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Stop the stigma: Free community presentation about mental illness and suicide prevention

Fergus Falls Daily Journal - 11/8/2023

Nov. 8—Although talking about mental health and taking action toward better self care is losing some of the stigma it used to hold, there is still work to be done. Having organizations and individuals that are willing to share their stories eases the feeling of loneliness and isolation for many who suffer in silence.

Educating people on signs to recognize when someone is struggling, how to help, where to turn to and giving permission to address mental health problems in open settings is so important. On Nov. 12, there will be a free public event held with speakers touching on addiction, suicide, mental illness, trauma and coping with it all when it feels too big to handle.

Presented by Duck Cup Memorial, mental health advocate Kristen, will be speaking about her experiences, struggles and overcoming some of the darkest days of her life.

Duck Cup Memorial is a non-profit organization formed in New Prague by the high school graduates from the class of 2000. After losing a close friend to suicide in 2001, the class was deeply impacted. Years later, in 2013, they started the journey of forming an organization to offer resources for mental health awareness and suicide prevention

Years of fundraising and hard work gave them the capability of expanding beyond just reaching local high school students in New Prague to sharing with students grades five-12 all across Minnesota and Iowa.

In 2022, they spoke to over 35,000 students, parents, teachers and community members sharing hope and educating audiences to end the stigma associated with mental illness. They give a passionate message about moving from crisis-based response to prevention through education.

As part of the program to be presented in Fergus Falls, a speaker from Minding Your Mind will be sharing her story. Kristen experienced significant trauma during her childhood and was never given the tools to know how to work through it. During her teen years she turned to substance abuse and negative coping skills to survive. Through treatment, hard work and self acceptance, she now aims to educate and equip others with the tools and skills she previously lacked.

On their website, Minding Your Mind states that they create experiences that open minds and show people they are not alone when they are struggling. The organization features young adult speakers who have successfully and productively coped with their mental health challenges as well as sharing their stories of hope, recovery and resilience. Steven H. Erlbaum and his wife, Amy, and Roger Harrison founded Minding Your Mind in 2007.

Join Kristen, Duck Cup Memorial, Minding Your Mind and the community of Fergus Falls at this important presentation. At Kennedy Secondary School auditorium, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., for the public and will also be presented to students at the high school on Nov. 13. Together we can stop the stigma.


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