NEW YORK, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a mental health survey
released today by United Way of New York City, more than half of all New York
City residents acknowledge that someone in their immediate family or extended
family suffers from mental illness. These findings and other statistics in
the survey indicate that mental illness is pervasive in New York City. It
also shows that the illness affects all areas of a person's life, including
A total of 500 people in New York City who have telephones were surveyed
for this study. Respondents based their answers on the definition that mental
illness is a health problem that disrupts a person's thinking, feelings, moods
and ability to relate to others.
"People with mental illness face barriers in the most basic areas of life:
employment, education, and recreation, health care and personal
relationships," said Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, senior vice president and chief
executive for agencies services at the United Way of New York City. "We have
identified mental illness as one of our critical targeted needs, that directly
affect people's ability to become and remain self-sufficient. The survey and
forum will enable us to continue to develop initiatives that will concentrate
on filling service gaps thus helping providers and caregivers all over this
The survey also found that more than two-thirds of New York City residents
feel that there is a bias towards mentally ill people preventing them from
receiving effective treatment. And, the survey shows that more than 83% of
New York City residents acknowledge that there is no more than two degrees of
separation between themselves and someone with mental illness. This means
that two-thirds of New Yorkers have experienced mental illness among their
family and friends, one-third of New Yorkers have experienced mental illness
in their immediate family and half of New Yorkers have experienced mental
illness in their families.
To address the findings in the survey and engage further discussion about
the results, United Way of New York City will assemble some of the leading
mental health experts in the city at a mental health forum on Thursday,
November 16. The forum, entitled "Two Degrees of Separation, Mental Health in
Everyday Life: Removing the Stigma" will be moderated by Bill Moyers,
Executive Editor at PBS.
The forum, an intimate conversation with Bill Moyers, will highlight the
impact of mental disabilities on families and individuals in New York City. It
will address service needs and opportunities, and provide direction for future
support in the area of mental health.
Dr. Nelba Chavez, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will
deliver the Keynote Address. The U.S. Government's highest ranking official
on mental health will address the national perspective on mental health and
highlight the programs and initiatives set forth by the federal government.
Dr. Chavez will also join a panel of distinguished experts, with each
presenter addressing a specific mental health issue. The panelists include:
-- Elsie del Campo, Deputy Commissioner for Program Services, New York
City Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Alcohol Services
-- Dr. Ann Sullivan, M.D., Regional Director of Psychiatry for the Queens
Health Network of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
-- Kenneth Dudek, Executive Director, Fountain House
-- Dr. Alan Siskind, President, Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health
In addition to the panelists, consumers will provide personal testimony
that will highlight their personal struggles with mental illness. Mario Rios
Pinot, a member of Fountain House since 1976, was diagnosed with paranoid
schizophrenia and has been hospitalized. He will describe his chronic bout
with mental illness and the way he is coping with the disease. Ira Minot,
Publisher of Mental Health News, was afflicted with a serious form of major
depression that basically destroyed everything in his life. Minot will
discuss the stigma attached to his illness and how it left him homeless and
penniless for 10 years. Minot will describe how he overcame the illness and
where his life is now.
The survey, which has a sample error of plus or minus 4.5%, was conducted
by telephone using CATI software and a random digit dialing method was used to
ensure that all New Yorkers with telephones had an equal chance of being in
the sample. Interviewing was conducted on weekdays between 5 PM and 9 PM, on
Saturdays between 11 AM and 6 PM and on Sundays between 1 PM and 6 PM.
Interviewing began on October 26 and concluded on November 5.
Last year, United Way of New York City's total revenue was $124 million
that supported more than 800 nonprofit health and human service organizations
helping people in every city neighborhood. Its network of agencies range from
large citywide organizations, such as local chapters of the American Red Cross
and the Salvation Army, to small grassroots organizations anchored in
inner-city neighborhoods such as the Miracle Makers of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and
the New York Asian Woman's Center located on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan.
UWNYC has one of the lowest administrative overheads of any major charity,
with more than 87 cents of every dollar contributed going to help people lead
self-sufficient and productive lives.
SOURCE United Way of New York City