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Stigma Podcast

Where we fight stigma by sharing stories of experience, strength and hope for those struggling with addiction and mental health.

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What is the Purpose of
the Stigma Podcast?

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Stigma Kills

Stigma is the number 1 reason why people do not get help when they struggle with mental wellness, or addiction, and most people who struggle, never get help.

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Sharing Saves Lives

When we share our experiences, a virtuous cycle begins. Others are encouraged to share, and eventually, people feel comfortable asking for help.

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Fighting Stigma

Host Stephen Hays, talks with clinicians, entrepreneurs, every day people living in recovery about how mental health has impacted their life and the lives of their loved ones.


Making Mental Health a Priority Issue in The Election

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In our latest episode, I had the chance to speak with congressional candidate Lindsey Boylan.  She is a candidate for congress in NY’s 10th district.

I found myself getting emotional a few times during my conversation with her.   She has a very personal reason for pushing a mental health agenda as part of her campaign.  If you do nothing more than watch her short video on why mental health is such a big part of her platform here.

In this episode Lindsey explains how the people in her district are spending more time searching for things like mental health, depression and anxiety on Google, versus gun control, climate change and plumbers.  Not to diminish those other issues, but her constituents need a candidate who cares about what they care about.  Americans needs politicians who care about what we struggle with because they have experienced it personally.

Lindsey is a New Yorker, a lifelong public servant and has done some great work in her service efforts to help secure hundreds of millions of dollars for underfunded public housing in NY, she’s worked to generate job growth in NY state, and she was heavily involved in the fight for a $15 minimum wage in NY.

She is a Board Member at the Design Trust for Public Space, she is on the Powerhouse Committee at “Run for Something” which is a group that encourages young progressives to run for state and local office, and she spends time advocating for NAMI-NYC (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

You can connect with Lindsey Boylan and learn more about her work here:  Campaign Website, LinkedIn, ‘Mental Health is Personal’ Video, Twitter

Walk and Talk Therapy in NYC with Clay Cockrell

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In this episode Stephen Hays chats with Clay Cockrell.  Clay is a therapist in New York, NY and has gained quite a bit of notoriety for the medium through which he meets his clients.  He meets his clients for walks.  Clay started Walk and Talk Therapy in NYC after realizing many busy professionals simply don’t have time to transit to therapy sessions. 

Clay has been featured on numerous TV shows, and in many publications including Good Morning America, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and the NY Times for his unique approach of walking with his therapy clients instead of meeting in an office.

It is evident from our conversation that Clay is passionate about helping people navigate the complicated world of accessing mental health care.  His entire career has been focused on making therapy convenient.  He created The Online Counseling Directory – which connects qualified psychotherapists and life coaches with clients all over the world. 

Clay is also the host of the podcast “Finding Therapy” where he takes listeners through a step by step process of finding the right therapist and he hosts another podcast called “The Online Counseling Podcast” where he educates therapists on the ethical and effective ways to use technology to connect with clients.

You can connect with Clay Cockrell and learn more about his work here: Walk and Talk TherapyLinkedIn, OnlineCounseling.comPodcast: Finding Therapy, Podcast: Online Counseling.

Stigma, Discrimination, Recovery, and Politics

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In this episode Stephen Hays chats with Ryan Hampton about Ryan’s personal addiction journey that has led Ryan to the forefront of our national conversation on addiction and recovery. Ryan shares his story and talks about where we are as a country on combatting addiction, fostering recovery, and defeating stigma. Ryan really tells it how it is, and if you are at all concerned about how the government is dealing with (or not dealing with) drugs or addiction, you will feel better when you hear that Ryan is on our side (and when you hear what he’s doing).

Ryan is a former white house staffer (Clinton Administration) and is leading the national conversation about addiction and recovery. He is the author of the book, American Fix – Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis and How to End it. He’s also part of a team that released the first-ever U.S. Surgeon Generals Report on Addiction (2016) and has been called a “top social entrepreneur” by Forbes. He’s appeared on countless broadcasts on Fox News, CNN, NPR, HLN, and in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Vice, HuffPost and many other publications. He is an authoritative figure on addiction and recovery in America.

Ryan has been instrumental in getting addiction legislation drafted, and passed both in California, and at the Federal level including HR 4684, also known as “Tyler’s Law” or the “Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018.”

You can connect with Ryan Hampton and learn more about his work here: Ryan Hampton’s Website, Book: American Fix, Ryan’s Twitter,

PsyberGuide - 'Consumer Reports' for Mental Health Apps

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In this episode Stephen Hays chats with Dr. Stephen Schueller about the role of technology in treating people for mental health conditions as well as the landscape of existing technology solutions, and those that are yet to be built.

