"The feedback we received was highly positive in terms of his ability to engage and inspire the students, and in fact, out of all the speakers, Mike received a standing ovation from the audience. Shortly after the Youth Summit Event, we also hosted a drum circle, which Mike led as part of team building event for our staff during Mental Health Awareness Week. The staff also provided excellent positive feedback on Mike and his abilities to engage, motivate and facilitate a great and fun time for all participants."
Marie Hoy, Chief Operations Officer, Canadian Mental Health Association - Halton Region Branch
2014 CEO Conference: The Key to Overcoming Challenges
Transforming Stigma™ Leads to Suicide Prevention
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
- Stigma starts with shame.
- Shame leads to silence.
- Silence leads to self-destructive behavior and suicide.
- The process repeats and it becomes an endless, downward spiral.
“You have to intentionally have the uncomfortable conversation.”
Mike's definition of mental health is your collective thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Ironically, the stigma surrounding mental health can exist in a person thoughts, feelings, and or behavior.
Stereotypes are related to a person’s thoughts; prejudice has to do with a person’s feelings; and discrimination has to do with a person’s behavior.
“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