Austen Riggs Chief Becomes ‘CEO Against Stigma’

Austen Riggs Chief Becomes ‘CEO Against Stigma’ 03:05PM / Wednesday, April 13, 2016

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Named one of the nation’s best hospitals in psychiatry in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report, the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge is leading the way once again.

Medical Director and CEO, Dr. Andrew Gerber has signed the pledge to become a “CEO Against Stigma,” taking his commitment to mental health for everyone another step further. By signing on to the campaign, created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass), Dr. Gerber demonstrates that a stigma-free work environment for his 142 employees and their families is a priority.

“Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a key priority for the Austen Riggs Center,” Dr. Gerber said. “We share with NAMI the common goal of serving those with mental illness needs. This new initiative emphasizes our additional shared commitment to ensuring mental wellness within our organization, which is vital for both our individual employees and for those in the community we serve.”

CEOs Against Stigma – which is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office – partners with leaders across Massachusetts to implement top-down changes to create healthier, more productive workplaces where employees feel safe disclosing any mental health conditions about themselves or a family member.

Mental health conditions – including depression and anxiety – affect one in five adults and are the number one cause of workplace disability.

“Mental illness is the single greatest cause of lost productivity at work. Employees are unlikely to share their burden, despite the impact on their own effectiveness at work,” said NAMI Berkshire County Executive Director Brenda Carpenter. “Austen Riggs is a proven leader in the treatment of mental health conditions. Through their participation in CEOs Against Stigma, Austen Riggs employees can broaden their awareness to encompass their co-workers, family and friends.”

One critical component 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.

In addition to providing IOOV, Austen Riggs will make employees aware of its health and welfare benefits to make sure that they are welcoming and effective in addressing mental health issues.

CEOs Against Stigma is working to secure the commitment of 250 chief executives and reach half a million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here.

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