by categories. The website is a user-friendly tool for individuals and families to search for the resources and services that they need, which is an important tool because it puts all of the resources in one easy-to-access location, eliminating the need to search through various websites to find information. It also puts people in the community in contact with the resources that are out there to help them. There is now a smartphone app, as well, which allows individuals to look for resources on the go. To learn more, please visit

NAMI Combats Stigma for Mental Illness Awareness Week

img_8241Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), which was held during the first full week in October, provided an opportunity to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equality. To celebrate MIAW, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County hosted a variety of events to bring awareness to mental illness in the community.

NAMI kicked off the week with a recognition event at Gannon University by joining forces with Gannon University’s Greek Life to bring mental illness awareness to Gannon’s campus. The event educated students on mental illness and how to get help if they or someone that they know need it.

In addition, the event included an information table with general facts on mental health and wellness. The table also included games and giveaways, which encompassed the themes of mental health and the stigma associated with it. Students learned about mental health and were given the opportunity to ask the NAMI staff questions.

In addition, NAMI also hosted a panel discussion at Edinboro University about the stigma that is associated with mental illness, which brought together more than 125 Edinboro Unviersity students to learn about mental health. The panel, which featured local family members, peers and mental health professionals, discussed what stigma is, how it affects people, and how we can stop it.

NAMI’s “Packs for Prevention” awareness campaign was also on display during the discussion at Edinboro University. This campaign featured 1,100 backpacks that represent the number of students who are lost each year to suicide on college campuses across the United States.

To continue the discussion throughout the month of October, NAMI and Gannon’s Greek Life hosted a second panel discussion on Gannon’s campus on October 24. This discussion also focused on the stigma associated with mental illness and featured local family members, peers and mental health professionals. The event offered a great response from the more than 50 students that were in attendance at the event.

According to statistics obtained from NAMI National, one in four adults experience mental illness problems every year, and 50 percent of chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Although many people today understand that mental illness is a medical condition, individuals and families affected by mental illness are still often subjected to stigma and discrimination.

NAMI of Erie County celebrated MIAW through educating the public about stigma and continues to do so throughout the entire year. We have come a long way, but stigma still exists in the community, which often creates barriers to treatment and discrimination toward individuals and their families living with mental illness. NAMI believes that the best way to combat the stigma associated with mental illness is through education. Through education and awareness, we can stop stigma. NAMI would like to thank the Erie County Department of Mental Health/Intellectural Disabilities, the Barber National Institute, the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), Erie County Care Management, Lundbeck Pharmacuticals, PNC Bank and Stairways Behavioral Health for their sponsorship of MIAW 2016.

Pictured, from left, are:  Daniel Zboyovski, President of the Edinboro Psychology Club; Emilee Demay, Student Government Association; Alex Lockwood, Marketing Coordinator at NAMI of Erie County; Jack Halli, Mental Health Advocate; Sheila Silman,  Director of Erie County Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance and NAMI board member; John Groh, NAMI board member;  and Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, Executive Director at NAMI of Erie County.