Owing its origins to a conversation started in 2003
It began as a conversation in a corporate setting and has evolved into a public conversation about mental illness.
One day in 2003 the directors and employees of Fidelity Bank in North Central Massachusetts pondered the question “how can we make a positive impact on a social issue that lacks popular attention and support?” What emerged was a commitment to improving the mental health of the community.
And thus, in the spring of 2004, the SHINE Initiative was officially launched to “shine a light on mental illness.” Soon after, an Advisory Board comprised of leaders in the field of healthcare services, along with family advocates and corporate and community leaders, was established to help guide the SHINE Initiative.
In recent years the SHINE Initiative has honed its focus on the mental health of children and young adults. Why? Quite simply, because we know that half of lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14.
We also believe that through education and information-sharing we can have a lifelong and positive impact on the mental health and total wellness of our communities. We are proud to note that in recent years several school systems and institutions of higher learning have partnered with us to raise awareness of mental illness and to help diffuse and debunk some of the misconceptions and myths that have fueled stigma for generations.
Also since 2005 we have raised nearly $1million dollars, some of which has been invested in mental health research at McLean Hospital, Mass. General Hospital, and UMass Medical Center. Funds have also been used for these and other recent activities and events that we have sponsored and hosted/co-hosted:
· Mental Health Symposium at Worcester State University (May 2012)
· Mental Health Conference with Mount Wachusett Community College (October 2012)
· Mental Health/Suicide Prevention Symposium, DCU Center, Worcester (March 2013)
· Mental Health Conference with Common Pathways at Clark University (May 2013)
· Presentations to students at St. Bernard High School, Holy Name High School, Ayer-Shirley High School, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School (January 2013 to present).
· Mental Health First Aid trainings (October 2012 and November 2013)
As we celebrate our milestone 10th anniversary in 2014 we look forward to engaging with more young people, their families and caregivers throughout our community. And we invite everyone to “Join the Conversation” about mental illness. If you would like to share your comments with us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to our Facebook page at www.shineinitiative.org.
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