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No

Stigma

Network's

Story

I am a mother and a caregiver of a loved one who has been dealing with Psychiatric Illness since the age of nine. 

 

I created the “NO STIGMA” Support Group with assistance from my good friend Susan Reese, when I noticed that there was nothing available for my child to attend after my child graduated from high school, received his Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout of USA, and turned the magic age of 18.   It almost seemed as if my child was being pulled into this “giant dark hole”. 

 

My child tried to attend some of the other support groups available, but none seemed to work out for my child or meet my child’s “young adult” needs.  When checking with other young adults they all seemed to have the same response: “we want a support group that is peer run, facilitated by a caregiver who understands where we are coming from and who can bring us back on track when we do go off track, where we can be ourselves with our own body language, expression, ideas and thoughts.  Where we are not limited to what we can say and how we say it.”

 

Each one of the members in the support group has a vision to be independent and live a healthy, happy and productive life.  The young adults are either in school, finished a vocational training, working, or looking to go back to school.  Young adults are making responsible, sensible life decision for themselves.  Each one of the young adults is remarkable in his or her own way.  Hence, The Birth of NSN. 

 

NSN was my dream, my hope, my wish where taking “no” or “I can’t” for an answer is not an option but “yes” and ‘I can” and “I will” is THE acceptable option.  My vision was focusing on assisting young adults who battle the challenges of mental illness, and who have the desire to be productive, happy, healthy, and independent members of their society, and of their culture, through support, education, outreach, and advocacy.  

This dream became more pressing when I was approached by three young ladies with the same idea and suggested the support group be named “No Stigma” since “we are constantly being stamped for our illness and yet all we want is to have a normal life.”  NSN was established on November 4, 2009; simply as a self-help support group for young adults, ages 18 to 25. 

 

Today, six years later, a simple support group is now a New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation, 501(c)(3) tax exempt, small organization, simply re-named as No Stigma Network, Inc.   

 

My focus on NSN is lived through the heart and soul of my child and every child who battles this illness. My name is Shrabanee Shah and I am the founder of NSN...

Our Objective

  • To provide programs that seek a rational approach to assist young adults from ages 18 to 30 with mental health issues and threats to their growth and stability.  To assist and participate in the formulation of public policy and advocate for better approaches designed to facilitate the protection and preservation of young adults.  NSN aspires to increase awareness among public officials and the general public.  NSN offers a forum in a confidential and non-judgmental environment focused on young adults to promote stability, productive behavior, independence, a healthy and happy lifestyle, and acceptance within society without stigma and bias.

  • Due to current negative perceptions of mental illness, many sufferers are faced with unwanted stigma.  This is particularly difficult for young adults.  NSN envisions a future where communication is maintained with educational institutions; mental health professionals; hospitals; medical professionals; boards of health; elected and appointed officials and other public health organizations to promote educational opportunities for young adults designed to improve NSN service and public health programs.

We anticipate promoting high standards for young adults by: 

  • encouraging good, personal health practices

  • maintaining a young adult support system where members are encouraged to discuss issues in a confidential, safe and non-judgmental environment.

  • supporting healthy financial responsibility

  • involving members in outreach to the community to increase awareness of mental health challenges, and to inform the public about resources including NSN's programs

  •  providing a forum for discussion and input from local organizations and mental health professionals for improving local and state health policies and programs.