Compeer awarded nearly $2.2M in federal grants

Congressman Higgins and Compeer Buffalo Announce $2,175,000 in Federal Grants for Mental Health First Aid Training and Mentorship Programs

CREDIT WBFO NEWS PHOTO BY EILEEN BUCKLEY

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has announced two federal grants awarded to Compeer Buffalo to strengthen their mental health assistance programs. The grants total $2,175,000, and were awarded by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

The first grant, from SAMHSA, will expand Compeer’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings. It awards $375,000 to be implemented over a three-year period in $125,000 increments and will allow Compeer to provide the eight-hour trainings to 2,250 people. This is in addition to the 750 individuals already slated to be trained over an overlapping two-year period thanks to funding from the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, PH Collaborative, and Garman Family Foundation. Compeer Buffalo is now the largest provider of MHFA training in Erie County.

The second grant, for $1,800,000 also over three years at $600,000 per year, comes from the OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Compeer was the only recipient in New York State to receive funding through the Department of Justice Multistate Mentoring Program and one of just nine recipients across the country. The funding will allow Compeer Buffalo to expand their Youth Program to up to 10 of their affiliates nationwide. The Youth Program provides mentoring relationships to young people with mental health challenges, matching them with trained volunteers to foster one on one mentoring and friendship.

Congressman Higgins said, “These important grants will go a long way in continuing and strengthening Compeer’s nationally recognized mental health services here in Western New York. They have an excellent record of providing trainings and matching those diagnosed with mental illness with trained volunteers to develop supportive relationships.”

“We care about bringing awareness to the importance of our mental health and reducing the stigma which sometimes goes along with reaching out for help,” Rep. Tom Reed said. “Compeer does a great job at this, and we were happy to team up with Brian to ensure Western New York has increased fair access to the resources they deserve.”

“The needs in our community and nationally around mental health is sky rocketing for all age groups, especially our youth. Compeer is thrilled to have been awarded these two very competitive grants.  The Mental Health Awareness Training grant will allow us provide training to over 2,000 people in Erie county over the next three years who work directly with youth and adults.  Our Mentoring Opportunities for Youth grant will allow us to expand our evidenced based Youth program to 11 Compeer affiliates nationwide thereby serving over 1,000 more youth who need our services,” said Compeer CEO Tim Boling.

Compeer has been a leader in providing mental health services as well as professional training in the Western New York region since its founding in 1973. Compeer Buffalo utilizes the power of volunteer friends to improve the lives of children and adults who are striving for good mental health. Through consistent and caring relationships formed between volunteers and their friends, a sense of belonging, trust and positive self-esteem is fostered in the people referred for our services. Compeer Buffalo is a member of Compeer, Inc. an international organization of 50+ affiliates headquartered in Buffalo, NY.

Coverage on this announcement can be found at the following:

Buffalo Business First
WBFO-FM 88.7
WIVB-TV
Niagara Frontier Publications
WBEN-AM 930

Compeer awarded $374,000 from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to administer Mental Health First Aid training, now largest provider in Erie County

BUFFALO, NY – Compeer Buffalo has been awarded a $374,000 grant to administer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over a three-year period, Compeer Buffalo will train 2,250 individuals in addition to the 750 already slated to be trained over an overlapping two-year period thanks to funding from the Peter & Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, Patrick P. Lee Foundation, PH Collaborative, and Garman Family Foundation. Additionally, this allows Compeer Buffalo to bring their number of trained MHFA instructors to 12. Compeer Buffalo is now the single largest provider of Mental Health First Aid training in Erie County.

 

This particular grant will target training to veteran’s service providers; first responders; college students, faculty and staff; and WNY area K-12 districts, leadership and other service partners. This is in addition to other MHFA trainings offered by Compeer Buffalo available to the general public.

