Dear Colleagues,

Attention needs to be brought forward to fight the social stigma of mental illness. In a recent article in The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, New York, by Sara Foss on May 29, 2017, Sara tells us about a poster designed by Christine Steiner of a caterpillar and a butterfly beneath a blue sky and bright yellow sun, and in neat, simple lettering declares “We become what we believe.” “It’s a lovely message, and it reflects Steiner’s growing confidence and belief in herself after decades of struggle. Steiner has borderline personality disorder—a serious, often debilitating, mental illness characterized by unstable moods and behavior.” More people need to be willing to discuss mental illness and fight the social stigma that unfortunately comes along with it.

Recently it has come to my attention that Glenn Liebman, CEO of Mental Health Association of NYS (MHANYS) was the recipient of the ‘Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr. Advocacy Award’ for his arduous work and dedication to ending social stigma. We need to vocalize more often that mental health is just as important as our physical health to stop the fear of discrimination that youth may be feeling.

The UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools another excellent resource is co-directed by Howard Adelman & Linda Taylor. Center resources are sent to school and community stakeholders across the country who are concerned about (1) daily school climate, and (2) the transformation of student and learning supports.

I hope that by providing resources and support to school nurses across NYS through these valuable links that we can all work together to help fight against social stigma and get people the help they need and deserve!

Prince William says it best:

“Smashing the taboo is our biggest aim. We cannot go anywhere much until that is done. People can’t access services till they feel less ashamed, so we must tackle the taboo, the stigma, for goodness sake, this is the 21st Century”   —Prince William

Best Regards,

Betsy Williams AAS, RN
President, NYSASN

GQ Article on Prince William’s Mental Health Initiative:
http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/prince-william-mental-health-heads-together

Survey results identify empathy gap on mental health issues
http://www.pressrepublican.com/news/lifestyles/survey-results-identify-empathy-gap-on-mental-health-issues/article_75ef8c3c-8fc0-53ff-a184-e24865a3a6c2.html

Access to Mental Health Services Key to Reducing Youth Suicide Rates
http://www.twcnews.com/nys/buffalo/news/2017/05/29/buffalo–mental-health–social-worker–suicide–teens–youth–bps–services–mental-health-association-of-erie-county–karl-shallowhorn–lisa-boehringer.html