Does your organization, church, temple, or community group want to combine forces with our organization? Do you individually want to engage with us to stop the stigma of mental illness? Please consider becoming a member of our Coalition by completing our membership form.
It is going to take a massive community effort to move the needle on stigma, please become a part of the solution. Questions? Please contact Max Donatelli, Chairperson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hamburg Central School District
The Hamburg Central School District is dedicated to educating modern thinkers who create, care, solve and discover. Its schools are places of innovative teaching and active learning.
The district has an enrollment of about 3,480 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, housed in four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. It has approximately 650 employees, the majority of whom are teachers. The district is suburban and semi-rural in nature, covering about 31 square miles in the Towns of Hamburg, Boston, Eden and Orchard Park, including the Village of Hamburg.
Membership in the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition demonstrates that we are committed to “walking our talk” of supporting the mental and emotional health of our students, their families, and our staff.
Michael Cornell | Superintendent
KKPR Public Relations & Marketing
KKPR is a Western New York public relations company providing crisis communications, writing, editing and media services to non-profit and corporate clients. KKPR delivers solid results for clients by providing high-quality customer service and creative communications solutions
Mental health is a critical component of a person’s overall health. People should not hesitate to speak up or because the stigma of mental illness causes shame or embarrassment. Join the Conversation is making a real difference – educating people, encouraging everyone to use the right words and sharing stories of hope. We are proud to support the Coalition in this important work.
Karen Karaszewski, APR | President
Spectrum Health & Human Services
Spectrum Health and Human Services provideseasy-to-access services including drug addiction counseling, home health care coordination, housing assistance and more. Many of our services are available at our centralized community-based locations across Western New York. Spectrum also offers integrated treatments at satellite locations within medical campuses across Erie and Wyoming Counties. With a large qualified team, Spectrum is available to meet clients’ needs immediately with our same-day and walk-in clinics.
Spectrum is very proud to join our colleagues in our fight to eliminate stigma!
Bruce Nisbet | CEO
BestSelf Behavioral Health
BestSelf Behavioral Health is the largest community-based behavioral health organization serving children, adolescents and adults with mental health and substance use disorders in WNY. BestSelf offers treatment and rehabilitation services that promote self-sufficiency, wellness and recovery.
BestSelf believes that every individual is unique and recovery from mental illness is possible. Often the stigma related to mental illness is a significant barrier to people seeking help. BestSelf supports the efforts of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition to provide education and advocacy to combat stigma in our community. Together we can make a difference in the lives of the one in five people who have a mental illness.
Howard K. Hitzel, Psy.D | President/CEO
Help Me Grow WNY
Help Me Grow WNY enables young children to thrive by linking families and caregivers to information and community resources on child development and parenting, providing personalized connections to local services that meet individual needs and creating partnerships with human service agencies, educators, and health care professionals that strengthen families.
Partners of Help Me Grow WNY work to improve the health, well-being, and learning of young children. We recognize that children’s positive development depends upon strong relationships with the adults in their lives. Ending the stigma around mental illness enables families and caregivers to access mental health supports they may need to provide the best possible environments for children. Our community must value and support its children’s mental health—and also the mental health of those who care for them!
Lynne Pullano | Director
The Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
The Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. is a one stop, federally qualified health center whose mission is to provide comprehensive preventative care to underserved communities regardless of their ability to pay. Established in 1999, we expanded to four sites: Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Niagara Falls and Lockport. We have a patient base of about 19,000 throughout Erie and Niagara County and offer a variety of services including adult and pediatric medical, dental, 340b pharmacy, and behavior health. Most recently, we have added physical therapy to the list of services available at our Buffalo location.
The Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc. (CHCB) is a safety net for a diverse population in need of access to comprehensive primary care health care. A significant number live at or below the poverty line who are Medicaid and Medicare eligible. Many have been negatively impacted by stereotypes and stigmas and are eligible for protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination based on age, race, national origin, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation, disability (mental or physical), pregnancy and veteran status. It is imperative for us to be at any table where discussions around stigma are being had because our mission is to serve those who typically must endure it.
LaVonne Ansari | CEO at Community Health Center of Buffalo, Inc.
Restoration Society, Inc.
Restoration Society, Inc. is a non-profit, peer-operated agency. We provide a variety of same-day, community based, recovery oriented services for individuals with behavioral health conditions and/or housing needs. Our rehabilitative services include: Employment, housing, young adult clubhouse, Recovery Center, Homeless Drop-In, outreach, parenting support, resource linkage, HCBS, and benefits advisement. We provide services 365 days per year and all can be accessed through one of our program locations or in the community. All services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each customer.
I am joining the Anti-Stigma Coalition to partner as united force against stigma. Being part of a passionate group, sharing ideas and resources to discover innovative ways to combat public and self-stigma will impact the isolation, despair, and service delivery system ultimately improving quality lives for those affected by mental health conditions through gaining accesses to needed services and resources.
