Spotlight: A Q&A with Catholic Charities

Spotlight: A Q&A with Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Buffalo is a Catholic-sponsored human service agency serving anyone in need in the eight counties of Western New York. Believing all persons are created by God, they empower individuals, children, and families to achieve and maintain meaningful,...

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Stigma and Postpartum Depression

Stigma and Postpartum Depression

CDC research shows that nationally, about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. While 80 percent of new moms may experience baby blues during the first two weeks following the birth of their child, postpartum depression impacts 15-20 percent of...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Gerard Place

Spotlight: A Q&A with Gerard Place

Gerard Place, located on Buffalo’s East Side, provides support and housing for single-parent families that have experienced the pain of poverty, homelessness, and/or domestic/substance abuse. The agency provides the community with a number of services designed to...

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Understanding Mental Health in Older Adults

Understanding Mental Health in Older Adults

According to the World Health Organization, at least one in four older adults experiences some mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or dementia. Among the elderly, depression is a major public health concern leading to increased disability and morbidity....

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Family Help Center

Spotlight: A Q&A with Family Help Center

We recently spoke with Kate Joyce, Executive Director of the Family Help Center about the stigma surrounding mental health.Q: Why did Family Help Center (FHC) become a member of the Anti-Stigma Coalition? Historically, the work of community coalitions has been one of...

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How Faith Communities Respond to Stigma

How Faith Communities Respond to Stigma

According to the American Psychiatric Association, people experiencing mental health concerns often turn first to a faith leader. These leaders, as well as fellow community members, can play an important role in encouraging people to reach out for help and talk about...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with People Inc.

Spotlight: A Q&A with People Inc.

This month, we feature People Inc., the leading non-profit human services agency serving Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Through a variety of services including residential, employment, community outreach, health care and recreation programs, we...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Open Buffalo

Spotlight: A Q&A with Open Buffalo

Open Buffalo is a civic initiative to make major, long-term improvements in justice and equity in the City of Buffalo. It is an unprecedented collaboration among a diverse group of partners and allies.  The organization’s mission is to advance racial, economic, and...

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Preparing for Therapy: What You Need to Know

Preparing for Therapy: What You Need to Know

These are difficult times for us all. Mental health disorders are on the rise countrywide given the COVID-19 pandemic and current political climate. The silver lining may be that the stigma of mental illness is decreasing and more people are seeking help than ever...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with WNY Heroes, Inc.

Spotlight: A Q&A with WNY Heroes, Inc.

This month’s featured member is WNY Heroes, Inc. We recently spoke to Chris Kreiger Sr., Iraq War Veteran and President and Co-Founder of the organization.Q: Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma Coalition? Being a Veteran organization, we see...

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Mental Wellness and Self-Care in the New Year

Mental Wellness and Self-Care in the New Year

Before the start of the pandemic, one in five Americans lived with a diagnosable mental health condition. These rates have skyrocketed as individuals from all walks of life have experienced disruption and insecurity in their lives due to the collective trauma caused...

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Mental Illness Stigma Common for Cancer Survivors

Mental Illness Stigma Common for Cancer Survivors

As of January 2019, the National Cancer Institute estimated that there were 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. By 2030, this number of cancer survivors is projected to increase to 22.2 million. Along with serious physical challenges, mental health...

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A Story of Cancer Survival and Mental Wellness

A Story of Cancer Survival and Mental Wellness

Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, chief executive officer of Crisis Services and co-chair of the Anti-Stigma Coalition, shares her story of cancer survival and mental wellness. We all have different response levels to stress. How we respond also is biological, including our own...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Horizon Health Services

Spotlight: A Q&A with Horizon Health Services

Horizon Health Services offers comprehensive, person-centered care for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Patients and their families collaboratively embark on a journey towards change and wellness. Services include outpatient, detox, crisis...

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Stigma Impacts Domestic Violence Survivors

Stigma Impacts Domestic Violence Survivors

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an opportunity to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of domestic violence in our community and remind survivors that they are not alone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone at any time and impacts individuals...

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Back to School During COVID-19

Back to School During COVID-19

Uncertainty about the upcoming school year is causing mental health challenges for many students, parents, teachers and staff. Will students be able to safely return to the classroom? The possibility of remote learning at the grammar school, high school and college...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with WNYHeroes, Inc.

Spotlight: A Q&A with WNYHeroes, Inc.

The mission of WNYHeroes is to provide veterans, members of the armed services, and the widows and children of deceased veterans with access to essential services, financial assistance and resources that support their lives and sustain their dignity. Many veterans...

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Understanding PTSD

Understanding PTSD

When the word “disability” is mentioned, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) might not readily come to mind. Yet, the American Psychiatric Association reports that PTSD affects an estimated 3.5% of the American population, and people who have PTSD are entitled to...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Harmonia Collaborative Care

Spotlight: A Q&A with Harmonia Collaborative Care

We recently spoke with Valerie Nowack, LMHC, MPA, CEO of Harmonia Collaborative Care about the stigma of mental illness.  Q: Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma coalition? As an organization serving individuals with mental illness for nearly...

