Q: Why did the Lee Foundation choose to fund The Anti-Stigma Coalition?
The Coalition members represent a variety of nonprofits, community leaders and advocates working in mental health. The breadth of their experiences and commitment to people living with mental illnesses really resonated with the Foundation. We believed that supporting this collective effort would raise awareness about mental illness and provide a platform for people living with mental illness to share their stores, find support and connect with the services they need to be successful.
Q: How does the campaign align with other community initiatives your foundation supports?
One of our goals at the Foundation is to educate our community about mental health issues. In addition to our support of the campaign, we fund the WNED/WBFO Mental Health Initiative, which ensures there is sustained, in-depth media coverage of mental health issues. Both the campaign and the Mental Health Initiative help to normalize conversation about mental illnesses and build the mental health literacy of our community.
Q: What impact is the Campaign having in the community?
Education is critical if we are going to end the stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. It is encouraging that so many schools, church groups and companies have contacted the Coalition to request speakers and/or materials. While we have a long way to go, our community continues to evolve and grow its knowledge of mental illnesses. Hopefully, this increased knowledge will lead to increased advocacy for mental health services.