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Greylock CEO Joins Fight Against Mental-illness Stigma in Workplace

PITTSFIELD — John Bissell, the new president and CEO of Greylock Federal Credit Union, is the first chief executive in Berkshire County to sign on to CEOs Against Stigma, the statewide workplace campaign created by the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Mass). Bissell says he is committed to helping eliminate workplace stigma in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, starting with his 257 employees.

“Every one of us has a friend or family member who has struggled with mental-health issues,” Bissell said. “It is time to demonstrate that we care about them, and that we support them in meeting their mental-health challenges.”

Mental-health disorders affect one in five adults and are the leading cause of workplace disability. But they are often not discussed in the workplace because of the stigma that surrounds them. CEOs Against Stigma is designed to create a stigma-free workplace by changing misconceptions about mental illness so people can speak freely about the conditions that affect them and their families. That change starts at the top.

“I believe bringing these issues and challenges out in the open, free from stigma and stereotype, is a vital step to helping all of our employees and colleagues to lead full and productive lives,” Bissell said.

By signing the pledge, he promises to promote a stigma-free environment by encouraging more dialogue about mental-health conditions, providing information to both managers and employees to keep them better informed, and bringing NAMI’s In Our Own Voice presentations into the workplace. Recognized by a leading national mental-health researcher as the most effective anti-stigma program in America, IOOV features two people sharing their personal stories of recovery. These presentations are an important component of the campaign.

“CEOs Against Stigma is moving full steam ahead to change work environments across the state,” said NAMI Berkshire County Executive Director Brenda Carpenter. “We are proud to have Mr. Bissell and Greylock Federal Credit Union as the first in Berkshire County to join our team.”

CEOs Against Stigma is working to sign 250 executives to the campaign and reach a half-million employees. Any Massachusetts company with at least 50 employees can join. For more information about CEOs Against Stigma, visit ceos.namimass.org.

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