The Mental Health Association in Niagara County has been serving the community for more than 50 years, working to promote wellness through advocacy, education, and community service programs, while focusing on turning illness into wellness. Services include presentations, self-help material, advocacy services, information, referral services, and valuable support services for individuals with a mental health diagnosis.
We spoke with Daniel Colpoys, Mental Health Association in Niagara County, Executive Director.
Q: Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma Coalition?
Educating the Niagara County community on the subject of mental health is core to the mission of the Mental Health Association in Niagara County. Joining the Anti-Stigma Coalition is another vehicle to help us deliver the message that people can live with a mental health diagnosis and still be successful in their careers, and have rich, full social and family lives.
Q: How are people with mental health challenges impacted by stigma?
There’s no question that people with mental health challenges do not seek the care they need due to stigma. We need to get past the archaic sentiment that’s still out there and permeating some cultures that people can ‘tough out their diagnosis’ and bury their feelings/issues and eventually things will get better. Things probably won’t get better without proper care.
Q: What impact is the Campaign having in the community?
Thousands of people in Western New York have taken the pledge to end the stigma of mental illness. This is a start, but as a Coalition of some of the biggest, and most respected mental health providers, school districts, private companies, faith-based organizations, and medical professionals, we must do better. I’ll challenge all of our members, including my own, to incorporate ending the stigma of mental illness into their professional, and personal, lives.