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Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Wayne Counties' Voice on Mental Illness

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Seventh Annual Evening of Hope Hope Grows Here poster for NAMI Evening of Hope

NAMI PA: Scranton & Northeast Region is pleased to unveil plans for the Seventh Annual Evening of Hope on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 beginning at 6:00 PM at the DeNaples Center at the University of Scranton.

The event, which is open to the public, highlights local mental health issues and raises funds for mental health programs in our area. All proceeds go directly towards enhancing recovery for individuals living with mental illness. The event will highlight individuals advocating for quality mental health services in our area.

Image of Dr. Linda Thomas- Hemak

The 2017 Honorary Chairperson is Linda Thomas-Hemak, MD, FACP, FAAP, President/CEO of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education and The Wright Center for Primary Care.

Dr. Thomas-Hemak was chosen due to her passion for integrating behavioral health risk screenings and services into primary care clinical workflow. Since 2010, she has led The Wright Center’s engagement in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Agency (SAMHSA) Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention in Primary Care program. To date, The Wright Center has completed more than 4,000 youth behavioral health risk screens within its medical homes and student health venues, identifying and intervening with countless at risk individuals. Additionally, under her leadership, in 2017 The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education welcomed four residents into its newly-accredited, community-based Psychiatry Residency program, developed in direct response to our regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).

The Evening of Hope is the primary funder for the NAMI Scranton Recovery Fund. The Recovery Fund has allowed NAMI Scranton to make gifts identified to enhance services provided through the New Beginnings Drop In Center in Montrose, Scranton Counseling Center and the Moses Taylor Hospital Senior Medical Mental Health Unit. NAMI volunteers have ‘adopted’ a unit at Clarks Summit State Hospital and host monthly parties that feature cake, ice cream, activities and sometimes gifts. Monetary donations were made to the Scranton Area Crisis Intervention Team, the Lou Ruspi Jr Foundation and the local Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative from The Recovery Fund.

“Through the Evening of Hope Recovery Fund we are able to reach out to the Greater Scranton community to support agencies in their efforts to improve the lives of all those affected by mental illness in Northeast Pa,” said NAMI Scranton Executive Director, Marie Onukiavage.

In addition to highlighting mental health issues and raising funds, the Evening of Hope is another opportunity for the community to recognize this year’s Candlelight and Crisis Intervention Team Leadership Award winners which will be announced soon at the Candlelight Vigil.

Ticket cost is $55 and includes passed hors d’oeuvres, antipasto, a pasta station, a dessert station and fresh fruit; coffee, tea, soda, beer or wine; a basket raffle and an opportunity for you to network with individuals for a worthy cause.

Evening of Hope sponsorships are available and donations will be accepted. Send checks payable to NAMI PA: Scranton toNAMI PA Scranton & Northeast Region, 846 Jefferson Avenue Scranton PA 18510.

For more information, including tickets, sponsorship and donations, please call 570-342-1047 or email

To purchase your Evening of Hope tickets through PayPal online, please complete the following:

Evening of Hope Ticket

Annual Candlelight Vigil

On Friday October 6th, NAMI PA Scranton & Northeast Region will hold the Annual Candlelight Vigil on the Spruce Street side of the Lackawanna County Courthouse in observance of National Mental Illness Awareness Week. The event will begin at 6:30 PM and end at sundown with the lighting of the candles.

Mental Illness Awareness Week is a national effort intended to educate communities about mental illness and to end stigma by celebrating the great strides that have been made in diagnosing and treating mental illness.

NAMI Scranton takes this opportunity to honor individuals and organizations with the Annual Candlelight Award and the Crisis Intervention Team Leadership Award.

Candlelight Award

The Candlelight Award is a distinguished honor that the NAMI PA Scranton Area Chapter awards to an individual or an organization in recognition of efforts made toward improving the lives of people with mental illness in Northeast PA.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Leadership Award

The NAMI PA Scranton Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Leadership Award will be given to the CIT member(s) who has provided extraordinary service in response to mental health crisis calls and/or provided exemplary leadership toward the development and expansion of CIT in Lackawanna County.

Both awards highlight efforts that exemplify excellence in the community and serve as a role model to the people of Northeast PA as we all battle the stigma and discrimination that continues to surround mental illness. These awards celebrate exceptional work, commitment, advocacy, and creativity of those who are making a difference in the lives of people living with mental illness.

Light refreshments will be served and this event is free and open to the public. For more information please call the NAMI Scranton & Northeast Region office at 570-342-1047.