Work Without Limits 'Bursts the Stigma' against mental illness

May 31, 2016

Amid laughter and smiles, a team from UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits program popped green water balloons labeled “Burst the Stigma” as part of a mental health awareness campaign created by the Speaking of Hope recovery community. Work Without Limits released the video May 31 in honor of Mental Health Month.

"One of the best ways of bursting the stigma is making sure individuals with lived experience of mental illness have full access to employment opportunities," said Alexis D. Henry, ScD, OTR/L, director of the Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division and an associate professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School. "Work Without Limits is committed to supporting all individuals with disabilities so they can reach their full potential."

The “Burst the Stigma” campaign is a creation of Speaking of Hope, a community of young adults in recovery. The community is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the Transformation Center, a peer-operated training, technical assistance, and support organization focused on mental health wellness.

In the video filmed by Work Without Limits Director Kathleen A. Petkauskos in front of Commonwealth Medicine’s Shrewsbury headquarters Henry declared, “We are going to burst the stigma against mental illness!” Henry was joined by eight members of the Work Without Limits team:

  • Kathy Muhr, MEd
  • Michelle Nowers
  • Jack Gettens, PhD
  • Jennie Fishman, MPH
  • Brian Forsythe
  • Megan Northup
  • Carter Pratt
  • Stephanie Major

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