News and Events

NAMI’s 8th Annual Fabulous Golf Outing

Golf is open! Join NAMI for fun and fabulous-ness on Friday, June 26 at Venango Valley Inn & Golf Course.

As always, golfers will enjoy a day of 18-holes, along with live music provided by Mike Trott, and lunch donated by Give a Crepe. Later on, DJ Tony B is playing all the greatest hits on the course where golfers compete for the Golden Boa Award and fabulous team prizes!

The Fabulous Golf Outing benefits our signature Family-to-Family program that helps individuals and families in Erie County.
“Our mission of mental health education is now more important than ever before. We encourage the community to support NAMI’s Fabulous Golf Outing so we can help families that need additional assistance during these challenging times,” says Denise Kolivoski, MBA, NAMI of Erie County Director.

Throughout the years, the Fabulous Golf Outing has helped more than 30,000 individuals and families in Erie County. This couldn’t be possible without our fabulous supporters!
You can be a part of this fabulous day. Register your golf foursome today at NAMIerie.org/fabulous, and we’ll see you out on the green!

Be There. Be Fabulous.

Pictured above: 2019 Golden Boa Winners (L-R) Justin Spierling, Gary Winner, NAMI Executive Director, Denise L. Kolivoski, MBA, Dean Rainville, Jacques Lemoyne

NAMI Homefront

NAMI is hosting the pilot session of NAMI Homefront in September. This is an educational program for families, caregivers, and friends of military service members and veterans living with mental health conditions. It’s offered at no cost to participants and no formal diagnosis is required.

Based on the nationally recognized Family-to-Family program, NAMI Homefront is designed to address the unique needs of family, caregivers, and friends of those who have served or are currently serving our country. The program is taught by trained family members of veterans living with mental health conditions.
NAMI Homefront teaches participants how to manage crises, solve problems, and communicate effectively with their loved one.

The course also teaches how to develop the confidence and stamina to support your family member with compassion. There’s knowledge passed along that includes the latest research and information on mental health.

Mental Health First Aid Trainings

NAMI is offering Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid classes every week at our office beginning in July and continuing through August. These trainings are entirely free to the public, but seating will be limited, so be sure to register!

We are following all guidelines given for social distancing to ensure safety of participants and instructors. Because of this, class sizes will be limited to eight participants per class.

Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs of mental illness. This course gives an overview of mental health challenges people may be facing, and teaches an action plan for how you can help in some experiencing a mental health episode.

Youth Mental Health First Aid directly addreses understanding mental illness in young people. This course is suitable for parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone else that would like to help young people experiencing mental health concerns.

Country Fair Cares Campaign

Country Fair stores annually give to a variety of local charities, along with running the Country Fair Cares program. This program picks five local nonprofits every year to be featured at the Charity Pump!

This year, NAMI of Erie County has been chosen as one of the five charities. The other charities involved are: the Erie Animal Network, Erie Philarmonic, the Mercy Center for Women, and
St. Martin Center. This program kicks off May 1st and will continue until October 31st.

During this time, you can help out all five charities by purchasing gasoline at one of the charity pumps. This will take two cents from every gallon and disperse the funds equally to each charity. This process costs you nothing extra, and only benefits the nonprofits involved!

Funds from this program will benefit the NAMI Basics program. This course educates parents and caregivers of children experiencing mental health issues, and gives them tools on how to best help their child. For more information, or to register for our next session, call the NAMI office at (814) 456-1773.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, NAMI joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year we fight stigma, provide support, and educate the public to help people with mental illness and their families. Through this, it allows us to spread awareness about our cause.

NAMI’s “You are Not Alone” campaign features the lived experience of people affected by mental illness to fight stigma, inspire others, and educate the broader public. Now more than ever before, it is important for the mental health community to come together and show the world that no one should ever feel alone. The campaign builds connection and increases awareness with the digital tools that make connection possible during a climate of physical distancing.

Even in times of uncertainty, the NAMI community is always here, reminding everyone that you are not alone.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

NAMI is continuing to offer Mental Health First Aid training to the Erie community, and we are excited to announce that Youth Mental Health First Aid will be available soon! This course is primarily intended for adults to learn how to help young people experiencing mental health challenges. It reviews the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents ages 12-18 and emphasizes the importance of early intervention.

Mental health impacts more youth-aged children than we realize. One in six kids ages 6-17 will experience a mental health challenge each year, with suicide being the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34. These numbers are staggering, but Mental Health First Aid is here to help. This course is beneficial for parents, caregivers, teachers, youth leaders, and so many more!

