More talking. Less whispering.

Newsletter

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...

Make Your Mental Health a Priority During the Holidays

Make Your Mental Health a Priority During the Holidays

As concerns about staying safe and healthy continue, we enter a holiday season like none other. Beloved traditions of gathering with family and friends may not be possible, yet this year may present an opportunity to adjust expectations and embrace new ways to...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Frontline Workers Experience Mental Health Struggles

Frontline Workers Experience Mental Health Struggles

Medical staff, first responders and frontline workers quickly became the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. While caring for patients with COVID-19 and providing necessary services in the community, many essential workers have experienced mental health challenges....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

Take Care Of Your Mental Health This Holiday Season

Take Care Of Your Mental Health This Holiday Season

It’s time to deck the halls and trim the trees - the holidays are in full swing. Joyful time with family and friends can often be overshadowed by unrealistic expectations and financial concerns that can have a negative impact on our mental health. This year, add...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

Stigma Impacts Homeless Population

Stigma Impacts Homeless Population

Homelessness on the streets is all too common. For Maura Kelley, who describes herself as having many mental health diagnoses, stigma affects every aspect of her life. Kelley’s journey has taken her from homelessness, hospitalization and suicide attempts to owning a...

Mental Illness on the Rise Among Adolescents

Mental Illness on the Rise Among Adolescents

Mental illness is on the rise among adolescents with one in five young people living with a mental illness. A 2016 study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that 12.8% of U.S. adolescents had at least one major depressive episode. While these...

Stigma in the Workplace

Stigma in the Workplace

Stigma affects individuals with mental health issues in all aspects of their lives – personal relationships, family life and in the workplace.According to N.A.M.I. (National Alliance of Mental Illness), eight out of ten workers with a mental health condition say shame...

Mental Wellness for the New Year

Mental Wellness for the New Year

New Year’s resolutions often focus on losing weight, saving money or being more organized. It is also a perfect time to focus on your mental health and educate yourself about mental illness.One resolution is to take our Pledge to End Stigma. Separating the truth from...

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.

Holiday Depression & Anxiety

Holiday Depression & Anxiety

Festivities, family reunions and joyful celebrations are all part of the holidays, but for many people, the holiday season can also bring anxiety and depression.

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.

Looking After Your Mental Health By Using Mindfulness

Looking After Your Mental Health By Using Mindfulness

The 18th year of Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place October 7th – 13th and the focus is stress. While stress is something we all may experience in our lifetime, when it becomes difficult to manage it can negatively impact our mental health. Mindfulness is a...

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 percent of them...

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...

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...

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...

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...