 

“The need in our community around mental health has been sky rocketing.  This grant will help us train over 2,000 people in the Mental Health First Aid program.  Those trained will be able to assist those in the community who may be having a mental health crisis and direct them to appropriate support and services,” said Compeer Buffalo CEO Tim Boling.

 

Similar to traditional First Aid and CPR, Mental Health First Aid is help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis resolves. Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education and prevention tool improving the public’s knowledge of mental health and substance use problems while connecting people with care for their mental health or substance use problems. People who enroll in local Mental Health First Aid courses learn a five-step action plan to help loved ones, colleagues, neighbors and others cope with mental health or substance use problems.

 

Compeer Buffalo currently partners with Erie Community College to train faculty, staff, students and community partners in MHFA thanks to a federal grant awarded in 2015. As a result, 460+ individuals were trained; 61 percent indicated they used what they learned with a student(s) within 90 days of training. More than 85 percent of participants felt equipped to recognize signs that someone may be dealing with a mental health problem, substance use challenge or crisis; felt that they could ask a person whether they’re considering killing themselves; and felt that they could reach out to someone who may be dealing with a mental health problem, substance use challenge, or crisis.

 

“The Mental Health First Aid Training has increased the level of understanding for faculty and staff when referring a student who is experiencing a behavioral health crisis.   For our students, this training has been an invaluable resource.  It has facilitated in the reduction of stigma and allowed students to have an open and honest conversation about behavioral health as well as increased their knowledge of intercampus and community resources that promote the completion of their educational pursuits.  We are very proud to partner with Compeer Buffalo in this endeavor,” said Erie Community College South Campus Dean of Students Heather Cruz.


ABOUT SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.


ABOUT COMPEER BUFFALO

Compeer Buffalo utilizes the power of volunteer friends to improve the lives of children and adults who are striving for good mental health. Through consistent and caring relationships formed between volunteers and their friends, a sense of belonging, trust and positive self-esteem is fostered in the people referred for our services. Compeer Buffalo is a member of Compeer, Inc. an international organization of 50+ affiliates headquartered in Buffalo, NY.

 

###

Compeer Superhero Race & Wellness Walk

as published by Step Out Buffalo

superhero-race

Event Category: For a Good CauseHealth & FitnessRuns/Walks/Rides, and Things To Do

Beginning in 1985 as the Run for Brain Research and evolving over time to become the Buffalo Superhero Race & Wellness Walk, the local mental health community has worked hard to increase awareness of, and raise money for, those striving for greater mental wellness in Western New York through this annual event. The event aims to raise $100,000 in proceeds to be shared among two local non-profits; Compeer of Greater Buffalo (Compeer) and The Mental Health Association of Erie County (MHA), for their mentoring and advocacy programs. The Superhero Race is a collaborative effort of providers, consumers, families, friends and caring community members dedicated to promoting awareness, reducing stigma and raising funds to assist youth striving for good mental health, who are served by Compeer and the MHA. The Superhero Race is an annual event that highlights the strength and diversity of the mental health community of Western New York, in addition to offering a premier racing venue for the larger community. In its 30+ year history, this event is projected to be the biggest, and most fun it’s ever been. The last three consecutive years have seen over 1,000 runners and walkers in attendance. Race Day events include 5k run and a 1.8 mile walk, an after party with music, zumba, food trucks, beverages, costumed superheroes, the Batmobile, a kid’s activities tent, a bounce house, vendors and more!

Unleash your own inner superhero at the event, come dressed as your best super hero, whether it’s a popular character, or one you create on your own. Medals are to be awarded for best running times in the race, and there is a $100 cash prize for the overall top male and female runner. Once registered online at www.buffalosuperherorace.com participants can raise pledge dollars to help the non-profits reach their fundraising goal. Race organizers are offering wonderful fundraising prize incentives, for both teams and individuals, as well, starting at the $25 pledge level! Check out the race website for more information on these incentives, and prizes.

