“For many of our consumers, managing their mental illness is difficult enough without having to worry about shelter or where they are getting their next meal. Public assistance programs are vital to ensuring our consumer long term success and that their mental health symptoms aren’t exacerbated by these stressors.”

– Christopher Emerson, Program Coordinator Essex County

Many individuals with disabilities rely on public assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) and affordable housing in order to stay safe and see progress in achieving their goals. Recent threats to these programs leave those people in dire circumstances with only unhealthy and unsafe daily living options to chose from.

Many people are forced to choose between affording housing or paying for their mental health medications. Or they may only be able to afford foods that are unhealthy and lead them to develop high-blood pressure or diabetes – increasing their stress and endangering their lives. With these programs properly funded, however, we have seen many of our program participants see success and live full, productive lives. These these programs and those who rely on them are unfairly stigmatized, particularly when they are struggling to manage a serious mental illness. This stigma leads legislators to underfund these programs. We have seen many of those we serve see success and live full, productive lives thanks, in part, to these programs. This is why we want to work with you so everyone can get on the other side of this stigma so real change can be made possible.

So what can you do to make so that we ALL arrive on the other side of stigma?

You can follow us on social media and share our anti-stigma and success story posts to help educate others about public assistance programs and the purpose they serve.


When you give people food security, they are able to focus on improving other areas of their life:

“When looking at the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which serves as an indicator of economic well-being, SNAP lifted 4.6 million people out of poverty in 2015.”1

“SNAP participation reduced the overall fraction of households that were food insecure and the fraction that were very low food secure by around 17 percent and 19 percent, respectively.”1


“Over 17 million households eligible for federal rental assistance do not receive it due to limited funding”2

“Housing costs may also compel families to live in housing or neighborhoods that are rife with health and safety risks. These consequences can contribute to “toxic stress” and other mental health conditions”2