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MHA in Suffolk Merger with Clubhouse

January 11, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Colleen Merlo (631) 226-3900 colleenmerlo@mhasuffolk.org
Michael Stoltz (631) 471-7242 x1304 michael.stoltz@clubhouseofsuffolk.org

Board of Directors of Mental Health Association in Suffolk Elects to Merge With Clubhouse of Suffolk

After one year of due diligence and deliberations, the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association in Suffolk unanimously approved resolutions to merge with Clubhouse of Suffolk, a non-profit provider of psychiatric rehabilitation and support services. The MHA is a local chapter of a national and statewide network of associations dedicated to improving the mental health of local communities through education, workforce training, information and referral services, and advocacy.

Founded in 1955, the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Its core service is to provide information and referral services.This past year, MHA staff and volunteers receive more than 4,000 telephone and email requests from individuals, families and professionals seeking mental health resources and supportive services..

MHA Board President Dr. Kristie Golden explained the Board's rationale for the merger: "Today's non-profit organizations are being confronted with important strategic choices in an increasingly competitive funding environment. This has driven the need to operate collaboratively with similar organizations in order to carry out an agency's mission and better ensure its sustainability. By joining Clubhouse and MHA, we have created a stronger entity that will be more responsive to the pressing needs of our mutual constituents, including consumers, families, and professional providers."

Clubhouse of Suffolk is a provider of psychiatric rehabilitation and support services that was founded by families of adults with psychiatric disabilities in 1990. Clubhouse serves over 1200 people each year through a range of community programs. In addition, the organization manages Suffolk County United Veterans, an organization serving homeless and at-risk Veterans, many with mental health and substance abuse problems.

In this new alignment, each organization will retain its corporate identity, however, the Board of Directors and administrative functions will merge. Executive Director Colleen Merlo will be become the Associate Executive Director while Clubhouse's Executive Director Michael Stoltz will assume the MHA's reins. Ms. Merlo notes, "This affiliation will allow both organizations to build upon our strengths. We will have a greater capacity to address the current and emerging needs of our community and to ensure quality care for children and adults with mental health challenges."

Dr. Davis Pollack, Clubhouse's Founder and Board President will now also assume responsibilities for Board oversight of the MHA. Dr. Pollack noted, "The MHA and Clubhouse have long been partners in eradicating stigma and promoting better understanding of mental illness and mental health in general in our communities. With recent tragic events involving people with mental health problems, there has never been a stronger need for more public information and advocacy." One focus in this merger will be to expand Long Island activities during National Mental Illness Awareness Week, during the first week of October, and which will include advocacy efforts and education of our communities, schools and lawmakers."

For more information about MHA Suffolk and Clubhouse of Suffolk, see www.mhasuffolk.org and www.clubhouseofsuffolk.org.