We recently spoke with Beth D. Fronckowiak, Director of Learning & Engagement for Buffalo/Toronto Public Media about educating the community about mental health.
Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma Coalition?
Our organization joined The Anti-Stigma Coalition because we strongly believed in its goal of not only decreasing the stigma associated with mental wellness, but also providing platforms for people to talk about it with one another.
How are people with mental health challenges impacted by stigma?
People with mental health challenges are impacted by stigma in many ways. The feeling of shame and embarrassment can lead to individuals not receiving the proper medical treatment or therapy support that may be much needed. Hopefully, the more stigma is talked about, the easier it will become for those who need support to seek it.
What is your organization doing to address stigma and enhance mental wellness for employees, viewers, and volunteers? Can you share some of the special events you have hosted which address mental health?
Some of the things that Buffalo Toronto Public Media does to address the stigma around mental health is by offering stories and events related to mental wellness through multiple platforms. We air radio news stories consistently on WBFO, we offer interactive events on social media platforms, and we engage our community through screening and panel discussion events.
One event that we are very proud of was focused on Native American young people. Native Americans see the highest rate of suicide compared to any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S., and ages 15-24 have the highest rate within the community. In partnership with Seneca Native Connections, Native American Community Services, and the Suicide Prevention Coalition, we focused on young people in Native American communities in Western New York who may be struggling with their mental health. We held in-depth listening sessions in Salamanca and Irving prior to holding a large-scale engagement event that included mindful discussions, interactive breakout sessions, and informative activities.