Central Massachusetts CEO Takes on Statewide Stigma Fight

Central Massachusetts CEO Takes on Statewide Stigma Fight


Fitchburg, MA – June 21, 2016 – LUK, Inc. is dedicated to “promoting emotional, social, and economic health and empowerment” for people in the central part of Massachusetts. Now, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Hooks Wayman, has another mission – ensuring a stigma-free work environment for his more than 200 employees. Hooks Wayman has signed a pledge, making him a CEO Against Stigma, joining the statewide workplace campaign created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Massachusetts (NAMI Mass).

“As an agency focused on ‘Building Stronger Communities, Family by Family,’ it is important that we have safe spaces for both our clients and our employees,” says Mr. Hooks Wayman. “As we continue the fight against stigma in our communities, we recognize that our employees and their families may have their own struggles, and it is important that we provide support to our own.”

“Mental health conditions – including depression and anxiety — affect one in five adults and are the leading cause of workplace disability. Even in the best workplaces, mental illness remains mostly a secret due to stigma,” says Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director of NAMI Mass. “CEOs Against Stigma takes a top-down approach to help transform the way people think and act. Mr. Hooks Wayman joins the nearly 90 chief executives and municipal leaders creating a healthier, more productive environment for their employees.”

LUK, Inc. is a non-profit social service agency with offices in Fitchburg, Worcester, Webster and Lowell. By joining the CEOs Against Stigma campaign, Hooks Wayman is demonstrating that changing misconceptions about mental health and allowing people to talk freely about the conditions that might affect them, a co-worker, or a family member is a high priority for his organization.

Hooks Wayman add, “Stigma can be confronted through open dialogue and community organizing. It is important to have ongoing conversations and educational opportunities with our staff about supportive services that are available to them and their families, especially in times of need.”

As part of the CEOs Against Stigma pledge, Hooks Wayman promises to encourage more dialogue about mental health conditions, provide information to both managers and employees to keep them better informed, and bring 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 features two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

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

Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here.

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.

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