For more information on bringing Shattering Stigma founder Tara Rolstad to your event, check out her professional speaking site at TaraRolstad.com. She’d love to join you!
- how communities can nurture healthy environments that are open about mental health;
- her experiences as a parent and family member of teens and young adults living with mental illness;
- the role of faith in coping with challenges such as mental illness.
Nothing prepared Tara Rolstad for the shocking surprises she faced as foster mom to a teenage niece with severe mental illness. Navigating suicide attempts, hospitalizations and lengthy residential treatment stays thrust Tara into trial-by-fire situations not covered in any conventional parenting book or stay-at-home-mom manual. Eventually, she realized that while she was, in fact, a terrible housekeeper she was a pretty great advocate.
After years in the trenches of serious mental illness, Tara became passionate about changing the way we (don’t) talk about mental health, bringing this tough topic into the open amd making sure no one struggles in silence. She founded the conference events Shattering Stigma with Stories: Understanding Mental Health, which she brings to school communities and faith communities through this site, and speaks to businesses, conferences and organizations.
In addition, Tara performs stand-up comedy with Mental Health at the Mic, and has performed stand-up comedy for crowds of more than 300 (and awkwardly once for a conference room of 9).
Tara’s comedy is clean, hilarious and slightly nerdy. (Science, NPR and parenting, anyone?) She began doing stand-up comedy a few years ago as part of a program called Stand Up for Mental Health. Since then, she has emceed fundraisers and performed around the Portland area at fundraisers, meetings and conventions. She has also helped facilitate additional comedy classes for people living with mental health challenges and their family members for Stand Up for Mental Health Oregon, along with her comedy partner Dave Mowry. She and Dave co-wrote a book called “No, Really, We Want You to Laugh” on the transformational experience of performing comedy, sharing their stories and those of some of the comics they have trained.
Now as a speaker, comic and writer she gives voice to the experiences of those who live with mental illness and their exhausted family members. Tara lives in the Portland, Oregon suburbs with her husband David and their three boys, all of whom are hilarious.