Pittsfield, MA – December 16, 2015 – John Bissell, the new President and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, is the first chief executive in Berkshire County to sign on to CEOs Against Stigma, the statewide workplace campaign created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass). Bissell says he is committed to helping eliminate workplace stigma in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, starting with his 257 employees.
“Every one of us has a friend or family member who has struggled with mental health issues,” says Bissell. “It is time to demonstrate that we care about them, and that we support them in meeting their mental health challenges.”
While Bissell just took over as head of Greylock Federal Credit Union, he is a longtime employee. Once Vice President of Marketing and Human Resources, he understands the impact his commitment – and this campaign – can make.
Mental health disorders affect one in five adults and are the leading cause of workplace disability. But, they are different from physical conditions. Mental health disorders are often not discussed in the workplace because of the stigma that surrounds them. CEOs Against Stigma is designed to create a stigma-free workplace by changing misconceptions about mental illness so people can speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their families. That change starts at the top.
Bissell adds, “I believe bringing these issues and challenges out in the open, free from stigma and stereotype, is a vital step to helping all of our employees and colleagues to lead full and productive lives.”
By signing the pledge, Bissell promises to promote a stigma-free environment by encouraging more dialogue about mental health conditions, providing information to both managers and employees to keep them better informed, and 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 features two people sharing their personal stories of recovery. These presentations are an important component of the campaign.
“CEOs Against Stigma is moving full steam ahead to change work environments across the state,” says NAMI Berkshire County Executive Director, Brenda Carpenter. “We are proud to have Mr. Bissell and Greylock Federal Credit Union as the first in Berkshire County to join our team.”
CEOs Against Stigma is working to sign 250 executives to the campaign and reach half a million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here. To contact NAMI Berkshire County, call 413-443-1666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ellis Strategies, Inc.
About the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass)
Founded in 1982, NAMI Mass is a nonprofit, grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. It is the state’s voice on mental illness, with 21 local chapters and more than 2,000 members. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for people with mental health challenges and their families by educating the public; fighting stigma, discrimination and stereotypes; and promoting recovery. To that end, the organization offers free, peer-led programs that provide resources, insights, coping skills and genuine support. NAMI Mass has been chosen by the National Alliance on Mental Illness as the Outstanding State Organization for 2015.