B-2: Benevolent Ageism with the Mental Health Players

NAB; NJ-LNHA Ethics; HCBS TRACT; HUD; HUD RSC  – 1 Hour | Tuesday, June 4th 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm 

Session Description:

Ageism occurs when people face stereotypes, prejudice, or discrimination because of their age. Benevolent ageism occurs when folks make the inaccurate assumption that older adults are a homogenous group and thus have the same needs. In this demonstration, the New Jersey Mental Health Players present: Benevolent Ageism “They Treat Me Like I’m Old & Stupid,” a program designed to increase education and awareness, decrease stigma and break the silence often associated around topics like ageism and racism and mental health.

Learning Objectives:

Demonstrate of the cognitive dissonance associated with benevolent ageism and service delivery.

Demonstrate practical applications to improve on-going communications.

Discuss strategies to improve positive outcomes in service delivery.


Lynette Sheard, Director of the NJ Mental Health Players, Community Education Coordinator – Mental Health Association in NJ

Lynette Sheard is a Community Education Coordinator at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey and the Director of the NJ Mental Health Players, which is a highly successful, interactive community education program. These presentations provide audiences with a dynamic way to receive basic education about mental illness, addiction, and other relevant challenges. The mission of this art and advocacy program is to increase education and awareness, decrease stigma and break the silence often associated with mental health. She is uniquely qualified, as she combines her skills as a professional performer, producer, and director with her passion for advocacy. Lynette Sheard is a sought-after award-winning facilitator and staff development trainer who utilizes multi-module creative techniques to educate the community at large. Audience’s include community and corporate conferences, non-profit, seminars, elementary, high school, colleges/universities, social service agencies, hospitals, state, and federal agencies. She has worked with the Mental Health Association for over 22 years as a senior employment specialist, job coach, and a staff development trainer. She was awarded Professional of the year by the Association of Persons with Supported Employment – for her work with individuals with disabilities and mental illness. She is certified by Mental Health America as a trainer of Mental Health First Aid for adults, older adults, and youth. In addition, she is certified in Suicide Prevention, Psychiatric Advance Directives, and trauma informed care. The New Jersey Mental Health Player under her leadership has been awarded to 2022 Innovative Program of the Year award by Mental Health America.