Challenging Stigma forum to cover mental, physical health issues

By |2018-01-15T21:48:34-05:00March 12th, 2009|News|

A panel discussion and community forum, “Challenging Stigma” will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 19 at Affirmations community center in Ferndale. It will be co-presented by Affirmations and Community Network Services.
The event will focus on mental health issues and the stigma associated with the health concerns caused by discrimination, including gender roles, mental health and HIV/AIDS. The desire to address these complex subjects was the driving force that made Community Network Services’ Anti-Stigma Program, in partnership with Affirmations, organize this event.
Community Network Services is a non-profit agency that provies mental health and social services to adults in Oakland County. The CNS Anti-Stigma Program began in 2005, and has since provided mental health sensitivity and awareness education to over 8,000 people in Michigan. The program has brought to light the stories, struggles and triumphs of those who have been affected by mental illness.
Over the past three years, the program has receives numerous local and national awards for their exemplary work and dedication to eradicating stigma.
The panel discussion will cover topics such as, mental health stigma, gender-based stigma, HIV and the law, and encouraging others on how to be an ally with those who are affected by stigma every day. The panel will be moderated by London Bell of Affirmations.
The featured guest speakers will include Kofi Adoma, PhD, who will be speaking about stigma surrounding mental health issues. Kendra Kleber, JD, who specializes in assisting persons with HIV challenges, will discuss stigma as it relates to HIV, focusing on strategies for dealing with discrimination. Amy Yashinsky, LLMSW, will speak about gender roles and the connections between shame and stigma associated with stepping outside traditional roles. Louis Elias, will share his personal story with stigma. Ellen Chute, LMSW, ACSW of Jewish Family Service will help facilitate community discussion.
The community forum will also offer insights on what it means to be an ally and how supporters can take on this role within their own communities. There will also be time allowed for questions and discussion from the audience.
Light refreshments will be served.
“Challenging Stigma” is free and open to the public but reservations are requested. Go to to reserve your seat or call Margaret Thele at 248-409-4228.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.