NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Passionately Calls for De-Stigmatization of Mental Illness at OHEL’S Annual Legislative Breakfast


ohelBy Derek Saker

[Video here.] NYC Firstly Lady Chirlane McCray headlined OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services annual Legislative Breakfast hosted by Jeffrey Wiesenfeld of AllianceBernstein L.P., and thanked OHEL for “building a healthier New York” through its many mental health programs and services.

Drawing on moving personal testimony of the challenges once faced by her own daughter, the First Lady spoke powerfully about the need to further breakdown the stigma of mental illness in the community, so as to encourage individuals to be more proactive in getting the necessary help they need. Ms. McCray emphasized that getting good professional support at times means relying on the advice of experts that you don’t necessarily know, but need to trust.

Forefront on the minds of many was the recent Brooklyn fire tragedy, where in the aftermath OHEL’S Crisis Response Team has been tirelessly providing help and support to hundreds of children, families, schools and the wider community.

Dr. Norman Blumenthal, OHEL’s Director of Trauma, Bereavement and Crisis Response, together with OHEL Co-president Moishe Hellman and OHEL Board members in attendance, honored FDNY Chief of Department, James E. Leonard, in recognition of the heroic actions of firefighters.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler who also praised OHEL’S work, and decried any proposed budget cuts that would impact the critical social services that OHEL and others provide to the most vulnerable in the community.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson spoke movingly about his visit to Mr. Sassoon after the fire tragedy and applauded OHEL’s Trauma work in the community.

Members of the City Council who commended OHEL’S work in the community included Councilmembers Mark Weprin, Rory Lancman, Andrew Cohen and David Greenfield who spoke of his and the City Councils support of OHEL’S newly planned campus in Flatbush.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James commented personally on the warm words of community support delivered by OHEL’S Dr. Norman Blumenthal, at a recent community-wide Fire Safety Training & Trauma Support evening organized by Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

Watch the video here.

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