When someone is experiencing mental illness or mental health challenges, they are most likely to reach out for help when their school, faith community, or workplace is an open, safe place where they know they can find support, caring and understanding.

Yet too often communities of all kinds are silent. In their silence, they may unintentionally make people feel ashamed and isolated.

Shattering Stigma seeks to help parents, school districts, faith communities and other organizations open dialogues and create safe spaces around mental health and mental illness, increasing community and connection for those in their midst who are struggling with these issues. We seek to create that conversation both online and through Shattering Stigma events.

Since 2014, more than 1000 people have experienced¬†Shattering Stigma with Stories¬†events, powerful conferences designed to provide a deeper understanding of life with mental illness, as well as increased confidence in attendees’ abilities to respond compassionately and effectively to those who live with mental illness and their families or friends.

Shattering Stigma was the vision of founder and professional speaker Tara Rolstad, who found support and love in her community while she was helping to raise nieces with severe mental illness, an exhausting and scary journey for which no one could be prepared. As she began to share her story, Tara found too many around her were isolated, overwhelmed and unsure how to connect with their own communities about their own mental health challenges, or those of their families. Along with a team of other leaders and volunteers, the first Shattering Stigma conference was held in October of 2014 at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in Lake Oswego Oregon for more than 300 attendees. Since then, Tara has facilitated 8 more conferences in the greater Portland area, and now she works other communities and organizations to help them create their own Shattering Stigma experience.

For more info on Tara, including speaking, stand-up comedy (yep, she does that), or her book, “No, Really, We Want You to Laugh,” click here.