Transforming Stigma™ Leads to Suicide PreventionMy name is Mike Veny and I am the founder of Transforming Stigma™. As a person who struggles with mental health challenges on a daily basis, I am committed to sharing my experience with you and let you know that it's okay to just be you. In fact, I believe that your mental health challenges are your genius in disguise. As part of my recovery and work, I am a mental health speaker at mental health events throughout the world. Sharing my story and feeling vulnerable never gets easier, but I know that I am helping people who are like me. This is why I do it.
What is Stigma?Stigma is when you are labeled or judged due to perception about your illness or disabilities. It’s often seen as a mark of disgrace. People judge you and believe negative stereotypes about you because they think you’re different. This often causes them to avoid, reject, and discriminate against you. Stigma also exists when you judge yourself, believe negative things about yourself, and feel ashamed because you think you are different than everyone else.
The Stigma CycleTM
“Mike received the highest marks of all the panelists in the conference surveys, garnering an average rating of 4.81 (out of a possible 5). The only complaint was that we did not give him enough time. ” Matt Shapiro - Development and Events Coordinator, NAMI New York State
“After more than 10 years of coordinating conference speakers and keynoters, Mike was refreshingly easy to work with and flexible enough to structure his program to deliver exactly what we needed. Carla Falkenstein - Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
“Mike Veny has an innate ability to connect with people, draw them out, and get them to participate. This is not an easy task when you are responsible for closing a two and a half day conference on a Friday.” MaryBeth Schneider - Assistant Executive Director for Training and Self-Advocacy, NYSARC
“I look forward to working with Mike not only because he was a great speaker, but also because he took the time after his speech to talk, connect, and have fun with your youth. He is a great role model for any youth who is struggling with mental health issues. Kelly Giuliani - Reach Out Centre for Kids, Canada
“Mike's ability to connect with students is a talent that very few adults have. His ability to address a group of 200 students and have them engaged for well over an hour shows just how deep his talent runs.” Jesicah Rolapp - Principal, Los Angeles Leadership Academy
“We were honored to have Mike share how he has overcome many obstacles regarding his own mental health. The youth in attendance truly related to Mike’s story, and his positive way of presenting excited both the parents and youth!” Jean Houstion - Families Connected of Clermont County
“Mike's enthusiastic personality and professional demeanor helped him earn the respect of many teenagers that normally have a negative attitude towards school. He was successful in engaging groups of anywhere between 24 and 100 students for a period of one hour. Jenny Goldberg - Executive Director of Everybody Deserves Music at the Los Angeles Leadership Academy
“Mike Veny participated in our 2013 community mental health awareness conference and was nothing short of outstanding. I believe his candor, humor, and transparency are applicable in a variety of corporate and community settings.” Sophie Clark - Executive Director, NAMI Washington, DC