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Grief and Loss During COVID-19

Grief and Loss During COVID-19

Steve Biegner, mission pastor at Main Street Ministries: St. Paul’s Campus and executive director of the WNY Impact Foundation, works with individuals who are struggling with grief and loss. According to Biegner, the traditional ways to grieve are unavailable. People...

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Patients Adapt to Telemedicine Counseling

Patients Adapt to Telemedicine Counseling

The coronavirus lockdown has disrupted most facets of everyday life, including mental health counseling and support services. Mental health providers that are members of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition quickly adapted to video technology platforms to continue...

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Mike Billoni Shares his Stigma Story

Mike Billoni Shares his Stigma Story

The following is an excerpt from Michael Billoni’s acceptance speech for the Courage to Come Back Award from the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York on March 11, 2020: I thank God and my angels every day for the miracles since my near-fatal bicycle accident...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Restoration Society, Inc.

Spotlight: A Q&A with Restoration Society, Inc.

Restoration Society, Inc. programs are rehabilitation communities founded upon the recovery vision that all individuals can lead active lives filled with hope and satisfaction and make valuable contributions to our community.  We recently spoke with Nancy Singh, M.A.,...

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Mental Wellness During Uncertain Times

Mental Wellness During Uncertain Times

Fear, uncertainty, anger, sadness, and loneliness - these emotions are common as our community and country reacts to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t let stigma prevent you from reaching out for help. “The barrier to seek help is a lot...

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Signs of Mental Illness in Adults & Adolescents

Signs of Mental Illness in Adults & Adolescents

Are you concerned that you or a loved one has a mental illness? Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following: Excessive worrying or fear Feeling excessively sad or low Confused thinking or...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Horizon Health Services

Spotlight: A Q&A with Horizon Health Services

Horizon Health Services, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation that provides hope and healing for individuals and their families dealing with substance use and/or mental health disorders. Established in 1975, Horizon is the largest provider of outpatient mental health...

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A Sister’s Story

A Sister’s Story

It’s been more than twenty years since my younger sister, Beverly, died by suicide. It was 1993, I was 20 years old and my life was going well. I lived in an apartment with a best friend and I was doing well in college. I used to go to sleep with a smile on my face....

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Say Yes Buffalo

Spotlight: A Q&A with Say Yes Buffalo

The mission of the Say Yes Buffalo partnership is to strengthen the Western New York economy by investing in the education of Buffalo’s future workforce. The primary goals of the partnership are to convene the school district, parents, teachers, administrators, state,...

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The Stigma of Suicide: Ending the Silence

The Stigma of Suicide: Ending the Silence

One person dies by suicide every five hours in New York State and suicide is the state's 12th leading cause of death. “Suicide is the ultimate outcome of stigma,” said Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer, Crisis Services and Vice-Chair of the Erie County...

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Member Spotlight with Child and Family Services

Member Spotlight with Child and Family Services

Child and Family Services dedicates its resources to meet the needs of children and families. One of Western New York’s oldest human service agencies, Child and Family Services fosters safe and healthy environments for children and families in local homes, schools,...

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Keep Resolutions Manageable for Healthy Outlook

Keep Resolutions Manageable for Healthy Outlook

Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition, and many people consider the New Year is the best time to make positive changes. Common New Year’s goals range from getting more exercise, improving finances, to eating healthier. University of Scranton psychology...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Peers in Cayuga County

Spotlight: A Q&A with Peers in Cayuga County

Peers in Cayuga County supports individuals with mental illness and requesting recovery-based activities that will enhance their social and practical life skills toward their becoming better community members. Services include support job support, SSI, SSDI, GED...

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Ending Stigma For Veterans and Their Families

Ending Stigma For Veterans and Their Families

November is the month we celebrate veterans and express our gratitude for their service and sacrifice. They often face significant mental health challenges when they complete their service or return from deployment. Stigma may prevent them from sharing their struggles...

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Veterans and Mental Health by Max Donatelli

Veterans and Mental Health by Max Donatelli

Veterans Day is celebrated this year on November 11th. This is a day to recognize and thank the veterans that have served our country. As a USAF veteran myself, that served in Vietnam during a very tumultuous time in our nation's history, it is especially meaningful...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Deaf Access Services

Spotlight: A Q&A with Deaf Access Services

Coalition member Deaf Access Services is an organization helping meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing people. We recently spoke with Pamela Kefi, Executive Director, to learn about the agency’s mission and why they are working to eliminate stigma.Q: Why is your...

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Finding The Strength To End Stigma

Finding The Strength To End Stigma

“You’re a strong black woman, just deal with it.” “Pray about it and everything will be fine.” These are two phrases that were preached to me from a very young age. I would bet my last dollar that if I stop any African American woman on the street and ask her, she has...

