Dunkirk Mental Health Celebration Highlights Recovery

Stock Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

(WNY News Now) – The first-ever Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) Participant Celebration drew over 100 attendees, showcasing stories of recovery and community collaboration in Dunkirk.

Dunkirk -The inaugural Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA) Participant Celebration witnessed an impressive turnout of more than 100 individuals at Dunkirk’s Point Gratiot Park. The event, designed to spotlight stories of recovery and reinforce community solidarity, left Peer Coach Specialist and North County Recovery Center Manager Ken Kendall elated.

Kendall expressed his delight, stating, “It was an amazing event, and it more than exceeded our expectations!”

The celebration featured heartening speeches from four participants—Emma Kubica, Megann Panek, Joseph Wicks, and Wing Wills—detailing their journeys to recovery and the pivotal role played by MHA. Notably, 10 participants received certificates recognizing their progress in recovery.

While the event showcased triumphs, it also shed light on the ongoing battle against substance abuse. Steve Kilburn, grants project director for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, underscored the alarming rise in overdose deaths, attributing the surge to xylazine-laced substances like fentanyl and methamphetamine. The MHA responded by offering free testing strips for these dangerous substances at their Dunkirk and Jamestown recovery centers.

Beyond its immediate impact, the celebration served as an avenue for raising awareness about various organizations working together to combat mental health and addiction issues. Attendees learned about available resources from groups such as Combat Addiction CHQ, Chautauqua Suicide Awareness, ROME, STRAWW, and more.

The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County remains committed to empowering and advocating for community members grappling with mental health and substance use challenges. Those seeking assistance can reach out at (716) 490-4356 or visit the recovery centers in Dunkirk and Jamestown.

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