Words matter. The Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition is working to end the stigma of mental illness and educate the community about how we speak about the issue.

That’s why the recent Twitter post by Sen. Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, urging a Senate Republican aide to kill herself is unacceptable and offensive. No only does it reinforce stigma, it is bullying, mean-spirited, and threatening. We call on the NYS Senate to take action and censure Sen. Parker. This was conveyed by me to Senator Tim Kennedy’s office, as well as, incoming Majority Leader, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ office. According to the NY Post today he has enrolled in an anger management program and this was confirmed by both Senate offices staff when contacted.

This situation reminds us that stigma is prevalent in our society. The Join the Conversation campaign invites everyone to learn about mental illness and what can be done to eliminate stigma at work, school and home. Learn more and take the pledge.