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State to fund efforts to reduce stigma of mental illness

State to fund efforts to reduce stigma of mental illness

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chairs-child-cute-159782The state Office of Mental Health will make up to $75,000 in grant funding available for projects that help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

The funding represents revenues received through a voluntary tax check-off program launched in 2016. The program allows taxpayers to contribute to the Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund when filing their New York State taxes.

“All too often, people with mental health issues or concerns don’t seek the help they need because of the stigma surrounding mental illness,” OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan said in a news release Friday. “But the truth is, with proper treatment, people with mental illness can live fulfilling, productive and happy lives.”

OMH will provide 15 grants of up to $5,000 each to support year-long stigma-reduction projects. Agencies must have at least one year of experience serving individuals with mental illness in order to quality.

Project proposals, which are due July 31, must focus on one or more of several specific issue areas including the stigma and discrimination people with mental illness face in housing, employment, media coverage, health care, parenting or in underserved populations.

OMH will prioritize projects that target education and include activities intended to combat the stigma and discrimination in schools that interfere with the ability of students with mental illness to fully participate in the educational environment.

“By fighting stigma these awards will help encourage people with behavioral health issues to seek treatment and work towards recovery,” Sullivan said.

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