Medaille College Joins Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition to Help End Stigma Surrounding Mental HealthPosted by Medaille University Office of Communications
Medaille College is excited to join the growing Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition, an organization of local groups committed to ending the stigma surrounding mental health.
The coalition provides access to an array of resources, including crisis hotlines, mental health first aid, mental health education, and help with conditions including anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior.
“We are committed to creating an environment, within our campus and larger community, that is welcoming, inclusive and safe for everyone,” says Medaille President Dr. Kenneth Macur. “Partnering with the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is another opportunity for us to communicate the importance of promoting healthy perspectives on mental health, and Medaille is honored to assist in advancing this important initiative that impacts so many people.”
The Medaille community’s involvement has already started, with a “Be Kind to Your Mind” Mental Health Anti-Stigma Forum that was held on campus this past December.
Additionally, in an effort to create a safe space on campus and help end the stigma surrounding mental health, the College is asking students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends to take the Pledge to End Stigma. The pledge helps each person learn how they can help raise awareness to change public perceptions and create a new dialogue around mental health and treatment. Participants will be invited to commit to the following actions that aid in destigmatizing mental health:
- Avoid using stigmatizing words like “crazy,” “psycho,” “nuts” and “insane” in everyday conversations.
- Speak out against mental illness stigma and discrimination whenever they see it.
- Share experiences, stories and information to spread awareness and acceptance of mental illness.
- Continue learning about mental health issues so they can help replace myths and fear with truth and understanding.
“Taking the pledge is a great place to start to show that our college community will be part of changing the narrative and will be part of the solution, serving as advocates,” says Medaille Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kenya Hobbs, who spearheaded the College’s initiative to join the coalition. “We want our Medaille family to know that they are supported, on campus and out in the community, where we have several partners who are allies in the cause.”
Medaille’s Department of Counseling & Clinical Psychology, one of the College’s most robust academic departments, is also playing a role by educating the next generation of clinical psychologists and mental health counselors. Furthermore, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant the department received, the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program continues to allow Medaille’s clinical mental health counseling students and graduates to offer services to underserved populations across Buffalo, Rochester and the surrounding regions. This has helped increase awareness and access to treatment among those who have not previously had such assistance.
The growing number of organizations that comprise the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition include Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, Leadership Buffalo, Buffalo Toronto Public Media, Seneca-Babcock Community Association, Just Buffalo Literary Center, People Inc., Erie County Medical Center (ECMC), Say Yes To Education Buffalo and several others, including Medaille-alumni-owned organizations such as UPward Design for Life and Pressure Point Consulting, LLC.