Who We Are

The MWAA is a state-wide non-profit corporation established June 2012 which focuses solely on prevention and early intervention education of mental health problems.

Learn more about the MWAA's accomplishments.


While military service often fosters resilience in individuals and families, some service members may experience mental health or substance use challenges. Thirty percent of active duty and reserve military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health condition requiring treatment – approximately 730,000 men and women, with many experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. Sadly, less than 50 percent of returning veterans in need receive any mental health treatment. The Veterans Administration reports that approximately 22 veterans die by suicide every day.

Mental Health First Aid is a valuable resource that can make a difference in the lives of the more than 22 million veterans, their families, and the communities they live in.

The MWAA provides mental health first aid for military members, veterans and their families. If you are interested in holding a MMVF training, please email mwaa@mentalwellnessawareness.org or phone 717-957-3432.

Learn more about Mental Health First Aid For Veterans.

Mental Health First Aid logo

Our Vision

We envision a world that through public education values prevention and early intervention of mental health issues for the holistic health of the individual and society.

Our Mission

We are building healthier lives free of mental health issues through educational outreach.

A Healthy Mind is a Healthier Life

Did you Know? You are more likely to encounter a person in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined.

The Board

President – Berney Ortiz, Jr., B.A. , M.A.
Vice-President – Susan Boyle, B.A.
Secretary/Treasurer – Diane Acri, J.D.
Ellie Alphin, B.A.
Lisa Barnes, M.S.W.
Juliana Dugent, B.S.
Thomas P. Gannon, J.D.
Elizabeth Ridgeway, M.S. M.B.A.
Alyce Spector, B.S. ED
Acting Executive Director - Sharon Engdahl, B.So. Sc

CBS 21's Making A Difference: Mental Health and Wellness

WHP, CBS 21 News, brings you the stories of Central Pennsylvania residents making a difference in their communities.

Shots - Health News From NPR:
Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts

image courtesy of http://www.npr.org

Schizophrenia typically starts in the late teens or early 20s. But if you could stop that first psychotic break, could you stop the mental illness in its tracks? Some doctors think so.
Read this story »

Quest For The Cure: Scientific Breakthroughs in Treating Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health Director Tom Insel changes minds — or should we say, changes brains — about the science of mental health. He has never been satisfied with treatments that help individuals get "better but not well." His tenure at NIMH is marked by groundbreaking findings in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of genetics in mental illness. Insel shares the results of cutting-edge research that supports early identification and prevention of major mental disorders, from autism to schizophrenia, as well as substance use disorders.

The Science Guy | Bostonia | Boston University

Girl Scouts Mental Health Awareness Patch

Did you know that the International Bipolar Foundation developed the first Mental Health Awareness Patch for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America?

image courtesy of http://ibpf.org

With the increase in youth bullying, suicide and drug use, Girl Scouts are actively fighting to create change. Through a program to educate and reduce the stigma of mental illness, Girl Scouts can earn the Mental Health Awareness Patch for playing a positive role in their communities.
Learn more from IBPF »