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Meet the No Stigma Network Facilitators

Shrabanee Shah

Founder and President of No Stigma Network, Inc., Support Group Facilitator

       Shrabanee's passion to assist individuals battling the challenges of mental illness came to play when the illness became a personal battle in her own family with her child.  Through education, research, advocacy, and her knowledge of mental illness came to life as a parent and caregiver.  Thus, led her to offer shelter and mentor young adults during crises; hospital and home visits as needed; intervene, as needed, with young adults and family members to re-build the relationship and bond; assist with reaching out to different services and resources for well-being.

 

  • Her volunteer work began at the age of 14 as a member of the Girl Scout of the United States receiving

  • the First Class Girl Scout Award [the Gold Award today]. 

  • Served as a Girl Scout Leader for 13 years.

  • Served on the Board of Directors Member at Large of the Girl Scout of the Jersey Shore

  • Served on several committees.

  • Life Time Membership of the Girl Scout of the USA.

 

  • Served for 12 years in the Boy Scouts of America in Millstone Township Boy Scout Troop.

  • Served as a Committee Member.

  • Served as Merit Badge Leader.

  • Fundraising.

  • Training in different areas.

 

  • Committee Member for the Millstone Municipal Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse. 

  • Organized forums to educate the community regarding mental illness and substance abuse.

 

  • Volunteer instructor for The American Red Cross for 16 years.

 

  • Volunteer instructor for The American Heart Association.

 

  • Advocate for NAMI NJ [National Alliance on Mental Illness], NAMI Greater Monmouth, and the South Asian Communities under SAMHAJ [South Asian Mental Health Association in Jersey] for seven years.

 

  • Provide advocate, educate, support, strength, and knowledge.

  • Guest speaker in staff training and meeting, cam counselor training, school assembly, workshops, conference and seminars.

 

  • Advocate in Trenton with Legislators for acceptance of Mental Illness and local media.

 

  • Served on the Board of Directors for NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] Greater Monmouth as the Vice President for Membership, Board Secretary, Committee Member for the Fund Development, Public & Community Relations, and Marketing Committee, Liaison to the community to educate, advocate, and train.   Served on the SAMHAJ and Law Enforcement Education Committee in NAMI NJ.

 

  • Instructor for two NAMI National Education Courses for caregivers and family members:

    • NAMI Basics

    • Family-To-Family

 

  • Caregiver and Family Member Support Group facilitator. 

 

  • The co-founder and co-facilitator of the NAMI Greater Monmouth Alumni Group for graduates of NAMI Basics and Family-To-Family class.

 

Awards

  • 2012 Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women from Soroptimist International of the Central Jersey Coast in recognition of her outstanding work to improve the lives of other women.

 

  • Received the 2011 Certificate Of Acknowledgement For Your Exceptional Efforts In Providing Support For South Asians Affected By Serious Mental Illness in New Jersey by SAMHAJ [[South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey].

 

  • Received the 2010 Ambassador Award for Advocacy from The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma.

 

  • Received the 2007 Recognition Award for outstanding contributions to combating stigma and promoting public awareness & understanding in the South Asian Community from SAMHAJ [South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey].

Linda VanMelis

MSW, Vice President I, Communications, Young Adult Advisory Committee Organizer, Support Group Facilitator

        Linda has been drawn into the mental health field by natural interest and training as well as by necessity. She has psychology and social work degrees which have given her a general background in mental health.  Linda describes her journey into advocacy and volunteer work with NSN:  

      "Nothing compares to the raw, fully-immersed experience of having a loved one with a mental illness. Necessity required me to educate myself and to acquire a multitude of skills I would otherwise not have."

 

       "The emotional toll of having a family member with mental illness is heavy and costly, not to mention the devastating effect the experience can have on family life, employment, financial stability, and personal relationships.  The single most important resource that restored some balance to my life was joining and participating in self-help organizations dealing with mental illness. The support, new understanding, and skills I gained are priceless."

 

       "Being involved in NSN since 2013 has been an exciting opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help young adults manage their mental health issues while they grapple with the challenges of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.  NSN is an outstanding local, grassroots organization of caring, passionate, motivated individuals dedicated to advocating for those with mental health challenges."