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Breaking the Barrier

The stigma of dealing with the effects of substance abuse and mental health issues can be just as daunting as the issues themselves. Stigma is even credited as a factor that contributes to the severity of the problem, and as an obstacle to recovery. As a part of Fulton County HOPE, we believe that art in whatever form it takes- can change the conversation and be a bridge between those struggling with recovery, and the communities they might feel alienated from.

It is our goal to create an art project related to substance use and mental health issues, and are inviting Creative Natives to help by putting their talents to the task. If you can sculpt, paint, write, dance, sing- or whatever- we can use your help. If your medium is digital art, video, photography, or something completely unique, we will be willing to accommodate your vision if you are willing to share it.

Individuals interested in participating are encouraged to produce their own work, or they can be paired with an artist who can bring their creative expressions to life. Art liaison Jessica Shafer will be enlisting a roster of professional artists who have enthusiastically volunteered to work on this project. These artists can be coaches, collaborators, editors, or contribute to the specific needs of the works in their various stages.

Initially, works will be unveiled and displayed at the Rochester Public Library (date TBD), and a few regional galleries have already expressed interest in exhibiting art that results from this project.

“Stigma is our biggest killer & a significant barrier to addressing addiction.”

— VADM Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. , Surgeon General of the U.S.

SAFE Project - Be SAFE

“Ending stigma in communities starts with treating addiction like a treatable disease rather than a moral failing. The disgrace and shame associated with addiction is the biggest barrier to treatment, and treatment saves lives.”

“The addiction epidemic is clouded by stigma, misinformation, and lack of knowledge that prevents those with substance use disorders from receiving help. The Be SAFE Campaign is taking on these issues by providing resources and spreading awareness through a nationwide informational campaign to educate American on all issues in the addiction epidemic.”

“Substance Use Disorder is a disease” signed centers for disease control, the American Medical Association, the United States Surgeon General, American Psychiatric College.

There is help, call Fulton County Hope for a list of treatment providers: (574)223-4357 or visit their website,

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