September 26, 2016

Cooley Dickinson Chief Executive Officer Joins Statewide Fight Against Mental Health Stigma

September 26, 2016

For immediate release: Nov. 17, 2015

Northampton, MA – Serving the health needs of the Pioneer Valley residents has always been a priority for Joanne Marqusee, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care.

Now, Marqusee is making a commitment to a mentally healthy work environment for her own employees.  Surrounded by staff members, Marqusee signed the pledge to become a member of CEOs Against Stigma – the statewide campaign by the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Massachusetts (NAMI Mass) to eliminate stigma concerning mental health issues in the workplace and provide encouragement and support for employees to seek mental health services.

“This is an important issue for any CEO, particularly those of us who work in health care,” said Marqusee, who oversees a health care organization of approximately 1,900 employees.

“It is vital to show leadership in the area of mental health services and to demonstrate a commitment to our employees.”

Mental health disorders affect one in five adults and are the leading cause of workplace disability.  But, unlike physical conditions, they are often not discussed in the workplace because of the stigma that surrounds them.

Marqusee joins the more than three dozen chief executives to sign on to the CEOs Against Stigma campaign, which employs top-down leadership to change misconceptions about mental illness so people can speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their immediate families.

One vital element of the campaign involves bringing NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentations into the workplace. Recognized by a leading national mental health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America, IOOV presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.  Cooley Dickinson will also encourage open dialogue about mental illness among employees to promote a stigma-free workplace and will provide helpful information for employees and managers so they are better informed.

“Eliminating stigma creates a healthier workplace and increases the productivity of employees,” says NAMI Western Mass President Bernice Drumheller. “We hope CEOs Against Stigma will help people overcome isolation and the negative effect of stigma, transforming the way they think and act toward mental health conditions.”

CEOs Against Stigma launched earlier this year with the goal of involving 250 executives and half a million employees.  Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join.

Learn more about CEOs Against Stigma.

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