Anti-Stigma Symposium at JJC Aims to Break Down Barriers, Misinformation about Mental Health

Community members are invited to spend a day learning about common stigmas and what can be done to reverse them at the Anti-Stigma Symposium at Joliet Junior College on April 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in J-Building on Main Campus.

The symposium will include several sessions throughout the day that will focus on mental health topics like police and stigma, domestic violence, addiction, music therapy, and more.  The goal of the event, which is largely organized and directed by students, is to help break down stigmas, defeat stereotypes and increase education and awareness of topics that are commonly misunderstood. The full schedule is listed below. anti stigma event

“People should come to learn a lot of different things about mental health issues,” said JJC student Victoria Goodman, one of the organizers. “Those who do come will leave with a better understanding of mental health issues and what they can do to find help or to provide support to others who are suffering.”

The part of the event Goodman says she is most excited about is the headlining speaker, rocker Garret Rapp of the band The Color Morale.

“The Color Morale is an internationally touring rock band from Rockford, Ill., and Garret Rapp is passionate about helping young people who struggle with a lot of issues such as depression, self-harm, suicide, sexual abuse and eating disorders,” she said. “We are so excited to have him be part of this event and bring even more awareness to these important issues.”

For more information on the Anti-Stigma Symposium or to RSVP, visit

Anti-Stigma Symposium Schedule of Events 

8 a.m. – Check In

8:30 a.m. – Welcome and Introductions

Cory Jones and Victoria Goodman

9 a.m. – Breakout Session 1

Corey Worden (Looking Within To Stop Fighting Stigma and Start Promoting Mental Health)

Doug France: “Wanted: Dead or Alive?” (Addiction)

Lori Smith-Okon (Disabilities)

Guardian Angel Community Services (Domestic Violence)

Paige Salomone (Self-Injury Behavior)

10 a.m. – Breakout Session 2

Joseph M. Roche (Mental Illness and Violence)

Denise Elsbree (Mental Health First Aid)

Alpha Delta Nu (Nursing Honor Society) (Mental Health in Adolescents)

Doug France (Meditation & Mindfulness)

Dr. Cecelia VanOver (Screening, Assessment, and Support Services for Adolescents)

11 a.m. – Breakout Session 3

Crystal Nero (Stories of Families Affected by Substance Abuse)

Michele Batara (Crisis Line: Helping People One Call at a Time)

Carolyn Khan (Coping with Stress)

Valerie Lentz (Autism Spectrum Disorders)

Kim Karlberg (“We Hate the Police”, Police & Stigma)

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Community Resource Fair and Lunch Break

Noon – A Walk in Her Shoes (Domestic Violence demonstration)

1 p.m. – Breakout Session 4

Amirrah Abou-Youssef (Domestic Violence: What Our Community Should Know)

Darren Newenhouse (The Neurobiology of Trauma)

Deirdre Croce (MI/MISA Benefits of Music and Music Therapy)

Marissa Munoz (Achieving an Online Bachelor’s in Psychology)

Veronica Josette (Successful Interactions with People with Hearing Impairments: The Journey to Cochlear Implants)

2 p.m. – Breakout Session 5

Darren Newenhouse (Bad Science in Modern Psychology)

Martha Villegas (Cultural Respect)

Shawn Douglas (Addiction & Recovery)

Chelsea Laliberte (Advocacy)

Doug France: “Wanted: Dead or Alive” (Addiction)

3 p.m. – Plenary Presentation

Garret Rapp: “You Can Still Lead a Positive Life with a Negative Mind” (The Color Morale) and Hope for the Day (Decreasing Stigma & Discrimination)

Concluding statements

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