National Empowerment Center press release

June 26, 2012, 2:16 p.m. EDT
National Empowerment Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Launches Visionary Community Dialogue Project

LAWRENCE, Mass., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Celebration to include a performance of Sick by acclaimed actress Elizabeth Kenny
On Thursday, July 12, 2012, the National Empowerment Center (NEC) will celebrate its 20th anniversary of work on recovery, peer-run services, and holistic alternatives for individuals who have emotional distress and mental health issues. The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Boston University Photonics Center, 8 St. Mary’s Street, Room 206, Boston, MA.
“Twenty years later, there is much to celebrate,” says Daniel B. Fisher, MD, PhD, executive director of NEC and a psychiatrist who himself recovered from schizophrenia. “Recovery from mental health issues is no longer a fringe notion. NEC, working with many people and organizations that share our vision and values, has been instrumental in promoting supports and services provided by people with lived experience of mental health issues.”

EC is proud to launch a visionary plan for the future, the “Community Dialogues for Recovery and Wellness” project, in close collaboration with the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Virgil Stucker, Board Chairman of the Foundation, states: “We are deeply honored by Dr. Fisher’s desire to work with us on this emerging mission and have established a Fund to help raise needed resources. We seek to attract the attention of private philanthropists who wish to join Dr. Fisher and by providing tax-deductible donations to this endeavor so that its success can be assured. Please email me at if you are willing to help.”

In this project, the principles of dialogue will be applied to strengthening relationships between individuals, improving outcomes, fostering collaboration between all health systems, and building more inclusive and wellness-oriented communities.

“The dialogue process has never been applied to mental health on a community-wide scale,” says Oryx Cohen, director of NEC’s Technical Assistance Center. “NEC has been piloting community dialogues within the mental health system for several years, but now wants to apply them to society at large.”

The 20th anniversary celebration will feature a performance of Sick, a one-woman show performed by critically acclaimed actress Elizabeth Kenny. Often hilarious, often heartbreaking, Sick chronicles Kenny’s real-life journey through a broken mental health system and the eventual recovery of her life and hope. For complete information, visit

Contact information:; Event Coordinator Judene Shelley, 978-685-1494.

SOURCE National Empowerment Center
Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

About “Sick”:

Elizabeth Kenny was a healthy thirty-two year-old woman who went to the doctor for a common ailment. A year and a half later, she was being escorted by hospital orderlies to a coffee shop along with the rest of the level 5 patients from the psych ward. “Sick” explores a patient’s two-year odyssey inside the most advanced healthcare system in the world — an odyssey that almost killed her. It investigates how treatment by well-meaning practitioners for a common gynecological issue plunged her into a downward spiral through the complex medical and mental health establishments.

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