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Deconstructing Stigma Wins Lifesaver Leadership Award

May 9, 2017 Print

On May 5, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) awarded McLean Hospital the prestigious Lifesaver Leadership Award for our Deconstructing Stigma public awareness campaign.

McLean’s President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, was on hand at the AFSP’s annual A Sip in the Park event at Fenway Park to accept the award. We are also honored that Deconstructing Stigma campaign participant Jessika Zequeira, a longtime advocate for the AFSP, was there to cheer us on at this year’s fundraiser, which raised well over $100,000 for AFSP’s suicide prevention programs.

Guests at the AFSP’s A Sip in the Park event
Scott L. Rauch, MD, with Deconstructing Stigma participant Jessika Zequeira, center; also pictured: David O’Leary and Kate Eisenberg of the AFSP, and José C. Massó, III, director of Policy for Boston Logan

“With our two missions so closely aligned, the relationship between McLean and the AFSP is vitally important, as we both continue to influence public perception through education,” said Dr. Rauch. “On behalf of McLean, I want to express our deep gratitude and admiration for the work of the AFSP. It is a tremendous privilege to be associated with such a marvelous organization. Thank you for everything you do to prevent suicide and fight stigma.”

“Through our joint efforts using public education and by speaking openly about mental illness and suicide, we—all of us in this room—are fighting stigma and changing lives. With 1 in 5 American adults experiencing mental illness each year, and suicide taking nearly 44,000 lives annually, it is critical that efforts like those undertaken by the AFSP and organizations like McLean continue to educate and engage the public.”

In addition to partnering with the AFSP on this project, other like-minded organizations that eagerly lent their support to Deconstructing Stigma include the International OCD Foundation, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and Project 375.