Text Size:

NAMI Mass Launches Statewide Campaign to End Mental Illness Stigma in the Workplace

CEOs-Against-Stigma-Logo-Color-2015

CEOs Against Stigma Seeking to Reduce No. 1 Cause of Workplace Disability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2015

Boston, MA—Mental illness affects one in five adults and is the leading cause of workplace disability. Unlike physical illness, mental illness carries a stigma that prevents many people from discussing their condition at work—leading to high turnover, low productivity and increased employer costs. NAMI Massassachusetts, the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is launching a statewide campaign called CEOs Against Stigma to end workplace stigma and create healthier, more productive workplaces.

On June 26 at 11:00 a.m., NAMI Mass will hold a press conference to officially launch the campaign and announce the first 25 CEOs to participate. The press conference will be held in the Human Resources Training Room at the Logan Office Center (LOC), One Harborside Drive, East Boston. Massport CEO Thomas Glynn, who is one of the first 25, is hosting the press conference.

Funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, CEOs Against Stigma recognizes that ending stigma requires top-down leadership to change misconceptions about mental illness—including depression and substance use—so employees have the opportunity to speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their immediate families, and seek support.

The campaign is open to all Massachusetts companies with at least 50 employees. CEOs are asked to sign a pledge that “encourages communication and understanding to foster a stigma-free workplace.” It also includes a commitment to bring NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentations into the workplace. Recognized by a leading national mental health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America, IOOV presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

NAMI Mass chose to focus this anti-stigma campaign on the workplace, in part, based on results from a 2014 statewide survey of 800 Massachusetts voters, which NAMI Mass commissioned to gauge attitudes on mental illness. The results show that while 92 percent of people would advise people with mental illness to tell their families about it, and 76 percent would advise telling their friends, only 27 percent would advise telling their co-workers. (To read the full survey, click here.)

“Every day, we see how stigma interferes with a person’s willingness to get treatment,” said NAMI Mass Executive Director Laurie Martinelli. “The research shows that in the workplace stigma not only discourages people from getting help, it also has a huge impact on productivity.”

 

Three CEOs are among the speakers to be featured at the press conference:

In addition:

Evan Rockefeller, an occupational therapist and NAMI IOOV presenter, will share his personal story of work-related stigma.  Diagnosed with bipolar disorder sixteen years ago, Rockefeller discusses the challenges he faced in the workplace.

NAMI Mass will also release its position paper, “Bad for Business: The Business Case for Overcoming Mental Illness Stigma in the Workplace.”

View the campaign website at: http://ceos.namimass.org.

Media contact:

Matt Ellis

Ellis Strategies, Inc.

matt@ellisstrategies.com  | 617-278-6560

About the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass):

Founded in 1982, NAMI Mass is a nonprofit, grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. It is the state’s voice on mental illness, with 21 local chapters and more than 2,000 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental health challenges and their families by educating the public; fighting stigma, discrimination and stereotypes; and promoting recovery. To that end, the organization offers free, peer-led programs that provide resources, insights, coping skills and genuine support. NAMI Mass has been chosen by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Outstanding State Organization for 2015.

 

NAMI Mass Receives Outstanding State Organization Award

four-gold-framed_zkH8IRL_

Recognition highlights organization’s exceptional work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2015

Boston, MA—Of the 50 state organizations that comprise the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Massachusetts chapter, NAMI Mass, is being recognized as the Outstanding State Organization for 2015. The NAMI Board of Directors applauds NAMI Mass for “exceptional efforts on the state level in carrying out the NAMI mission as defined by the NAMI Standard of Excellence.”

“The NAMI national organization is a godsend for millions of families whose lives are changed forever by serious mental illness,” said NAMI Mass Board President Steve Rosenfeld. “Their recognition spurs us to work even harder. There’s so much to do, and even outstanding isn’t good enough.”

In her letter of congratulations, NAMI National Governance Committee Chair Janet Edelman praised NAMI Mass for its strong leadership and noted select achievements, including:

  • Advocacy efforts to advance criminal justice by focusing on police departments and Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training;
  • The NAMI Mass strategic plan for increasing diversity in state leadership and at the affiliate level;
  • Its array of education and support programs statewide and efforts to make them accessible to all.

NAMI Mass is in the process of implementing an aggressive strategic plan which includes the Build It Together initiative—focused on increasing the diversity leadership at the state level and within its 21 affiliates, which are spread across the state.

“Making NAMI’s programs accessible to all the communities we serve is a vital component of our mission,” said Laurie Martinelli, executive director of NAMI Mass. “We are working hard to remove roadblocks that prevent us from being diverse and inclusive.”

The Outstanding State Organization Award will be presented at the 2015 NAMI National Convention, July 6-9 in San Francisco.

Media Contact: Matt Ellis; Ellis Strategies, Inc.; matt@ellisstrategies.com; 617-278-6560

About the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass): Founded in 1982, NAMI Mass is a nonprofit, grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. It is the state’s voice on mental illness, with 21 local chapters and more than 2,000 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental health challenges and their families by educating the public; fighting stigma, discrimination and stereotypes; and promoting recovery. To that end, the organization offers free, peer-led programs that provide resources, insights, coping skills and genuine support. NAMI Mass has been chosen by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Outstanding State Organization for 2015.