Dr. Schueller is an assistant professor of Psychological Science at the University of California in Irvine and he is also the Executive Director of PsyberGuide, which is a non-profit functioning as the ‘consumer reports’ agency of the mental health technology world. Dr. Schueller has a team of people who evaluate technological tools (such as apps, and other tools) used in the treatment and improvement of mental health.

You can connect with Dr. Stephen Schueller and learn more about his work here: Stephen’s Twitter, PsyberGuide Website, Stephen’s LinkedIn, Facebook (PsyberGuide), Press on Dr. Schueller

Let's Talk About Sex (Addiction)

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Stephen Hays sits down with Dr. Alexandra Katehakis to talk about sex addiction.  Dr. Katehakis is a pioneer in the study of sex addiction, and healthy sexual behavior. In this episode we talk about what sex addiction is, where it stems from, how to treat it, and how to know if you need help. It’s a provocative conversation on one of the most stigmatized addictions we face.

Dr. Katehakis is a Marriage Family Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist/Supervisor and Certified Sex Therapist/Supervisor, and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex in Los Angeles. Dr. Katehakis has extensive experience in working with a full spectrum of sexuality; from sexual addiction to sex therapy, as well as and problems of sexual desire and sexual dysfunction for individuals and couples. She has successfully facilitated the recovery of many sexually addicted individuals and assisted couples in revitalizing their sex lives.

She has written numerous books on the topics of sex addiction, erotic intelligence, the neurobiology of sex addiction, intimacy, and other topics related to this space.

You can connect with Dr. Katehakis and learn more about her work here: Twitter, Center for Healthy Sex, Her Books on Amazon, Her Books on Her Website

Suicidal Ideation and Self Harm - What to do When it's Your Child

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Stephen Hays had a raw, personal, and honest conversation with Robbie Millward about mental health, suicidal ideation, self-harm and how Robbie struggled with these things in his life, and what he’s done to overcome them. 

Robbie is a military veteran and now serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI in New Hampshire where he has taken part in drafting materials that guide how New Hampshire’s state level first responders handle mental health crisis situations.  Robbie has overcome a lot with respect to his own mental health and he has used that as a platform to help others. 

I was moved by Robbie’s story of his experience with thoughts of self-harm, how he has gotten help and the action plan he has in place to prevent any future self-harm.  He also shares about how his daughter has struggled with these thoughts as well and how he has worked with his daughter to overcome those struggles.  We go into detail on how to develop an action plan, what to look for and how to respond when a loved one is struggling with suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm.

You can connect with Robbie here: LinkedIn, Twitter, Website, Video of Robbie Telling His Story

If you are in a state of distress or emergency and need to talk to someone, never hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Opioid Addiction Prevention – with Yossuf Albanawi Founder of Pilleve

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In this episode Stephen Hays speaks with Yossuf Albanawi, co-founder of Opioid addiction solution, Pilleve.  Yossuf is a graduate of Wake Forest University, he is a fellow at the Halcyon Incubator in Washington DC.

This conversation is about the Opioid crisis.  This is such a huge problem in our society, and we need solutions faster than we are bringing them to market.  While there are traditional resources available for people once they become addicted, there are no solutions on the market focused on preventing addiction effectively. That’s the focus of Pilleve – to prevent addiction to Opioids while still allowing doctors to prescribe these drugs, when necessary, with reduced risk of addiction.

You can connect with Youssef and learn more about his work here: Pilleve Website, Yossuf on LinkedIn, Pilleve on Twitter,

Children’s Mental Health and the Role of Educators

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Children’s Mental Health and the Role of Educators

In this episode of the Stigma Podcast, Stephen Hays had a chance to speak with Mandy Froehlich.  Mandy is an educator, and personally, opens with us about overcoming PTSD, depression, and anxiety. 

Mandy is an experienced educator who leverages her professional experience, and her passion for learning, to teach, train, and inspire other teachers to renew their excitement for teaching, and re-engage with their profession in an innovative way.

Currently, she spends her time consulting school districts and post-secondary institutions on effective use of technology to support teaching, mental health support for educators, and how to create organizational change within educational institutions.

Mandy has published a couple of books.  The first was titled “The Fire Within: Lessons from defeat that have ignited a passion for learning” – where she discusses the idea of mental health awareness within schools. Her most recent book, titled, “Divergent EDU” is based on an organizational structure concept called “Hierarchy of Needs for Innovation and Divergent Thinking” which was developed to support teachers in innovative and divergent thinking.

Mandy is also the host of a podcast, called “Teacher’s Aid” – which focuses on provided social and emotional support for the very personal challenges that teachers face.

You can connect with Mandy and learn more about her work here: Her Website, Her Twitter, LinkedIn, Teacher’s Aid Podcast

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