Crow Wing Energized: Still stigma? Are you kidding me?
Stigma can show up in many ways including exclusion. Or you may tell someone living with a mental illness to toughen up or snap out of it. Or you may say nothing at all.
Did you know 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year?
Did you know 1 in 4 U.S. adults in Crow Wing County experience mental illness each year? Millions of people are affected by mental illness every year.
Make It OK reports, “Mental illnesses can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or income. Yet, people are not comfortable talking about mental illnesses and may delay seeking treatment or support because of stigma. The sooner people get treatment, the greater their chances of recovery.”
Stigma can show up in many ways including exclusion. Or you may tell someone living with a mental illness to toughen up or snap out of it. Or you may say nothing at all. Stigma has been around a long time. In fact, society has viewed mental illness as a sign of weakness even though we have learned more about how our brains work.
Why does this matter? Because people who have a mental illness may feel ashamed and they may not get the help or the treatment they need.
We can all do our part to stop stigma. We can talk to others; we can listen. We can find out what to say and what not to say. Instead of telling someone “it could be worse” or “just deal with it,” you can say, “Thanks for opening up to me” or “How can I help?”
You can become a voice against mental illness stigma. Crow Wing Energized is offering in-person two hour training to become a Make it OK Ambassador from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Essentia Health, St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
If you have the passion for reducing mental illness stigma in our community, this training is for you. You do not need to be an expert on mental illnesses; you just need to be someone who recognizes the need for increased understanding about mental illness and for creating caring conversations about mental illnesses. After this training, you will have the tools you need to lead presentations in our community.
Health Partners developed a new presentation regarding the stigma of mental illnesses including substance use disorder. During this presentation, you will learn about Make It OK. You will better understand the impact of stigma on mental illnesses, specifically related to substance use disorders and addiction, and how it interferes with recovery.
You will feel more comfortable and confident in talking openly about mental illnesses, including substance use disorders, such as what to say/not say, how to offer support, and what you can do to stop stigma. You will hear about resources and treatments to help people get the care and support they deserve. You can attend this in-person presentation from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, at Crow Wing County Land Services Building.
Peter VanDusartz is the director of behavioral health, St. Croix Valley at Health Partners, and is also the director and clinical supervisor for Programs for Change, substance use disorder treatment programs at Hudson, Westfields and Amery hospitals. In the past, he has worked as a psychologist in Minnesota, and is a licensed clinical social worker in Wisconsin providing counseling and mental health therapy. He has worked in the mental health and substance use disorder treatment fields for over 35 years. He will be leading both of these presentations.
1-3 p.m. April 27 — In-person ambassador training at Essentia/St. Joseph’s Medical Center – Thabes Room (use the main entrance, take the elevators to the basement and go through the cafeteria). The training is free, but registration is required: Make It OK Ambassador Training - Crow Wing Energized at bit.ly/3KtzbR9
5:30-7 p.m. April 27 — In-person presentation entitled Make It OK to Talk About Mental Illnesses and Substance Use Disorders. The presentation is free, but registration is required: Make It OK to Talk About Mental Illnesses and Substance Use Disorders - Crow Wing Energized at bit.ly/43mZKQv
Crow Wing Energized is a grassroots movement dedicated to improving the health and wellness of Crow Wing County residents through a focus on Healthy Choices, Mental Fitness, Workplace Wellness, and Community Connections. For more information about free resources, volunteering, classes and events, go to
The Dispatch partnered with Crow Wing Energized for a regular column to help motivate health and wellness in the community.