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Sat, Jan. 18

Local workshop gives insight to mental illness

There is no denying it. There remains a stigma about sharing you have a mental health challenge. Whether that challenge is a serious mental illness or a passing depression as a result of a life trauma, it may not make a difference. However, compared to a decade or two ago, the general public is much more educated about mental illness and its being a chemical imbalance in the brain. While strides to reduce stigma have been made, educational efforts must continue. This is the backdrop for the creation of Arizona's Sigma Reduction Committee. This group is hosting free presentations throughout the state referred to as "Mental Health: Everyone Has It." The title alone causes one to pause and think; it reminds us that the mind and body are inseparable when considering one's total health.

Prescott-area residents have the opportunity to attend a local presentation and discussion, on Thursday, May 26, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, Prescott. The presenter will share personal experiences as a person who lives, works and succeeds with mental illness. The purpose of the free event is to provide the public with mental health facts, to discuss the negative affects stigma can have on people with behavioral health challenges and their families, and to outline the steps everyone can take to reduce stigma in their community. The Prescott "Mental Health: Everyone Has It" presentation is hosted by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

If you cannot attend this free presentation, here are a few "Do's" to keep in mind related to helping reduce stigma:

Do use respectful language such as:

• Person who has schizophrenia

• Person with a psychiatric disability

• Person with bipolar disorder

Do emphasize abilities, not limitations.

Do tell someone if they express a stigmatizing attitude.

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