Sue McKenzie, Rogers InHealth

    Sue McKenzie and her colleagues at Rogers InHealth in Oconomowoc undertake an incredible mission in their day-to-day work. Rogers InHealth, led by McKenzie, seeks to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness by sharing stories of recovery and hope.

    “Our goal is to promote accessible education and advocacy resources by sharing the stories of people who have lived with a mental illness,” said McKenzie, co-director. “These stories of fear, rejection and even discrimination bring awareness to the issue and educate people on the reality of mental illness.”

    The stories, told through video interviews, help the organization change attitudes and beliefs about mental illness. They highlight the path to recovery and offer hope, she said.

    In 2012, Rogers InHealth brought together more than 40 individuals from several statewide organizations to discuss the impact of the stigma in different sectors throughout the state. As a result, Rogers InHealth founded the Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination, a statewide coalition of organizations and individuals that promote inclusion and support for those affected by mental illness.

    The goal of the organization is to teach methods to reduce and eliminate the stigma by presenting the importance of utilizing the personal story and providing tools to assist in decision-making about disclosing mental illness.

    “We talk about stigma as a public stigma and as a self-stigma,” she said. “There are so many ideas, beliefs and behaviors in the community, and in patients suffering from mental illness, that are based on false notions.”

    The embarrassment associated with accessing mental health services is one of the barriers that causes people to hide their symptoms and prevents any necessary treatment, she said.

    Rogers InHealth works closely with people who may be suffering from a mental illness to overcome any self-stigma they may have and seek help.

    “Through the stories of others, and inclusion, we offer hope,” McKenzie said.

    Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

    Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

    No posts to display