Mental Health Association Recognizes JCC’s OTA Interns Invaluable Contributions

Mental Health Association Recognizes JCC’s OTA Interns Invaluable Contributions

Jamestown, N.Y. – The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) has been a placement for students in Jamestown Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program (OTA) since 2010.

In the cover story in the MHA’s recently published Spring 2018 Newsletter, MHA Director of Student Activities Ken Yergens says, “It would be tough to say who’s benefitted more from this collaboration: the students or the MHA. We know from the feedback we get from our interns that it is a valuable learning experience for them. And all we have to do is take a look around our cheerful space to be reminded of all they’ve done for us!”

Yergens is referring to the brightly painted walls of MHA’s common area. Under the direction of JCC’s OTA Program Senior Project Manager Mike Nordin, interns designed murals to cover the broad expanses. Participants and interns worked together to bring the images to life.

Recent intern Meredith Sheesley explains, “Life begins at the end of our comfort zones. MHA is giving individuals the opportunity to stare life in the face, sit in the driver’s seat, and take control of their futures. I am forever grateful to be a part of something so unique and life changing.”

The newsletter also contains information about the HIV and Hepatitis C testing offered by the Evergreen Health Exchange at the MHA. Those interested can call (716) 541-0678 for more information or an appointment, or come to the Evergreen Exchange at the MHA.

A remembrance of former Chief Fiscal Officer Bob Tomb and a message from Executive Directory Kia Brigss are among the other stories.

There is a page of information about books worth reading and videos worth watching related to the opioid crisis. Included is the conclusion of British journalist and researcher Johann Hari that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection. ‘A core part of addiction, I came to think…is about not being able to bear to be present in your life.'”

The Spring 2018 edition can be read in its entirety on the MHA website by clicking on “Read Our Newsletter” at

The MHA is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center.

The peer-run organization offers support services to people with substance use disorders and all other forms of mental health diagnosis. The MHA works in collaboration with local treatment providers, other non-profits, community-based partners, and treatment courts to empower individuals in attaining their goals. In an accepting environment, it provides recovery coaching by certified peer specialists as well as support groups and classes.

There is no charge for any of the MHA’s services or programs.

Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours are Monday 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To learn more about the MHA, call (716) 661-9044 or visit or

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