I am a mother and a caregiver of a loved one who has been dealing with Psychiatric Illness since the age of nine.

I created the “NO STIGMA” Support Group with assistance from my good friend Susan Reese, when I noticed that there was nothing available for my child to attend after my child graduated from high school, received his Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout of USA, and turned the magic age of 18.   It almost seemed as if my child was being pulled into this “giant dark hole”.

My child tried to attend some of the other support groups available, but none seemed to work out for my child or meet my child’s “young adult” needs.  When checking with other young adults they all seemed to have the same response: “we want a support group that is peer run, facilitated by a caregiver who understands where we are coming from and who can bring us back on track when we do go off track, where we can be ourselves with our own body language, expression, ideas and thoughts.  Where we are not limited to what we can say and how we say it.”

Each one of the members in the support group has a vision to be independent and live a healthy, happy and productive life.  The young adults are either in school, finished a vocational training, working, or looking to go back to school.  Young adults are making responsible, sensible life decision for themselves.  Each one of the young adults is remarkable in his or her own way.  Hence, The Birth of NSN.

NSN was my dream, my hope, my wish where taking “no” or “I can’t” for an answer is not an option but “yes” and ‘I can” and “I will” is THE acceptable option.  My vision was focusing on assisting young adults who battle the challenges of mental illness, and who have the desire to be productive, happy, healthy, and independent members of their society, and of their culture, through support, education, outreach, and advocacy.

This dream became more pressing when I was approached by three young ladies with the same idea and suggested the support group be named “No Stigma” since “we are constantly being stamped for our illness and yet all we want is to have a normal life.”  NSN was established on November 4, 2009; simply as a self-help support group for young adults, ages 18 to 25.

Today, six years later, a simple support group is now a New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation, 501(c)(3) tax exempt, small organization, simply re-named as No Stigma Network, Inc.

My focus on NSN is lived through the heart and soul of my child and every child who battles this illness. My name is Shrabanee Shah and I am the founder of NSN…