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Mental Health Foundation Presents ’It’s Okay To Talk About It’ Grants

Originally Posted: August 31, 2010

Albany - The Mental Health Foundation recently presented its 2010 "It's Okay to Talk About It" grants to support peer to peer initiatives to encourage young people to confront their mental health challenges. The recipients were the Albany-based ClearView Center for its Insights program which is offered on five area college campuses and the Nassau County Mental Health Association for a new peer to peer outreach program.

The two $10,000 grants were formally announced and presented at the Mental Health Foundation's annual August Evening in Saratoga with more than 175 guests in attendance.

Former New York First Lady Matilda Cuomo, a Foundation board member, and first lady of Saratoga Marylou Whitney served as Honorary chairs for the event and greeted guests along with Mrs. Whitney's husband, John Hendrickson. The grant program developed from a suggestion by Whitney and Hendrickson two years ago to use the phrase "it's okay to talk about it" as a way to reach young people and help end stigma associated with mental health.

"We are truly grateful to Marylou and John for all of their support and suggestions," Cuomo said. "They inspire us and help us spread hope. We are thrilled and grateful that they grace our event year after year and help us deliver such an important message that there is no shame in mental disease."

"We are honored to receive this grant that will allow us continue our vital work on college campuses. We are giving students information about mental health, with the message that it really is OK to talk about mental illness. Students then spread the word, and seek out help when they need to. Everyone wins," said Dr. Dorothy Cucinelli, Executive Director of ClearView Center.

"The MHA of Nassau has utilized the strength of peer support to educate the community and to support people with mental illness and their families," said David Hymowitx Program Development Director for the Mental Health Association of Nassau County. "This wonderful grant from the Mental Health Foundation will now allow us to expand our services to young adults on college campuses."

The Mental Health Foundation's August Evening in Saratoga also featured Emmy-award winning actor and filmmaker Joe Pantoliano.

Pantoliano, a familiar face to anyone who has gone to the movies or watched television over the past generation, spoke candidly about his own struggles with brain disease and his efforts to found an organization call NKM2 (www.nkm2.org) dedicated to ending stigma - a mission that closely complements the Mental Health Foundation. His comments preceded a screening of portions of his acclaimed documentary, No Kidding, Me Too!

The Mental Health Foundation is focused on supporting educational efforts to improve understanding about mental disease and encouraging people to get the help they need.

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