Nancy Singh, M.A., C.R.C. | Chief Executive Officer
Senior Services of Erie County
The mission of the Department of Senior Services of Erie County is to promote the well-being of all older adults through coordinated and cost-effective services which enhance their independence, dignity, and quality of life.
The CDC estimates that 20% of older adults will experience a mental health concern. However, the stigma associated with a diagnosis can prevent an older person from participating in activities, programs and services that help to maintain independence and well being in the community. As the Department of Senior Services strives to promote healthy lifestyles and enhance the quality of life with older adults, we must address barriers in partnership with the community. By joining the Anti-Stigma campaign, we can help older adults to have the conversation that has been off limits, and engage them through the many beneficial programs the Department has to offer.
Timothy Hogues | Commissioner of Senior Services, Erie County
We envision a future where all individuals who need and want help can easily access Horizon’s effective health and recovery services. Using emerging technologies and best practices, we will provide innovative services beyond the boundaries of WNY. In this future, Horizon is widely recognized as a great employer, having the highest quality staff and providing state of the art effective services.
I think it is important for Horizon to be a member of the Anti-Stigma Coalition because so many people are affected by behavioral health disorders but they are ashamed to seek help. I know people can feel better and can improve their life with treatment.
Anne Constantino | President and CEO
Say Yes To Education Buffalo
Our vision is that every student can graduate high school and college when given the proper supports, resources, and opportunities.
Say Yes Buffalo has joined the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition because its mission falls in line with the work of our organization. At Say Yes Buffalo, we work to remove barriers that prevent children from being their best and support their academic and personal growth by organizing wrap-around supports, such as mental health counseling, access to healthcare and free legal services and more. We are proud to partner with Erie County on this initiative.
Child and Family Services
For more than 140 years, Child and Family Services has dedicated 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, workplaces and communities.
I work in a business serving people who by many accounts are unjustly viewed as “broken,” as lacking somehow, as “problems” – as burdens of society. Some present with mental health issues and carry the weight, the stigma that relegates them to objects of pity, of fear, and of contempt.
Yet, each person we serve has a unique story to tell – many of these stories are not pretty, nevertheless most are hopeful chronicles of redemption, of recovered lives because somebody cared. I am mindful that anyone of us is one traumatic, life-changing event from needing the types of supports we often consign to “others.”
I am committed to world in which mental healthcare services are deemed a basic human right and it begins with supporting the work of the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition. Join the Conversation!
Francisco M. Vasquez, Ph.D. | President and CEO
Peers in Cayuga County
The corporation is formed for the charitable purpose of aiding persons over the age of 18, living in Cayuga County, who have been diagnosed with mental illness and who request recovery based activities that will enhnce their social and practical life skills toward their becoming better community members.
Our organization, Peers in Cayuga County, helps people over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. Our staff, all volunteers, live with mental health issues as well and understand what it can feel like when people know you have such issues and treat you differently than the people they thing don’t have mental illness. I, personally, have been working on getting people to recognize the fact that just because someone has been diagnosed with mental health issues, doesn’t make them dumb, violent, or dependent on others. Even though I am the President of this organization, I have had board members from different groups treat me as if I didn’t know what I was talking about when I speak. On one occasion, I did a presentation about our organization to let everyone on that board know exactly what I am capable of and what other people with mental health issues are capable of. After that, I have been treated as a respected member of that board. I want to help fight stigma in as many ways as possible. I believe the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is on the right track to fight stigma and I want our organization to be part of that fight.
Margaret Phinney | President
Deaf Access Services
According to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), “people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing1 are an underserved cultural and linguistic population within the nation’s mental health system”. However , studies show that due to higher rates of oppression, isolation and even abuse, Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals may experience mental health concerns at higher rates than their hearing counterparts. Deaf Access Services supports the efforts of the Anti-Stigma Campaign to address systemic barriers to care, through increased culturally and linguistically affirmative services, and to educate the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community about the symptoms of mental health and ways to access supports in the community.
Pamela Kefi | Executive Director | Deaf Access Services
Parent Network of Western New York
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.
Parent Network of WNY provides 1-on-1 Support and education through resources, workshops and support groups to assist families of individuals with disabilities to understand their disability and navigate the support service system.
Parents can lead the way in opening communication with their children’s mental illness.
Susan Barlow | Executive Director | Parent Network of WNY
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Buffalo & Erie County is pleased to become an organizational member of the Anti-Stigma Coalition and to represent the voices of so many families who continue to combat stigma. Eliminating stigma is one of NAMI Buffalo’s key goals and our participation with the Coalition is a natural fit. We look forward to making progress together.
Michele Brooks | Executive Director | National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Buffalo & Erie County