Gloucester Mayor Joins Statewide Campaign to Fight Stigma of Mental Illness

Gloucester Mayor Joins Statewide Campaign to Fight Stigma of Mental Illness

Good Morning Gloucester, April 19, 2016, ~ mayorsefatia

Mayor Romeo Theken signs on as a CEO Against Stigma

Gloucester, MA—Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken has joined the growing list of municipal leaders and chief executives across the Commonwealth, vowing to help eliminate stigma in the workplace related to mental illness. The mayor of Cape Ann’s largest city has signed a pledge to become a CEO Against Stigma, joining the workplace initiative created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass).

“I’m proud to sign my name to this important initiative which offers courageous hope and opportunity to people with mental health conditions,” says Mayor Romeo Theken. “Across the Commonwealth, the North Shore and here in Gloucester, too many people are suffering from issues related to mental health and sadly avoiding appropriate care due to social stigmas. It’s time to tackle these negative outlooks and provide genuine help to our community.”

CEOs Against Stigma, which launched in 2015, partners with the top leaders of businesses, organizations and municipalities across Massachusetts to change misconceptions about mental illness by encouraging people to open up and speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their immediate families, and seek treatment.

“Mental health conditions – including depression and anxiety – affect one in five adults and are the number one cause of workplace disability,” says Linda Lewis, NAMI Cape Ann board member. “By joining CEOs Against Stigma, Mayor Romeo Theken demonstrates that she is committed to creating a supportive environment for everyone.”

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. Mayor Romeo Theken and the City of Gloucester will also provide helpful information for employees and managers so they are better informed as well as make employees more aware of the mental health benefits available to them.

Mayor Romeo Theken also remarks, “While there has been terrific progress made around mental health advocacy, we can still do more to help. Gloucester’s city employees are our number one asset and providing benefits, support and care that keeps them strong physically and mentally remains a top priority.”

Any Massachusetts company, organization or municipality with at least 50 employees can join. NAMI Mass and its affiliates are committed to signing 250 executives and elected leaders to the campaign and reaching half a million employees. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, log onto the website: http://ceos.namimass.org. You can also contact NAMI Cape Ann at 978-281-1557 or namicapeann@verizon.net.

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