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Austen Riggs CEO Joins Fight Against #1 Cause of Workplace Disability

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This press release originally appeared on the NAMI Mass CEOs Against Stigma website on April 13, 2016.

Andrew Gerber, MD, PhD, Medical Director/CEO, Austen Riggs CenterStockbridge, MA – April 13, 2016: Named one of the nation’s best hospitals in psychiatry in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report, the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge is leading the way once again. Medical Director and CEO, Andrew Gerber MD, PhD, has signed the pledge to become a CEO Against Stigma, taking his commitment to mental health for everyone another step further. By signing on to the campaign, created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass), Dr. Gerber demonstrates that a stigma-free work environment for his 142 employees and their families is a priority.

“Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness is a key priority for the Austen Riggs Center,” says Dr. Gerber. “We share with NAMI the common goal of serving those with mental illness needs. This new initiative emphasizes our additional shared commitment to ensuring mental wellness within our organization, which is vital for both our individual employees and for those in the community we serve.”

CEOs Against Stigma – which is funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office – partners with leaders across Massachusetts to implement top-down changes to create healthier, more productive workplaces where employees feel safe disclosing any mental health conditions about themselves or a family member.

Mental health conditions – including depression and anxiety – affect one in five adults and are the number one cause of workplace disability.

“Mental illness is the single greatest cause of lost productivity at work. Employees are unlikely to share their burden, despite the impact on their own effectiveness at work,” says NAMI Berkshire County Executive Director, Brenda Carpenter. “Austen Riggs is a proven leader in the treatment of mental health conditions. Through their participation in CEOs Against Stigma, Austen Riggs employees can broaden their awareness to encompass their co-workers, family and friends.”

One critical component of the campaign involves bringing NAMI’s In Our Own Voice (IOOV) presentations into the workplace. Recognized by a leading national mental health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America, IOOV presentations feature two people sharing their personal stories of recovery.

In addition to providing IOOV, Austen Riggs will make employees aware of its health and welfare benefits to make sure that they are welcoming and effective in addressing mental health issues.

CEOs Against Stigma is working to secure the commitment of 250 chief executives and reach half a million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, click here. To contact NAMI Berkshire County, call 413-443-1666 or email namibc@namibc.org.

Media Contact:
Matt Ellis
Ellis Strategies, Inc.
matt@ellisstrategies.com
617-278-6560

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.

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