SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)
Community Network Services Anti-Stigma Program
The Community Network Services (CNS) Anti-Stigma Program initially began in October 2005 through a Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Federal block grant. The program’s goal is to decrease the negative attitudes that are often associated with mental illnesses through the provision of education and the awareness to the community through various mediums including consumer presentations, a documentary film, print literature, and community forum sponsorship.
The Anti-Stigma Program was created by several staff at CNS, including three women who have worked in the social work field for many years. Throughout their careers, these women have seen the continuous discrimination that people with mental health challenges endure and how it negatively impacts their lives, their treatment, and their recovery.
Promoting opportunities for persons with mental illness is often a difficult task because the general community lacks adequate knowledge about mental illness and often discriminates against those who receive services or assistance. With this knowledge, planning for the Anti-Stigma Program was simple: reach as many people as possible in the community to break down the barriers.
The MDCH grant was awarded in October 2005 and, immediately, three community educators, who are mental health consumers, were hired to further develop the program and create the tools that would give an accurate message about mental health issues.
To date, the team has developed numerous presentations that are tailored specifically for the audience they intend to reach, including but not limited to businesses, various community organizations, high schools, universities, and the general public. The team also has developed a multitude of print media in both English and Spanish that are distributed during presentations and provided by request to interested individuals.
Additional tools created by the CNS Anti-Stigma Program include an educational Web site, a monthly newsletter, The STOMP; a cable TV show, Unlocking the Mind; and a documentary film, Did You Know.
The Web site can be used to locate local resources, book a presentation, view past editions or subscribe to the monthly newsletter, take in the latest cable TV show, or be part of a chat group.
Since its inception, the CNS Anti-Stigma Program has conducted over 200 presentations reaching more than 7,500 individuals in Michigan. It has also distributed over 28,000 pieces of education materials and more than 275 copies of the documentary film created by the program.
During its inaugural year, the program exceeded its set goal of presentations and as a result was awarded with a 2-year continuation grant. The program has also received various awards, including 2nd place in the national 2005 Lilly Reintegration Awards and the Director’s Award for Rights Innovation from the Michigan Department of Community Mental Health, the 2007 Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority Stigma Buster Award, and the 2007 Michigan Department of Community Mental Health Director’s Award for Rights and Advocacy. Most recently, the program has received the 2008 Mental Illness Research Association Milestone Award, the NAMI-Oakland Michael Curtis Award, and an honorable mention for the program’s documentary film in the SAMHSA Voice Awards.
To obtain additional information about the program, contact Laura Farwell, Organization/Community Education & Development Supervisor, Community Network Services Anti-Stigma Program, at (248) 409-4211 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
To access program tools, you may be interested in visiting the Web site, http://www.cnsantistigmaprogram.org.