This event is family friendly, and is one of the most enjoyable runs that Buffalo offers in the summer season! There are registration discounts for teams of 4 or more, and often fun contests leading up to the race. Follow their facebook page (www.facebook.com/BuffaloSuperheroRace) to stay in the loop on all the superhero fun! As organizers share, most kids need a hero, but the kids served by Compeer and the MHA need a superhero! The youth served live with mental health challenges, and/or may have experienced abuse/neglect and are involved in the court system. Your participation and contributions will go a long way to serve more at-risk youth, and improve their mental health.

Website | Register

 

Recognizing and Handling a Mental Health Crisis

as posted by news.wbfo.org

“Since the Parkland, Florida school shooting there has been a high demand for Mental Health First Aid training in our community.  As part of our Mental Health reporting initiative, WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley attended a Mental Health First Aid session at Baker Victory Services in Lackawanna.

First aid training for medical emergencies can be key in saving a life. But we lack training when it comes to handling a mental health crisis.

Compeer delivers a Mental Health First Aid session in a classroom on the Baker Victory Services campus in Lackawanna.
CREDIT WBFO NEWS PHOTO BY EILEEN BUCKLEY

 

“Everybody should go through the training at some point in their life.  I know it is a cliche – it can save lives – but it absolutely could,” said Timothy Boling, CEO, Compeer International

Boling tells WBFO News they’ve had a great deal of interest for their Mental Health first aid eight-hour training program, especially for educators.”

continue reading

O’Neil’s Journey in NFL with BiPolar Disorder

as reported with Herald-Tribune on April 9, 2018

Keith O'Neil

Keith O’Neil hadn’t slept in four nights when he walked into the office of Indianapolis head football coach Tony Dungy. Just acquired off waivers, O’Neil opened up to Dungy about his insomnia and issues with anxiety.

The former Tampa Bay Bucs head coach gathered the Colts’ team doctor and trainer, along with O’Neil and his wife, Jill, around a conference table. The four-year starter at linebacker for Northern Arizona University eventually was prescribed medicine for his insomnia and anxiety.

“Somehow I got through it and came back and started playing the best football of my life,” the 37-year-old said.

But the root cause remained undiagnosed.

Continue reading

 

Bipolar Disorder Struggles led Buffalo counselor to a wonderful life

as published by The Buffalo News, by Scott Scanlon on December 8, 2017

Karl-Shallowhorn-2-feature-1260x800

Recovery is possible. You can get better,” says Karl Shallowhorn, Director of Community Advocacy with the Mental Health Association of Erie County and Compeer, talking with Terrance Johnson, a young man he meets with weekly.

Karl Shallowhorn has flourished during the last three decades.

Great marriage. Successful professional career. Wide circle of friends.

It’s been a far cry from the years that followed his first psychotic episode in February 1981.

Shallowhorn was 18, struggling through his second semester at General Motors Institute, and seeking solace in alcohol and other drugs.

He and his family had no inkling that bipolar disorder was about to overpower him.

“Quite honestly, the next seven years were a blur,” Shallowhorn said during a recent interview in his office at the Mental Health Association of Erie County (MHA).

His illness forced him to move from Michigan back home to Amherst with his parents, Lillie and Charles. He weathered seven hospitalizations in the behavioral health units at the former Buffalo General Hospital, Erie County Medical Center and the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

The turning point came 30 years ago next month, when a counselor encouraged him to attend a recovery program meeting. Such meetings have been part of his wellness strategy since.

Continue Reading

From Mental Health Institutionalization to Advocacy

as posted on OC87 Recovery Diaries (oc87recoverydiaries.com)

KShallowhorn_Article

by Karl Shallowhorn, Director of Community Advocacy, Compeer & The Mental Health Association of Erie County

The Beginning

Like many others who live with bipolar disorder, my journey began early in life. It was 1980. I was a college freshman; five hundred miles away from home and in a very high stress environment. I had a history of alcohol use from high school but, when I entered college, I was introduced to marijuana. Initially it was fun, but as time went on, it served to help me cope with the many stressors I experienced. Weed simply served to accelerate the problems I was experiencing.

