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The Stay Strong Foundation Launches National 'Healing Starts With US' Campaign With Celebrity Guests Denzel Washington, Ruby Dee, Mo'Nique, Terry McMillan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Others
Date:3/13/2008

Campaign Seeks One Million Pledges in Support of Movement and Encourages

Open Dialogue Within The Community

NEW YORK, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Stay Strong Foundation unveiled its plan today to launch a national campaign entitled "Healing Starts With Us." On the heels of Terrie M. Williams' latest book, BLACK PAIN: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, emerges a powerful movement aimed to provide a support network that encourages open dialogue about emotional distress within the African American community. The "Healing Starts With Us" campaign kicks off at The Malcolm X & Dr Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center, formerly known as the Audubon Ballroom, on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 from 6-8 pm.

The impetus of Williams' book, which fuels the campaign, came in 2005 after she shared her own personal battle with depression in ESSENCE magazine. With over 10,000 letters from people relieved to speak about their pain for the first time, the urgency to educate, bring awareness and transform the lives of individuals who suffer through episodes of emotional distress became an urgent call to action.

There is a stigma of shame related to mental health issues in Black and Hispanic communities. "This taboo topic," says Williams, "is linked to most street violence, drug/alcohol abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse as well as physical health problems such as obesity and heart disease. We're afraid to talk to a therapist-we're afraid to talk to each other and the silence is killing us. According to the World Health Organization Report on Mental Illness, by the year 2020, depression is projected to become the second largest killer in America behind heart disease. Ultimately this work helps us to recognize what depression looks, feels and sounds like and offers solutions."

"When you know better, you do better. The 'Healing Starts With Us' campaign was created as an 'open book' to encourage people to share the
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SOURCE The Stay Strong Foundation
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