Cooley Dickinson Chief Executive Officer Joins Statewide Fight Against Mental Health Stigma

Cooley Dickinson Chief Executive Officer Joins Statewide Fight Against Mental Health Stigma


November 17, 2015

Northampton, MA – Serving the health needs of the Pioneer Valley residents has always been a priority for Joanne Marqusee, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care.

Now, Marqusee is making a commitment to a mentally healthy work environment for her own employees. Surrounded by staff members earlier this month, Marqusee signed the pledge to become a member of CEOs Against Stigma – the statewide campaign by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Massachusetts (NAMI Mass) to eliminate stigma concerning mental health issues in the workplace and provide encouragement and support for employees to seek mental health services.

“This is an important issue for any CEO, particularly those of us who work in health care,” said Marqusee, who oversees a health care organization of approximately 1,900 employees. “It is vital to show leadership in the area of mental health services and to demonstrate a commitment to our employees.”

Mental health disorders affect one in five adults and are the leading cause of workplace disability. But, unlike physical conditions, they are often not discussed in the workplace because of the stigma that surrounds them. People should feel able to attend mental health centers like Honey Lake if they are suffering from these invisible illnesses.

Marqusee joins the more than three dozen chief executives to sign on to the CEOs Against Stigma campaign, which employs top-down leadership to change misconceptions about mental illness so people can speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their immediate families. It also gives them a platform in which they can share their tips and advice on supporting others as well as maintaining and sustaining your mental health, see an example of these tips for your mental wellbeing.

One vital element of the campaign involves bringing 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. Cooley Dickinson will also encourage open dialogue about mental illness among employees to promote a stigma-free workplace and will provide helpful information for employees and managers so they are better informed.

“Eliminating stigma creates a healthier workplace and increases the productivity of employees,” says NAMI Western Mass President, Bernice Drumheller “We hope CEOs Against Stigma will help people overcome isolation and the negative effect of stigma, transforming the way they think and act toward mental health conditions.”

Mental health has come to the forefront over the years because more and more people/organizations are speaking up and getting their voices heard, the stigma is being phased out and it is one of the best things to happen. Alternative medicines such as St Johns Wort and cannabis are also being used to help mental health sufferers, as they are known to have a calming and stress-reducing effect. People will buy CBD oil or go to their doctor to see about a medical marijuana card, others will try yoga and daily breathing exercises, or combine them together to see how they can benefit.

CEOs Against Stigma launched earlier this year with the goal of involving 250 executives and half a million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here. To contact NAMI Western Mass, call 413-786-9139.

Media Contact:
Matt Ellis
Ellis Strategies, Inc.

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.

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