Wellness Blog

"Wellness is not the absence of illness but the presence of purpose in life; satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and environment— and happiness"

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle.

It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.

That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month — Risky Business — is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.

Mental Health Month was started 68 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone.

Stairways Behavioral Health is raising awareness of the important role mental health plays in our lives and encouraging members of the community to learn more about their own mental health and to take action immediately if they are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.

This May is Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to educate themselves about behaviors and activities that could be harmful to recovery – and to speak up without shame using the hashtag #riskybusiness – so that others can learn if their behaviors are something to examine. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to educate without judgment, and to share your point of view or story with people who may be suffering—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.

Stairways wants to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health and know the signs of mental illness.

If you or someone you know is struggling, talk about it! Call us at 453-5806.

Garden makes for medley of uses for Stairways program

Monday, July 25, 2016

A healthy bounty of lessons and produce is the harvest of a garden started and maintained by a Stairways Behavioral Health program this summer.

Clients of Stairways’ Psychiatric Rehabilitation program have transformed a small plot of land on the campus of BLOOM Collaborative to plant and nurture a vegetable garden.

The mission of the garden is two-fold: to learn about preparing fresh and healthy foods and to apply the lessons of maintaining the space to life.

“If you look at a garden, a lot of it can tie in with life,” said Psych Rehab technician and class leader Corinne Madden. “What the sun does for the garden, it does for people.”

The garden is the creation of clients who participate in “Garden Greatness,” a skills building class conducted by Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Each skills class seeks to promotes wellness by motivating clients to take action and work toward growth.

“The first hour (of the class) is focusing on a topic, gaining knowledge and building skills,” Madden said. “The second half is applying it.”

Thus far, clients have created sun catchers, calming jars and a variety of healthy foods from the garden’s harvest.

However, the fruits of their labor are not just limited to the patch of land at BLOOM.

Clients are able to take home the vegetables and fruits that the garden produces. Some clients, Madden said, have even started their own gardens at home.

Support Stairways with a Smile

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Did you know that while shopping on Amazon you can designate Stairways Behavioral Health as your charity of choice? And the best part is that this designation is free.

AmazonSmile will then donate a small percentage of each purchase to the charity of your choice.

One-hundred percent of the donation amount generated from your eligible purchase on AmazonSmile will be donated. The donation amounts generated by your purchases are combined with the donation amounts from all other customers that selected the same organization.

Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.

Remember all those nickels, dimes and quarters add up quick just like in your change jar!

As always, proceeds will go directly to helping our clients.

Click here to support Stairways with a Smile

15 graduate from Stairways' financial education class

Monday, January 18, 2016

Another group of individuals are well on their way to financial stability, having recently graduated from Stairways Behavioral Health’s Financial Education and Savings Program.

The Financial Education and Savings Program (FESP) is a 12-week course designed to promote responsible use of money and informed financial decisions.

Students are incentivized with the offer of dollar-for-dollar matches to those who graduate, identify a savings goal and reach $500 in savings through participation in the program. Funds from Stairways as well as past grants from United Way of Erie County, GECAC, Erie Community Foundation, Corry Community Foundation and PNC Bank have matched a total of $55,938 saved by clients.

In December, a class of 15 completed the course and is currently saving in hopes of reaching their goal of matching funds.

FESP is offered in the spring and fall during two-hour weekly sessions in a classroom format.

Class topics include understanding the meaning of a budget, income sources, document management, banking and credit. All students have a case manager to monitor how they manage personal finances.

Stairways established FESP to help mentally ill, mostly low-income individuals gain control over such an important part of their lives.

With savings and matching funds thanks to grants, students have been able to pay for home improvements, medical expenses, utilities, auto and home purchases, continuing education, rent and trips among many other things.

Since the class’ inception in 2007, 190 students have graduated from the program, 75 percent of whom were able to collect a combined $111,876 from savings and matches.

Stairways spreads holiday cheer

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Spreading some cheer to clients and their families is at the top of Stairways Behavioral Health’s wish list this holiday season.

And Stairways did its best to see this wish come true by holding a Thanksgiving dinner in November for clients and an employee gift drive for children of clients in December.

The Zukor Club played gracious host to a Thanksgiving dinner to remember for nearly 100 clients Nov. 24. Club members and Stairways staff helped dole out all the Thanksgiving staples and the fixings—as well as seconds and desserts— to a dining room full of smiling faces and full stomachs.

In addition to the donating its dining room and kitchen space, the Zukor Club also made a $500 contribution to Stairways’ Personal Care Home.

Stairways staff took up the giving mantle by holding a gift drive for children of Blended Case Management clients. Staff members picked clean a tree of 88 angel tags representing the names of children and young adults in need of holiday gifts.

Each tag included the name of a child, their age and ideas for gifts to help make their holiday more memorable.

The same objective was in the minds of Stairways Blended Case Managers, who helped distribute 127 boxed Christmas dinners to clients.

BCM Team Supervisor Kevin McCaslin organizes the drive each year that sees the Second Harvest Food Bank donate meals to clients. Stairways unloads, packs and delivers the food to clients in need to make for a hearty holiday feast.

Stairways is grateful for the generosity of everyone who participated their time and resources to make this holiday season special.

In addition to the dinner, the food and gift drive, Stairways staff is helping to collect and donate warm clothes for the Mental Health Association’s Warming Center throughout this winter. Please remember to bring your clean and gently used donations and place them in the marked collection bins at 2185 W. 8th St. or at BLOOM Collaborative, 138 E. 26th St.

