Contact: Suzette Urbashich, Director, 262-719-0926.
(Oconomowoc, Wis.) Rogers InHealth, a key corporation of Rogers Behavioral Health System, has launched a new website – RogersInHealth.org – to help eliminate stigma through self-empowerment and illuminating recovery. Through brief, sharable video accounts on the site, Rogers InHealth offers stories of real people living with mental illness and what they found to be important in their recovery.
According to Co-directors Sue McKenzie, M.A., and Suzette Urbashich, M.S., false stereotypes lead some to discriminate (public stigma) and keep others from seeking needed treatment (self stigma). “We can help to change these stereotypes,” McKenzie said, “through videos of real stories of successful recovery and by sharing them with others through social media.”
Mental Illness… More Common Than You Might Think
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 in 4 adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, with nearly half of them experiencing onset by the age of 14. These statistics mandate the need for early intervention with effective treatment, yet more than half of all affected don’t get the necessary care. This is often due to stigma – which impacts healthcare, policy and funding decisions.
“The video stories on our website can help people see that mental health challenges occur among people just like you and me, and that – with a variety of effective recovery practices – satisfying and productive lifestyles are possible,” McKenzie said. “Many have already shared stories of recovery, and we will be adding more accounts as they are available. Through the videos, we offer specific insights and hope to people living with mental illness and to those who live, work and befriend them.”
Reducing Stigma as a Barrier to Treatment
Among those involved with Rogers InHealth is one of the nation’s top researchers in stigma reduction, Patrick W. Corrigan, PsyD, a distinguished professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Dr. Corrigan is the principal investigator of federally funded studies on rehabilitation, the stigma of mental illness and consumer operated services. He is also involved with the NIMH-supported National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment (NCSE).
“For years, we have talked about explaining brain diseases as a way to reduce stigma,” Dr. Corrigan said, “but we are seeing that it is best reduced by people getting to know other people who are living with these disorders. While we would like to be able to have face-to-face contact occur for everyone, reaching people through video stories like the ones Rogers InHealth has created offers promise to reach many more people, especially those who believe they must keep their challenges hidden from others. These videos illustrate that mental health issues AND recovery can happen for anyone.”
Urbashich and McKenzie agree. In fact, the Rogers InHealth tagline – “Illuminate. Empower. Mental Health.” – is centered on the belief that by shining a light on recovery through shared stories, they can amplify the voice of those living in recovery, invite all to take the next steps toward their own mental fitness, and challenge the false notions that lead to discrimination.
“Our goal is to have videos from people of all ages and walks of life who talk about a variety of mental health issues, thereby reducing the stigma that causes so many to remain in isolation,” Urbashich said. “Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chemical addiction, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disease, schizophrenia and others are common, and most people with these issues can find effective practices to support recovery. We want to illuminate these practices and show that people with these disorders are not only living satisfying lives but are supporting others to do the same.”
The site features two types of brief videos: individual stories as well as summaries of what has worked successfully for those moving from debilitating illness to living in recovery. The video library “What Works” section includes clips such as how Exposure Ritual Prevention (ERP) therapy helped with anxiety and the “Stories of Recovery” section includes stories such as a pediatrician who discusses parenting her child with OCD, recovery and fighting stigma. The video clips are also organized for those seeking insight into dealing with mental illness in the workplace and helping children who deal with mental health challenges such as anxiety at school. A blog, which features information by key supporters and researchers, and links to resources are also included.
A key corporation of Rogers Behavioral Health System, Rogers InHealth creates and distributes video stories of recovery to increase understanding, hope and supportive action by people with mental illness and addiction, their friends and family, professionals and the general public. Through key initiatives to promote effective stigma reduction practices, Rogers InHealth provides collaborative leadership in the quest to eliminate the stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination that make up the stigma of mental health. For more information, check www.rogersinhealth.org.