As a result of the academic rigor, lack of a viable support system, and chemical abuse, I experienced a perfect storm of circumstances that led to my first psychotic break which included persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations, and a suicide attempt which led to me to being in a catatonic state. I was discovered by the college Residence Hall Director and taken to the local hospital’s psychiatric emergency room.

Continue Reading

Patrick P. Lee Foundation Awards Compeer $50,000 grant

PPL Foundation logo GOOD

 

Compeer West Inc. is proud to be recently named as an award recipient for a $50,000 grant from the Patrick P. Lee Foundation. The grant will be used to fund Compeer’s Mental Health First Aid program.

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training teaches the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be undergoing a mental health problem, substance use problem, or experiencing a crisis. There is also a youth-focused curriculum of this training that focuses on helping youth who are experiencing the same issues. Youth Mental Health First Aid trains those who work, volunteer or live with youth aged 12-18 to learn the unique signs and symptoms of mental health problems, and how to help in a mental health crisis. The training provides a 5-step action plan to those trained so they can respond appropriately in any situation. 1 million people across the United States have been trained in Mental Health First Aid by a dedicated base of more than 11,800 instructors.

The Patrick P. Lee Foundation, which started in 2007, concentrates its grant-making in to two key areas: education and mental health. By targeting funds and identifying opportunity for cross-systems work, the Foundation seeks to have an immediate and measurable impact.

Compeer Announced as Major Grant Recipient

Compeer is happy to announce that The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the First Niagara Foundation, in partnership with KeyBank, announced on August 23, a $2.4 million grant to support the Western New York (WNY) Mentoring Collective, a cohort of nine mentoring programs throughout the region. This group includes Compeer and Say Yes Buffalo.

This large-scale investment in mentorship will utilize the expertise of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership and its statewide affiliate Mentor NY to help create a learning community among Compeer and other proven local mentoring programs. The collective will benefit together from shared best practices, capacity building, mentor training, education and assessment support over the next two years.

To learn more about the grant, check out these articles!

http://www.ralphcwilsonjrfoundation.org/ralph-c-wilson-jr-foundation-first-niagara-foundation-partner-stregthen-grow-mentoring-across-western-new-york/

http://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/wilson-foundation-announces-2.4-million-for-new-york-youth-mentoring

 https://www.bizjournals.com/buffalo/news/2017/08/23/mentoring-collaborative-receives-2-4-million-boost.html

 

Compeer of Greater Buffalo Appoints New Chief Program Officer

Compeer of Greater Buffalo is proud to announce its recent hire of Cheri Alvarez, who joins the Compeer team as the Chief Program Officer.

Cheri graduated from Canisius College with her Master’s Degree in Counseling Education and proceeded to commit her career to working in the Western New York non-profit community for the past 19 years. Prior to joining Compeer, Cheri served as Chief Operating Officer at YWCA WNY, and the Chief Operating Officer at Cradle Beach. Her career also includes a leadership role at Catholic Charities where she served as the Coordinator of Closing the Gap (CTG) responsible for the oversight, development and implementation of site facilitators in the Buffalo Public Schools. At Gateway-Longview she rose through positions, ultimately serving as the Director of Foster Care and Permanency Services.

“Helping others is what motivates and energizes me. Joining a team of passionate people who believe in the benefits of bringing friends together to support good mental health, makes joining the Compeer family a perfect fit,” Alvarez said.

Cheri resides in Pendleton with her husband Carlos and their two children, Caleigh and Devin. She is also a Buffalo Business First “40 Under 40” awardee (2015), and a graduate of the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York Fellows program. Cheri will be taking on the new role of Chief Program Officer where she will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Compeer Buffalo’s programs, as well as, oversee the Compeer programs internationally. Compeer currently has 50 affiliates in three countries and eight states.