Before detox or accessible rehab services were available locally, Rick Huber could often be found spending hours during the night in the emergency room, helping someone see hospital staff until morning hours.
Huber is now retired from his leadership role at the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA). Throughout the many years, he served as an advocate, Board Member, peer advocate, Executive Director, CEO, and Director of New Programming. His many contributions to the welfare of the community, reducing stigma associated with mental health, and fighting the opioid epidemic will be honored at the MHA on Friday afternoon, January 26.
The public is invited to join elected officials and community leaders in celebrating all Mr. Huber has accomplished.
Midway during the 3-5 p.m. reception will be a dedication and recognitions by Executive Director Kia Narraway-Briggs, Board Chair Carm Micciche, and Advisory Board Chair Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney.
The event is being presented by the staff, board, and the advisory board of the MHA.
Of their plans, Dr. Ney said, “The Mental Health Association’s reception for Rick Huber is in recognition of his retirement from the organization, and it affords the MHA an opportunity to thank Rick for his tireless work, nurturing it through many lean years, helping many, many individuals get through troubled times. His inspiration, courage, persistence and hard work have paid off, and he formed an excellent organization doing good in the community. He should be proud of his accomplishment.”
The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County has been a peer run organization since 2005 when Huber became executive director. The next year he was joined by Narraway-Briggs, and other part-time staff.
As Narraway-Briggs noted, “Rick envisioned a peer run agency that could fiercely advocate for those who were asking for help but needed support in their journey. His vision was to increase awareness of how essential peer support and engagement with local treatment would increase the healing process. He encouraged individuals to believe in themselves, to live the life they had intended.”
Carm Micciche, Board President, stated “It has been amazing to see the growth of the MHA and be a part of Rick’s dedication to helping others.”
The MHA grew more than ten-fold under Huber’s leadership. Last year alone 575 individuals received peer services, including 374 new participants. More than two dozen peer support groups meet every week, with 1,540 meetings held in 2017. Each group can provide exposure to healthy living and the steps towards independent living.
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.
Of his departure from the MHA, Huber said, “The Mental Health Association has been my life for many years. I feel confident that current staff can continue providing advocacy and support to struggling families. We have done groundbreaking work together, but there are still so many men and women who need the help the MHA provides. I look forward to seeing the MHA grow under the current leadership team and love them like family.”
The Mental Health Association is located at 31 Water Street, Door 14, in the rear of the Gateway Center, in Jamestown, New York.
Anyone with questions or in need of services for themselves or a family member is welcome to call or stop in. Hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.