Brooklyn Community Services Produces Short Documentary Video "Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness"

Documentary "Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness" examines the challenges of living with a mental Illness and how to overcome the stigma to reach personal goals. Created through a grant by Human Services Council of New York and Measure of America.

Brooklyn, New York (PRWEB) February 15, 2017

Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness," a short subject documentary video produced by Brooklyn Community Services (BCS), spotlights the struggles and successes of Brooklynites who are living with mental illnesses and how they've overcome obstacles with assistance from BCS mental health programs.

"Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness" was created through the "Portraits of New York City: Small Grants Challenge" and sponsored by Human Services Council of New York and Measure of America with funding provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Grants of $10,000 were awarded to 14 New York City nonprofits, to enable them to illuminate, explore and offer solutions to local problems, using Measure of America's DATA2GO.NYC, a free, online data mapping and visualization tool.

"In this compelling documentary, our clients open up about the personal impact of mental illness," explained Marla Simpson, BCS's Executive Director. "For decades, BCS has been on the frontline in providing holistic services for people living with a mental illness in under served neighborhoods. We'd like to thank HSC, Measure of America and The Helmsley Charitable Trust for helping us give voice to our resilient clients."

In the video, Philip Johnson recalled his experience with undiagnosed schizophrenia. "Schizophrenia makes you lost." At BCS's PROS program, Johnson's magnetic personality earned him the nickname "Fabulous Phil." When Phil joined the public art project at Downtown Brooklyn's City Point last year the organizers decided to name the mural "Fabulous Phil" in his honor. "If you know something is bothering you or something is wrong—go seek help," Johnson stated. "Don't let mental illness control your body and your mind."

Former BCS client Thomas Torres, now a trained peer counselor at BCS, reminds clients that mental illness is treatable. Torres, diagnosed with schizophrenia, lives in Crown Heights, which – according to DATA2GO.NYC -- ranks 3rd among NYC communities for psychiatric hospitalizations. "I understand what it's like to be shunned, to be snubbed-- to be just ignored," Torres comments in the documentary. "I was afraid to tell my closest friends that I have a mental illness because I didn't know what they would think of me. I was afraid to lose friends and lose respect." At BCS, he helps clients stay goal-oriented. "Never let anybody stop you from reaching your goals because you have a disability. You can use that disability as a motivation."

BCS mental health programs focus on the needs of adults, teens and families in under served neighborhoods. Programs include: Brooklyn Community Services PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services), East New York Clubhouse, Transitional Living Community (women's shelter) and Youth Stand United for young people ages 16 to 21. BCS has also joined the statewide Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) initiative and New York City's ThriveNYC "Connections to Care" initiative, partnering with Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

"Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness" was produced and written by the Brooklyn Community Services External Relations and Advancement department. Please join Brooklyn Community Services on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.


About Brooklyn Community Services
Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) celebrates the strength of the human spirit, and in 2016, we celebrate our 150th Anniversary. Our mission is to empower at-risk children, youth and families, and adults with mental illness or developmental disabilities to overcome the obstacles they face, as we strive to ensure opportunity for all to learn, grow and contribute to ONE Brooklyn Community. To achieve this mission, we offer comprehensive and holistic services: early childhood education; youth development services and educationally rich after-school programs; counseling for at-risk families; treatment, recovery and job training to support the life goals of adults living with mental illness; person-centered rehabilitation and community living support for adults with developmental disabilities and disaster recovery case management and relief services. BCS also seeks to increase public awareness of the impacts of poverty on individuals and the community at-large. With a staff of over 500 and over 25 sites around the borough, BCS serves 13,000 people every year. Today, BCS is one of the longest serving nonprofit,non-sectarian social service providers in New York City. Visit

About HSC
The Human Services Council, a leading advocate for nonprofits providing human services, works to strengthen the ability of nonprofit agencies to maximize human potential in communities across New York. Nearly 200 nonprofit agencies throughout New York City and State are HSC members. Visit HSC at

About Measure of America
DATA2GO.NYC was created by Measure of America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy initiative of the Social Science Research Council. Our mission: to breathe life into numbers by providing easy-to-use yet methodologically sound tools for understanding well being and opportunity in America.Visit

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective organizations in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since beginning its active grant making in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $1.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley's New York City Regional Grants Program seeks to identify and solve specific problems that hinder the region's ability to assist populations in need. For more information on Helmsley and its programs, visit

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