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Atrius Health CEO Takes on Statewide Stigma Fight

Dr. Steven Strongwater Joins CEOs Against Stigma

CEOs Against StigmaNewton, MA  (June 10, 2016) - Atrius Health is joining the statewide campaign to fight the stigma of mental illness in the workplace. Dr. Steven Strongwater, president and CEO of Atrius Health, signed a pledge to become a member of the CEOs Against Stigma team, a campaign created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass). He joins a growing list of business leaders who are vowing to transform the way people think about and act toward mental health conditions, which represent the number one cause of workplace disability. Atrius Health, an innovative nonprofit healthcare leader, delivers an effective system of connected care for more than 675,000 adult and pediatric patients in eastern Massachusetts.

“As a physician, I know how important it is to see and consider the whole person and not just their condition --regardless of any illness they may be experiencing. I also know how important the support of friends, family members, coworkers and employers can be to the treatment of that illness,” said Dr. Strongwater. “That’s why this campaign is so important and why I am proud to join NAMI’s CEOs Against Stigma on behalf of Atrius Health.”

At least one out of every five adults in Massachusetts will experience a mental illness this year.  However, mental illness remains mostly a secret at places of work on account of stigma.  CEOs Against Stigma – which is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office – leverages the power of chief executives to open lines of communication about mental health conditions and eliminate the institutional stigma that exists, even in the best of workplaces.

CEOs Against Stigma is now more than 80 members strong,” says Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director of NAMI Mass.  “Dr. Strongwater understands that by providing benefits and support for mental health to his employees, he can create a healthier environment for everyone.”

By signing the pledge, Dr. Strongwater has made a commitment to his more than 6,800 employees to create a stigma-free environment and invite dialogue about mental health conditions without fear of disclosure. Atrius Health will also make employees aware of the mental health benefits available to them and bring in NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentation, which has been recognized by a leading national mental health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America. IOOV’s powerful presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

“By being more open about mental illness we can begin to help reduce stigma and make it easier for our friends and coworkers to seek out and receive the treatment they need,” said Strongwater. “I commend NAMI-Massachusetts for their tremendous work on this campaign.”

CEOs Against Stigma is open to any Massachusetts-based company with at least 50 employees.  For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here.

Laurie Martinelli
Executive Director
NAMI Massachusetts
The Schraffts Center
529 Main Street, Suite 1M17
Boston, MA  02129-1125

About Atrius Health

Atrius Health, an innovative nonprofit healthcare leader, delivers an effective system of connected care for more than 675,000 adult and pediatric patients in eastern and central Massachusetts.  Atrius Health's 29 medical practices, with more than 50 specialties and 725 physicians, work together with the home health and hospice services of its VNA Care subsidiary and in close collaboration with hospital partners, community specialists and skilled nursing facilities.  Atrius Health provides high-quality, patient-centered, coordinated care to every patient it serves.  By establishing a solid foundation of knowledge, understanding and trust with each with each of its patients, Atrius Health enriches their health and enhances their lives.  

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.