Mental Illness Stigma Panel
The Mental Illness Stigma Panel is an annual panel of speakers who talk to the truth of what it is to have a mental illness, be related to, and be friend of someone with a mental illness. In general the mission of this panel is to disperse the stigma attached to mental illness. As you may or may not know there is a derogatory misconception of what it means to have a diagnosis of having a mental health condition. This panel is designed to show more of the truth about mental illness and therefore create a more understanding environment for those that are either diagnosed or have close relations with someone that is.
Recently we had our second annual Stigma Panel which featured Kitty Dukakis and, the first annual panel had Steve Lappen of the Depression and Bipolar Support Association of Boston as the featured speaker. It is my intention to have the Third Annual Stigma Panel on November 4th, 2010. The space has been reserved and planning is going smoothly.
We have three speakers lined up presenting from three different viewpoints. Stephanie L. Pinder-Amaker of Harvard Medical School will be speaking for the professional viewpoint, Hai Vanhong, a student here at UMass – Boston, will speak from the viewpoint of being a friend of someone with a mental health condition, and a member of the Bipolar and Depression Support Alliance will speak from the viewpoint of someone that has a condition.
In the past we have had a decent turnout of about 80 individuals. With about a 1/8 of them being graduate students. It is my intent to further expand our contact with the graduate students and make this population more knowledge about the truths behind mental illness.