NEW YORK (NEWS10) — The New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS OMH) has partnered with Behavioral Health News to sponsor four roundtable discussions regarding the stigma, care, and treatment of those living with mental illness. Panelists will share their personal and professional experiences with mental health stigma and will delve into various topics such as impact, living with the stigma, causes of it, etc. Those looking to register for the first free virtual roundtable, which is on January 12, 2023, at 2 p.m. can do so online.

“The stigma surrounding mental illness leads to discrimination and a loss of opportunities for people living with mental illness,” said OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “It can also cause people to avoid or reject seeking help for mental health issues. We are proud to partner with Behavioral Health News to spread the message that the stigma is unfounded and that there is no health without mental health.”

Dr. James Rodriguez will facilitate the discussions and will be joined by mental health care providers, community leaders, journalists, policymakers, and advocates. Dr. Rodriguez is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker and researcher in mental health services to children, adults, and families.

“These Roundtable Discussions are a unique educational opportunity to hear first-person accounts of people’s personal and professional experience with mental health stigma,” said David Minot, Executive Director of Mental Health News Education. “You will learn what can be done to help reduce this unnecessary stigma that is negatively impacting the lives of so many people living with mental health concerns. If you or someone you know has experienced mental health stigma, you should register to attend one or all of the four Roundtable Discussions. Only through awareness and speaking openly about our experiences can we begin to chip away at the damage stigma has and continues to cause to our society.”