MentalOn October 4, about 50 students joined psychology professor Jennifer Merrill for a presentation aimed at reducing stigma surrounding mental illness. The information was presented by Joe Balabis of San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and was the first in a series of four presentations all designed to call attention to stigma and its consequences. This is a topic of great importance as research indicates that 25% of Americans will meet diagnostic criteria for a psychological disorder over the course of their lifetime. However, various factors – stigma being a big one – may prevent a person from seeking treatment.

The second event will be held Friday, 10/11, from 11:10am-12:00pm in room 4180. During this time students enrolled in Abnormal Psychology will display posters depicting different ways a specific population may view mental illness.

The third event will consist of a panel of individuals who have either been diagnosed with a psychological disorder or have a family member with a disorder. The panel will discuss the effects of stigma as well personal experiences with disorders. This discussion will take place Friday, 10/18, from 12:30pm-1:30pm in room 4180.

The last presentation will be given by Joe Balabis and Dr. Jei Africa, both from San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and will focus on providing specific strategies designed to reduce stigma. This presentation will be Friday, Oct 25 from 12:30pm-1:30pm in room 4180.

These events are open to the campus and we’d love to have you join us. Extra credit slips and light refreshments are provided.

Many thanks to the Disability Resource Center and Psychological Services for their collaboration in these events.

Article by Professor Jennifer Merrill, Photos by Raul Guerra.