Brattleboro Retreat launches media campaign to counter stigma of mental illness and addiction

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Brattleboro Retreat launches media campaign to counter stigma of mental illness and addiction

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 8:01am -- tim

The Brattleboro Retreat has announced the launch of a broad-based media campaign designed to raise public awareness and reduce the social stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. The campaign known as Stand Up to Stigma includes a variety of messages in print, radio, and online formats. These messages provide fact-based information aimed at countering the stereotypical myths that often surround psychiatric and addictive disorders as well as the people affected by them.  As a part of the campaign, the Retreat has launched to offer more information regarding mental illness and addiction stigmas, as well as campaign materials.

The campaign messaging and overall concept was developed in consultation with the Brattleboro Retreat’s Consumer Advisory Council. Stand Up to Stigma is funded in large part by a significant anonymous donation made to the Brattleboro Retreat in 2013.

“The biases toward mental illness and addiction have deep cultural roots that have been growing for centuries,” said Robert E Simpson, Jr, president and chief executive officer of the Brattleboro Retreat. “We feel our mission calls us not only to provide excellent clinical care for our patients, but to help shift attitudes toward a more respectful, informed, and compassionate way of thinking about mental health that is free of judgment, fear, and misinformation.”

Mental illnesses are among the most common health disorders worldwide. In any given year one in four Americans will experience a diagnosable mental illness. Each year, one in ten young people experiences a period of major depression. Yet less than one in five children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receives needed treatment.

Stand Up to Stigma addresses many commonly of the commonly held misperceptions about mental illness and addiction by pointing out that these disorders are quite common, that people who suffer from them can be treated successfully and enjoy successful careers and meaningful personal lives, that individuals with psychiatric and addictive disorders come from all walks of life, and that suffering from a mental illness or addiction has nothing to do with a person’s character. 

Stand Up to Stigma takes a pretty unfiltered look at many of the common myths people associate with mental illness,” said Konstantin von Krusenstiern, vice president of Strategy and Development at the Retreat. “We spell out these stigmas very clearly. They are rarely said aloud, but they serve as damaging undercurrent in many conversations and interactions. By stating them clearly, we hope to lessen their power and highlight their faulty logic.  Then, we provide fact-based statements in order to both educate and prompt further discussion.”

The Brattleboro Retreat, founded in 1834, is a not-for-profit, regional specialty psychiatric hospital and addictions treatment center, providing a full range of diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitation services for individuals of all ages and their families. Recognized as a national leader in the treatment mental illness and addiction, the Brattleboro Retreat offers a high quality, individualized, comprehensive continuum of care including inpatient, partial hospitalization, residential and outpatient treatment.  

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BRATTLEBORO, VT (May 29, 2014)—Brattleboro Retreat