Replace labels with love

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scott3Every once in awhile I meet someone who reminds me that the advocacy movement for children's mental health is in good hands with the up and coming generation. This past week, while walking through the lobby of the hotel where the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health conference was being held, a young man named Wilton Johnson approached me and asked if I would pose for a picture holding a sign that said "Replace labels with love." He clearly knew the quickest way to my heart. The unfortunate stigmatizing labeling of the past has roared back with a vengeance on the coattails of the buzz around mental health reform in the halls of Congress. I am all for anything that helps stem the cancerous tide of stigmatizing language!

wiltonWilton Johnson is a dynamo, pure and simple, and we need more people like him. The campaign that he is promoting, "Replace Labels with Love," is an Anti-Stigma Campaign launched in May of 2015 by M.O.V.E. Wisconsin during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. The premise behind the campaign is to remind people that labels put people in boxes and dismiss capabilities. Love empowers and promotes growth because everyone needs to be loved and not labeled. By replacing labels with love, we are reminding our community to use first person language when engaging and interacting with other members of our community.

move2Sounds pretty darned good to me. Contact MOVE Wisconsin to learn more about their efforts and maybe even score a cool button like I did!

Want to learn more about Wilton Johnson?
You can start by watching this video of a speech by Wilton Johnson from the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminar in February 2015. As well, read the article by Jabril Faraj of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, on Mr. Johnson's participation in an innovative housing program for homeless young adults:

Well, Network faithful, was I right about Wilton? We are indeed in good hands. We are fortunate to have a host of young adults like Wilton Johnson doing strong advocacy work across America. Take a moment to celebrate the Wilton Johnson in your life and let them know that you appreciate what they do.

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Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network


  1. George Patrin's avatar
    George Patrin
    | Permalink
    Strong work, Wilton! Thank you persevering through the years and turning your resilience into hope for others.

    I strongly recommend you write to my good friend and colleague, Dr. Patch Adams, about your project. (You may have heard of Patch through the movie "Patch" where he was played by Robin Williams.) We had Patch as keynote speaker for a crisis center training conference in Austin TX in 2013. His talk was entitled "Why not try love." See his YouTube talk "Love Strategies" at He has said "You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you'll win, no matter what the outcome." On his website ( he says "We love our patients and our patients love us. I am a Doctor, but above all else I consider myself an activist for peace, justice and care for all people." You can write him at Patch Adams MD, Gesundheit! Institute, 122 Franklin St., PO BOX 307, Urbana, IL 61801. He tells every audience he answers every piece of mail, personally...and is caught up. You are on similar paths...and I'm on it with you.
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