It can be applied to every day life in learning how to help loved ones with their overall mental wellness. If you are interested in taking this course, you can call our office at (814) 456-1773. Together, let’s make Mental Health First Aid as common as CPR!

Nonprofit of the Year: NAMI of Erie County

The 8th Annual Commitment to Erie (CTE) Awards were held on September 19 and NAMI of Erie County was announced as Nonprofit of the Year.

These awards honor businesses and nonprofits for the commitment that they make to the Erie community in the form of providing jobs, service to their customers, and charitable outreach to their neighbors in a variety of forms.

“In the case of NAMI’s nomination and win for the CTE Nonprofit of the Year, the judges were extremely impressed with the work that NAMI has done over the last several years addressing the needs of individuals throughout the region,” said Scott Miller, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and School of Business at Edinboro University, as well as Commitment to Erie 2019 judge.

He continued: “Individuals facing mental health issues have, historically, been viewed negatively in society. Through the work of NAMI and its visibility in the community, mental health issues have become better understood and individuals have been not only more accepting of those facing mental illness, but more cognizant of potential issues they face themselves.”

NAMI of Erie County was delighted to be selected out of the many deserving nonprofits, and will continue to enhance our service to the Erie community.

“We thank NAMI, its leadership, staff, and volunteers for the good work they do and are appreciative of the efforts that you have done to improve the quality of life in Erie,” said Miller.

Mental Health First Aid Trainings

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to the signs of a mental health challenge. Just as CPR helps someone with no clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

In 2018 it was found that 19 percent (47.6 million) of U.S. adults experienced a mental illness, with suicide being second leading cause of death among people age 10-34 and the 10th leading cause of death overall. In Erie County, that’s over 55,000 individuals, or 1 in 5, that are going to face a mental health challenge this year. Less than half (43.3 percent) are going to receive the treatment that they need, with an average delay of 11 years before reaching out for help.

When you take MHFA, you are trained to help people in need. With so many experiencing a mental health challenge, it is becoming more common to learn what we as bystanders can do to help in a crisis.

Soon, NAMI will also be able to train participants in Youth Mental Health First Aid! Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

If you would like to schedule a training for your staff, or are interested in community trainings held at the NAMI office, you can call (814) 456-1773.

COVID-19 Update

NAMI’s mission of providing educational services will continue to be available during the outbreak of COVID-19. Our mental health resources and support are considered life-sustaining, and we will continue to do our part in the Erie Community.

You can join our online support group by clicking here. These groups will be available weekdays from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. For questions, call (814) 456-1773. Please note if using a mobile phone, you must first download the zoom meeting app on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


Tips for People with Mental Illness:
1. For anyone who is unsure about attending therapy sessions outside the home, especially those who the CDC has described as being at higher risk, you can ask your health care provider about tele-therapy or mental health services online.
2. For anyone who is worried about access to prescribed medications, you can ask your health care provider about getting 90-day supplies vs. a 60 or 30-day supply. If this is not possible, we encourage you to refill your medications as soon as they are allowed. Note: If healthcare providers deny/decline making accommodations, challenge the decisions at least three times. Decision-makers on making health plan adjustments may change if/as conditions worsen.
3. Listen to and follow your local public health care provider expectations.
4. Provide self-care, especially if in the higher risk population as defined by the CDC. Pay attention to emerging symptoms. Reach out to family and friends.

The CDC’s Basic Tips While Working:
1. Find out about your employer’s plans if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
2. Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards and phones, to help remove germs.
3. Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs and disposable wipes.
4. Train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you in case you or a family member gets sick and you must stay home.
5. If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible.

For the complete guide and FAQ’s about COVID-19 from NAMI click here.

Director’s Message

I’m Denise Kolivoski, Executive Director of NAMI of Erie County. NAMI is aware of the additional challenges that our Erie community faces with the spread of COVID-19. Individuals with mental health conditions, caregivers and loved ones are all facing unique needs and concerns. That’s why NAMI has created an online support group weekdays at noon to help folks coping with COVID-19. No formal diagnosis is required. Now available at NAMIerie.org. NAMI is doing our part to strengthen the Erie community. We’re stronger together. Please adhere to all of the safety guidelines issued by our local representatives. In the meantime, join us in promoting the resilience of our Erie community with the hashtag #StrongerTogetherErie.

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