BCC Professor Featured On Podcast

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College's Pam Coley McCann is featured in a new podcast  
Meghan St. John, creator of a new podcast called Speak Little Forest, recently delved into the topic of maintaining mental health with Pam Coley McCann, a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in the Berkshires and Associate Professor of Human Services at Berkshire Community College (BCC). 
The episode, titled "Hope for Hard Times," can be found at www.speaklittleforest.com
"Pam and I talked about a variety of subjects, all connected to mental health and our special Berkshire community," St. John said. "She brought something really positive to the table that I had never really heard of before." 
According to a press release, Despite the fact that poverty, addiction, and other mental health stressors are on the rise in the Berkshires — even more so during the pandemic — Coley McCann sees hope for her clients and students. Specializing in individuals with severe mental illness, she is most inspired by post traumatic growth theory, which holds the premise that certain people who survive mental or physical trauma can change in unexpected, positive ways. 
"People with severe mental illness are just people. They have hopes and dreams like everybody else," she said. "Post traumatic growth is about people changing in ways that they didn't anticipate, by finding new things that are meaningful to them."  
Stigma remains a barrier for people with mental illness, both in terms of recognizing their problems and seeking treatment, noted Coley McCann, who focuses her work not just on symptom management, but also on recovery. 
"It's about bridging the gap between having a severe mental illness and learning to live with that," she said. 
"I'm always amazed at what human beings can endure, and how they can turn that pain into really beautiful strength," Coley McCann said.  
In addition to the episode featuring Coley McCann, the Speak Little Forest podcast spotlights Kripalu Executive Chef Jeremy Rock Smith, Balderdash winery owners Christian and Donna Hanson, Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington, and Westfield State University Associate Professor of Environmental Science John McDonald, a black bear expert. 

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Berkshire NAACP President Reflects on Juneteenth Origins, Plans Rally

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Juneteenth was celebrated Saturday for the first time as a local, state, and national holiday.  
The city of Pittsfield added the holiday to its municipal roster in May, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday last July, and President Biden signed a bill making it a national holiday on Thursday.
Berkshire NAACP President Dennis Powell spoke to iBerkshires about the origins of the date and its implications in modern-day society.
Though he is glad to see it adopted nationally, Powell expressed mixed feelings about Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery and has been celebrated in some parts of the country as Emancipation Day.  
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