Meadville staff volunteer, 'Make a Difference'

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Staff members of Stairways Behavioral Health’s Meadville Outpatient clinic decided to make a difference on a recent frigid Saturday by taking part in a daylong United Way of Western Crawford County event.

Oct. 17 marked the 20th year for Make a Difference Day, an annual event for volunteers to collaborate on community projects and come together to care for neighbors in need of a helping hand.

Meadville crisis supervisor Jeanine Lyons, registered nurse Jane Burrows, therapist Tanya Reynolds and crisis specialist Dan Foltz, along with family members and friends, were among 750 volunteers working on more than 100 service projects throughout western Crawford County.

The Stairways team pitched in by performing yard cleanup in anticipation of the winter for an elderly couple and helped move another senior couple from their home to an apartment.

Lyons called the day rewarding, despite having to share it with the first snowfall of the year.

“It was fun working together with such a caring and fun team and it was nice to be able to help some people in the community,” she said.

BLOOM director uses art to honor, support veterans

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

BLOOM Collaborative Director Lee Steadman launched a crowdfunding project benefiting veterans in healing arts programs by creating a chalk drawing with the help of wounded veterans during Celebrate Erie’s Chalk Walk.

The 30-foot-long creation graced State Street as a reminder and tribute to those who have died as a result of their service during the yearly art competition Aug. 18-21.

In conjunction with Pa. Sen. Sean Wiley’s office, BLOOM is raising funds to offer arts therapy classes for veterans. Funding for the campaign supports the purchase of art materials for classes such as drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, fused glass, crafts, yoga and movement.

Donate by visiting https://www.crowdrise.com/bloomhealingarts/fundraiser/stairways. Every $10 that is donated provides one class for a veteran.

BLOOM’s healing arts programs are for anyone who might be experiencing difficulty—or for any or all who would like to explore and express themselves through the healing and metamorphic power of art and creativity.

Above: Artwork as appearing at the 2015 Celebrate Erie Chalk Walk
Below: Artists and veterans collaborate on their work during the Chalk Walk

   


BLOOM hosts German Cultural Society of Erie

Monday, August 24, 2015

German Cultural Society

The German Cultural Society of Erie said “Danka Schoen” to BLOOM Collaborative when it held its June meeting at the holistic art and wellnesscenter the evening of June 11.

Some 75 club members experienced BLOOM’s artistic zeitgeist by creating fused-glass dreamcatchers and touring its 4-acre campus. The club also presented BLOOM director Lee Steadman with a token of their appreciation for playing host in the form of a donation.

Right: Wayne Koble, Stairways Board treasurer and German Cultural Society member, presents a check to Lee Steadman, Director, BLOOM Collaborative.

Garden bears fruit and lessons at Gage House

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clients of Stairways Behavioral Health’s Gage House are learning how sowing healthy seeds yields a bountiful and healthy harvest.

In June, Gage House residents got their hands dirty by planting and nurturing a vegetable garden. Now they are seeing the fruits of their labor in the budding foliage emerging at the 1813 Holland St. site that provides treatment and support to persons struggling with both substance abuse and mental illness. Gage House is a partnership of Stairways and LECOM Health Systems, formerly Millcreek Community Hospital.

Utilizing the Stairways Client Wellness Fund to purchase seeds, equipment and tools needed to start a garden from scratch, Gage House residents planted tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers and carrots to consume and enjoy.

The Client Wellness Fund is an effort by Stairways to promote personal wellness among clients by providing them with sneakers, fitness memberships, nutrition services and other healthy living items.

The garden provides an opportunity for the residents to participate in nutrition learning, relaxation, leisure and sober recreation, Gage House Program Supervisor Sarah Parton said.

“The garden is something that we thought would be a peaceful activity that we could take pride in creating,” Parton said. “It is something I had heard about and wanted to do and I think has been a great experience for everyone here.”

In addition, the patch will also teach skills in time management, leadership and responsibility. But the garden’s crops that will be used in salads and snacks figure to be its most tangible and satisfying return, Parton said.

“It’s so exciting to watch the garden grow and produce delicious food that we can enjoy.”


  

  


Financial Education Program receives boost in form of grant

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Each time Hilda DeJesus turns the key to start her car or sets foot in her new kitchen, she is overcome with gratitude for having learned the skills that helped her achieve her dreams of financial stability.

Her story is not uncommon for individuals who have taken part in the Financial Education and Savings Program (FESP) at Stairways Behavioral Health. Since its inception in 2007, FESP has helped numerous people with mental illness reach their financial goals by teaching money management and savings strategy.

Hilda was one of the first clients to graduate from the program and used the money she saved to buy a car. She then utilized the skills she learned to achieve a long-term goal of purchasing a house, for which she recently remodeled the kitchen.

Now, the program is helping to ensure that more dreams like Hilda’s are fulfilled thanks to a charitable sponsorship from PNC Bank worth more than $10,000.

The Financial Education and Savings Program (FESP) is a 12-week course designed to promote responsible use of money and informed financial decisions.

Students are incentivized with the offer of dollar-for-dollar matches to those who graduate, identify a savings goal and reach $500 in savings through participation in the program. The grant secured through PNC will be used toward the matching amounts.

FESP is offered in the spring and fall during two-hour weekly sessions in a classroom format.

Class topics include understanding the meaning of a budget, income sources, document management, banking and credit. All students have a case manager to monitor how they manage personal finances.

Stairways established FESP to help mentally ill, mostly low-income individuals gain control over such an important part of their lives.

In all, 143 students have graduated from the program, 72 percent of whom were able to save, and in turn, received matched money totaling more than $98,000.



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