Community Mental Health Promotion Project (CMHP)

CMHP provides grants, training, and technical assistance to county-level MHA affiliate teams. The purpose of the grants is to increase awareness of mental health issues and to decrease discrimination and stigma about mental illness by increasing access to community-based support for service recipients and their families. Teams identify local needs and then disseminate education and technical assistance to service providers, advocates, lawmakers, and the general public. Through these local initiatives, MHANYS promotes inclusion of diverse input into community-based policy decisions regarding mental health services.

2015 Community Mental Health Promotion Project 
CMHP County: Tompkins
Team Leader: Helena Davis
Phone: 607-273-9250
Team members: Pat Vincent, Emily Nowels, Jacob Parker Carver, Barb Place
Date: March 2015

State your team’s primary goal:
There is evidence that individuals who possess more information about mental illness are less stigmatizing than individuals who are misinformed about mental illness. According to an article in Psychology Today from August 2013, Graham C.L. Davey, Ph.D. categorizes this stigma in two ways. First is the social stigma, characterized by “prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior directed toward individuals with mental health problems.” The other, he states is a perceived stigma or self-stigma, which can affect “feelings of shame and lead to poorer treatment outcome.”

Our goal is to provide education to our community to help reduce the stigma of people dealing with a mental health issue. Our team will create a DVD and teaching guide. The DVD will include interviews with individuals who have been stigmatized as well as individuals who may have stigmatized those with a mental illness but have since overcome their fear, changed their beliefs and behaviors.

How was the community’s need for this goal determined? 
The main goal of the CMHP in Tompkins County has always been to reduce stigma about mental illness through education. Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace or discredit, which sets a person apart from others. Mental Illness is still often perceived as a sign of weakness and/or a character flaw. One of the consequences of stigma is shame. Individuals may avoid seeking treatment and resort to secrecy because of the shame they feel. Secrecy becomes an obstacle to the presentation and treatment of mental illness.

List the objectives you will be following to achieve the goal. 
We will distribute, free of charge, to as many local schools, government and human services agencies and business as our funding allows. It is our hope that the DVD will reach target populations that include law enforcement and first responders, landlords, employers, welfare examiners, health care professionals, lawyers, detention center and prison workers and teachers.

Lists anticipated outcomes and describe what methods will be used to measure them. 
Viewers of our anti-stigma DVD will increase knowledge about the effects of stigma, enhance their understanding of mental health/mental illness and learn strategies to help reduce stigma. We hope to become a source for the community for anti-stigma education resources. We will follow-up with a contact at each place that has received our DVD and teaching brochure. We will conduct a brief phone survey to determine if the DVD and brochure have been utilized, how many individuals viewed the DVD and if it was an effective educational tool.

Has your team secured additional support for your CMHP project? 
The CMHP team will be collaborating with student interns from Ithaca College for our anti-stigma DVD and brochure. The interns will be helping to gather personal stories and conduct interviews as well as provide technical assistance with audio/visual production.

What is your total projected budget for the 2014 CMHP Initiative(s)? 
The budget for our CMHP project is figured on what we receive yearly from MHANYS. We also use no cost support whenever possible, from our community, interns and volunteers. Because other programs within the agency work toward stigma reduction, CMHP may collaborate with those programs directors for extra support and funding.