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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

May 30, 2019

OMH Recognizes the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition for its Service to the Community

Albany, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) is honoring the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition in Buffalo as a recipient of the inaugural OMH Community Care Awards.

These awards are given during May – Mental Health Awareness Month – to recognize the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organizations who have furthered the OMH mission and made a positive contribution to the mental health system in their communities.
 
OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, said, “OMH is fortunate to have many great partners across the State who are helping us raise awareness of mental health issues and fight against the stigma surrounding mental illness and treatment. The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is doing excellent work educating the public, providing valuable information about resources in the community and sharing stories about people’s successes on the road to recovery. Its work is increasing access to mental health care and addressing the challenges stigma creates for individuals seeking help.”
 
Max Donatelli, Chair of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition & Family Advocate, said,  “As chair of the Coalition, I am excited and proud of our team being recognized by the NYS Office of Mental Health. The Join the Conversation Campaign and LetsTalkStigma.org were developed to get people in our community talking intelligently about mental health, mental illness, and wellness in efforts to help stop the stigma of mental illness. Our Coalition has been passionate about finding creative ways to extend our reach over the past two years through ongoing social media, tv commercials and appearances, monthly newsletters, recruiting new organizational members and recruiting individual members by having us take the pledge to help stop stigma, and initiating numerous community presentations. On behalf of this amazing collaborative team composed of government reps, voluntary agencies, funders, marketing and PR reps, and volunteers, I am thankful for this special recognition.”
 
Commissioner of Mental Health for Erie County, Michael Ranney, said, “The Erie County Department of Mental Health is very proud to be a part of the Anti Stigma Coalition and this campaign. The anti-stigma campaign was established to stimulate conversations about mental health awareness and educate the community.  Our goal was to create a lasting campaign that would break down the barriers created by the stigma that surrounds mental illness. I personally thank the New York State Office of Mental Health for the Community Care Award and their recognition of the work done.  Thank you also to the Peter & Elizabeth Tower Foundation and Patrick P. Lee Foundation for your generous contributions and commitment to the campaign. I need to also acknowledge that our office was the first to provide funding of this initiative and we remain committed to this campaign and coalition.  We ask you to please Join the Conversation about mental health awareness and take the pledge to end the stigma of mental illness.  Please visit LetsTalkStigma.org and take the pledge now!”
 
 
The Coalition’s website and social media platforms engage the public and encourage people to learn about mental health and take a pledge to end the stigma of mental illness.  To date, more than 1,600 individuals have taken this pledge.  The Coalition also provides valuable information regarding resources in the community as well as individual stories of struggles and successes.  The sixteen founding members consist of a cross section of agencies in the community as well as Erie County government.
 
The Community Care Awards were created in 2019 to highlight OMH’s partners and stakeholders in local communities across the State that are helping to identify and eliminate gaps in services, and are working to build strong community-based behavioral healthcare systems.  Input from these local partners helps OMH better understand regional needs and implement programs that will help people on the road to recovery from mental illness live their lives with a greater degree of independence and dignity.
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