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Stigma is Greater Among African Americans

Stigma is Greater Among African Americans

Peer Support Specialist Leslie Saunders says that stigma is rampant within the African American community. “With the efforts, at best, we are just touching the surface,” he said. Many people feel shame and choose to try to get better on their own. They attempt to...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Parent Network of WNY

Spotlight: A Q&A with Parent Network of WNY

Parent Network of WNY is a not-for-profit agency that provides education and resources for families of individuals with special needs (birth through adulthood) and for professionals. The agency provides one-on-one support and education through resources, workshops and...

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Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

As a Buffalo firefighter for the past 24 years, Dan Milovich has witnessed trauma, injury, and destruction, and is often in dangerous situations. Firefighters, like other first responders, often keep their emotions bottled up and may struggle with mental health...

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From Shame to Super Power

From Shame to Super Power

I’ve started and erased this story at least a half-dozen times. It’s not that the words don’t flow, it’s just that I get anxious talking about my anxiety because I get anxious about nearly everything. Far too much of my life has been wasted leaving terrible thoughts...

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Founding Members Elected Coalition Chairs

Founding Members Elected Coalition Chairs

Karl Shallowhorn, education program coordinator at the Community Health Center of Buffalo, has been elected chair of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition. Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, chief executive officer of Crisis Services, has been named vice chair. Both are founding...

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Back-to-School And Mental Wellness

Back-to-School And Mental Wellness

For some young people, going back to school is an exciting time of new challenges and having fun with friends. But for other students, it can be a stressful period of change resulting in serious mental health challenges. Starting at a new school, entering a new grade,...

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Overcoming the Stigma of PTSD

Overcoming the Stigma of PTSD

In 1965, U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran Patrick Welch was seriously injured in Vietnam, spending two years in the hospital and experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for 20 years before seeking help. He self-medicated with alcohol, experiencing...

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Exercise PTSD – Battling Result Expectations

Exercise PTSD – Battling Result Expectations

Exercise. This simple word conjures images of extremely fit, athletic young people in very tight-fitting clothing, and this is unfortunately the image that can stop people who are dealing with mental health issues from going to the gym. Thankfully, there is a reliable...

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May 14th Membership Celebration at WNED

May 14th Membership Celebration at WNED

Thank you to members who attended the Membership Celebration on May 14 at WNED. A highlight of the event, hosted by Claudine Ewing of WGRZ News, was a panel discussion with campaign spokespersons talking about their mental health challenges. Join the Conversation is...

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Spotlight: A Q&A with Telesco Creative Group

Spotlight: A Q&A with Telesco Creative Group

We recently spoke with Mike Telesco, President of Telesco Creative Group, about his company's involvement with the Anti-Stigma Coalition.  Q: Why did you get involved with the Anti-Stigma Coalition? We were asked by Michelle Brown (former Executive Director of...

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Coalition Receives State Award

Coalition Receives State Award

New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) honored the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition and its Join the Conversation Campaign with an inaugural Community Care Award. The Coalition received the award for furthering the OMH mission and making a positive contribution...

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Stigma Impacts Older Adults With Mental Illness

Stigma Impacts Older Adults With Mental Illness

Mental health concerns are becoming more prevalent in older people, yet the stigma of mental illness often prevents them from seeking help. Baby boomers are aging and this population group is exploding—it’s estimated that by 2030, one in five U.S. residents will be...

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Veterans and Mental Health by Max Donatelli

Veterans and Mental Health

Veterans Day 2018 has come and gone. I am pleased with the last Newsletter edition that featured information on Veterans and hope that it may offer support for those veterans that may be struggling with their adjustment to civilian life.

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Help for Veterans

Help for Veterans

November is the month we honor the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. Often experiences they have while serving our country can result in mental health challenges when they return home.

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Not just the baby blues? Postpartum Depression

Not just the baby blues? Postpartum Depression

A study out of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Massachusetts suggests that having a baby in the summer could be linked to higher rates of postpartum depression. Of the hundreds of thousands of women who suffer from a postpartum mood disorder, only 15...

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Minority Mental Health Month

Minority Mental Health Month

In recent years there’s been more focus than ever before on mental health and the way mental health illnesses can affect our everyday lifestyles. One of the many remaining questions about mental health is this: do mental health...

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Staying Mentally Healthy Over the Summer

Staying Mentally Healthy Over the Summer

For children, teens, and college students, summertime is associated with freedom from school and positive emotions. However, summer can also be a time where certain mental health issues need to be tended to even more than usual. Out of school...

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Mental Health Awareness Month

One of the best ways to reduce the stigma is to learn more about mental illness and celebrate how that awareness can change lives. Separating the truth from the misconceptions can help increase awareness, understanding and acceptance for those living with mental...

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Staying Healthy Over Spring Break

No matter how old we are, we all probably hear the term “spring break” and images of laid-back living in tropical locales pop in our heads. Summer vacations may conjure up family road trips and siblings crammed into the family car. Summer trips also...

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