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News : Health Jan 15, 2014 - 8:51:14 AM

“Stop the Stigma” of Mental Illness – The Theme for Hartford Hospital’s 2014 Black & Red Fundraising Gala

By Hartford Hospital

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Hartford, CT - Hartford Hospital is kicking off a campaign to end the stigma of mental illness at the annual Black & Red gala on January 25th, 2014 at The Bushnell. The goal is to obtain 5,000 individual pledges, spreading the message that changing attitudes can begin to change minds.

Harold (Hank) Schwartz, M.D., Hartford HealthCare Regional Vice President, Psychiatrist-in-Chief Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital, says for some people, a mental illness may be a lifelong condition, like diabetes. “However, as with diabetes, proper treatment enables many people with a mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives. By helping combat the stigma associated with mental illness, we can help increase the number of people that seek treatment.”

Proceeds raised at this year’s Black & Red will benefit the Institute of Living (IOL) at Hartford Hospital. The IOL will be better able to respond to this national call to action with improved access to mental health care for adolescents and young adults – a critical need not only in Connecticut, but throughout the nation. Support will help carry out critically needed research, offer increased services and treatments, and provide much needed education to those impacted by mental illness.

The annual gala will feature entertainment by Barenaked Ladies, winner of two American Billboard Music Awards and two Grammy nominations. “We are honored to have the star power of Barenaked Ladies perform at our gala this year,” said Jeffrey Flaks, EVP & Chief Operating Officer Hartford HealthCare. “What better way to help launch this vital initiative surrounding the stigma of mental illness. It’s a goal we are committed to across the entire Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.”

Those wishing to take the pledge will sign their name to the following:

I pledge:
To teach by sharing my own experiences with mental illness and encouraging others to share their stories with me; I will learn in order to change.

I pledge:
To show compassion by reaching out to those in need of help; I will not let anyone suffer in silence.

I pledge:
To have the courage to speak up and challenge stereotypes and attitudes; I will not tolerate or perpetuate stigma.

I pledge:
To demand a change in how we view and address mental illness; I will help lead the way.

“We will be looking to our employees of Hartford Hospital and across the Hartford HealthCare system to take the pledge. As a healthcare leader in the community and the state, it is our duty to set the example and stop the stigma associated with mental illness. Together, we can do it,” said Stuart Markowitz, M.D., President Hartford Hospital and Hartford Region, Senior Vice President Hartford HealthCare.

Last year, over $1,000,000 in net proceeds was raised at the Black & Red gala for Hartford Hospital’s transplant services.

For more information about the 2014 Black & Red event visit: or “Stop the Stigma” campaign go to:

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