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February 26, 2016
BROOKLYN, NY, February 26, 2016: On Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams hosted more than 350 Brooklynites at “Promoting Mental Wellness in a Diverse Community: Brooklyn Mental Health Summit,” a conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall where participants learned from health care experts and accessed critical wellness resources. Organized in collaboration with Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting, LLP, the New York Association of Black Psychologists, Inc, and NYC Health + Hospitals | Kings County, with sponsorship from Healthfirst, the summit included a symposium in which medical professionals and health care providers discussed the effects of trauma in communities and coping strategies such as non-violent conflict resolution, anger management, and building relationships. Additionally, a community forum focused on handling and understanding the effects of stress and anxiety. Borough President Adams spoke about the need to shatter the stigma around seeking support for mental health issues.
“We cannot allow the stigma of mental illness to keep people isolated, without access to medical treatments and a community to sustain them,” said Borough President Adams. “I want individuals and their families who are dealing with mental health issues to know that the community supports them and that there are resources available in their neighborhoods, particularly the young men and young women who are often reluctant to discuss their mental health and to pursue treatment. As One Brooklyn, we share a responsibility to #ShattertheStigma and protect the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness of each individual in our community.”
Since taking office, Borough President Adams has worked on a number of mental wellness issues, including post-partum depression as well as the emotional and psychological components to gun violence. He has also worked extensively with communities affected by autism, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other neurological disorders.
“Borough President Adams has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the people of Brooklyn by starting a conversation about mental health and connecting people to medical professionals and health care organizations,” said George Hulse, vice president of community engagement at Healthfirst. “His continued efforts to #ShattertheStigma will improve our quality of life in our community by allowing families to access the critical resources needed to maintain mental health.”
A variety of mental health professionals praised Borough President Adams for his attention to the mental wellness challenging facing Brooklyn.
“Trauma impacts almost everyone,” said David Woodlock, president and CEO of ICL. “Its nature may vary — natural disasters, serious illness, death of a loved one, neglect, or at its extremes, physical and sexual violence. Traumatic experiences are predictive of poor health outcomes in later life — in fact, our inattention to the emotional dimensions of health and illness is a public health perfect storm.”
“There are seldom opportunities for our borough to come together as a community to discuss mental health, coping, and accessing resources,” said Jayson K. Jones of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. “We are finally accepting acknowledging the importance of mental wellness and the role that it plays in our communities. The Brooklyn Mental Health Summit was the start of a critical discussion that we need to continue to address and tackle these challenges together.”
“The present state of the world and our local community dictate that we, who specialize in the field of mental health, provide an opportunity for our community to benefit from our knowledge base,” said Pierre Arty, MD. “Many people are suffering silently, unable to express their pain due to issues of shame, guilt, or ignorance. This summit is an incredibly ‘on-time’ and forward-thinking event that will help shine an educational light on some of the psychological and emotional traumas shared by many.”
“As a psychiatrist, and Brooklyn native, I am excited that Borough President Adams is sponsoring the Brooklyn Mental Health Summit,” said Vanessa Bobb, MD, PhD. “This greatly needed forum will educate and facilitate discussions surrounding prevention, early identification, and methods to maintain and preserve mental health.”
“Borough President Adams’s mental health summit is as an integral and valuable opportunity for practitioners to collectively have a dialogue with the Brooklyn community about the importance of mental wellness for our diverse population,” said Cristina Dorazio, PhD. “Personally, as a first-generation American and first-generation college student, I am passionate about this opportunity, as my hope is to see those from different backgrounds have an awareness of mental wellness, and feel empowered to seek the services they need.”
“Reports of stress levels in America keep rising and it is therefore essential that people understand the impact this can have on their mental and physical well-being,” said Nerina Garcia-Arcement, PhD. “This mental health summit brings the Brooklyn community together with health professionals.”
“Mental wellness and awareness are essential components of building and sustaining strong, creative, and adaptive communities,” said Damaliah Gibson, PhD. “We are all connected and healing and transformation happens within community, within a village. We all have a part to play through compassion, forgiveness, seeking and providing help when needed, and creating safe spaces where everyone is heard, empowered, and respected.”
“Borough President Adams’s mental health summit underscores the importance of seeing mental health and emotional well-being as essential to our citizens’ and our communities’ survival,” said Pamela D. Straker, PhD. “Critically important to addressing mental health is addressing the role of trauma so many experience, and acknowledging the often ignored or unrecognized ‘cry for help’ by our children and families. This summit adds to the landscape of needed exploration of this area.”
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
p: (718) 802 3700 | f: (718) 802 3778