On May 30th, the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition launched "Join the Conversation", a public awareness campaign to address the stigma surrounding mental illness. The campaign is designed to start a community conversation to educate the public on the real facts surrounding mental illness and give those who suffer a voice in an effort to reduce or eliminate stigma in Erie County.
According to Michael Ranney, CRC-R, LMHC, Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health and coalition member, "Approximately 1 in 5 Western New Yorkers are living with a mental health condition. Yet many of these people suffer in silence because of the discrimination that goes along with it. Through this effort, we hope that people dealing with mental health challenges will know that they are not alone, help is available and recovery is possible."
The cornerstone of the campaign is the website www.letstalkstigma.org and its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where individuals can find facts, information, other people's stories and experiences, available resources, and, of course, a place to join the conversation. Additonal community mental health campaigns include the youth focused JUST TELL ONE foucusing on our younger citizens ( visit www.justtellone.org ) and the Workplace health promotion initiative of the Erie County Mental Health Assocaition.