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Mayor DeMaria joins CEOs Against Stigma

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria is joining the statewide campaign to fight the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. Mayor DeMaria signed a pledge to become a member of the CEOs Against Stigma team, a campaign created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass). He joins a growing list of municipal – and business – leaders who are vowing to transform the way people think about and act toward mental health conditions, which represent the number one cause of workplace disability.

“The health and wellness of our employees and the people of our city has always been a top priority for my administration, and that means mental health as well as physical health,” says Mayor DeMaria. “I have focused on those priorities because they are key to the quality of life for all our residents.”

At least one out of every five adults in Massachusetts will experience a mental illness this year. However, mental illness remains mostly a secret at places of work on account of stigma. CEOs Against Stigma – which is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office – leverages the power of chief executives to open lines of communication about mental health conditions and eliminate the institutional stigma that exists, even in the best of workplaces.

“CEOs Against Stigma is now more than 80 members strong,” says Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director of NAMI Mass. “Mayor DeMaria understands that by providing benefits and support for mental health to city employees in Everett, he can create a healthier environment for everyone.”

By signing the pledge, Mayor DeMaria has made a commitment to his city’s more than 1,000 employees to create a stigma-free environment and invite dialogue about mental health conditions without fear of disclosure. The City of Everett will also make employees aware of the mental health benefits available to them and bring in NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentation, which has been recognized by a leading national mental health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America. IOOV’s powerful presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

Mayor DeMaria adds, “By sharing stories of personal recovery, people don’t have to deal with problems alone and can gain strength with the help of others, especially those who have had similar experiences.”

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