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Panel discussion Saturday to address stigma of mental illness

Mental illness is difficult enough to deal with, but social stigma associated with it compounds the problem, according to Tiara Jackson, co-owner of Beauty Starts Within Cosmetics in downtown Homewood.

BSW, in partnership with NoStigmas, a nonprofit support network for people experiencing mental illnesses, will host a panel discussion from 3 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Homewood Science Center, 18022 Dixie Highway.

Jackson said NoStigmas focuses on mental wellness and on helping people find mental health resources.


At the event on Saturday, people who attend will learn how to do a mental health check-in on themselves, how to recognize signs of problems in loved ones and what to do if it appears someone is struggling.

“People feel so alone when they are going through it,” Jackson said. They might not realize that people they know are dealing with or have dealt with similar issues, “but it’s not something we talk about.”

She said the pandemic has added stress to people’s lives, making mental health problems worse, but the need to address social stigma as a barrier to seeking wellness has been a problem long before the pandemic.

“Just having this space and this ability to break that barrier and make this something more comfortable for us all to talk about, I feel like that would help everybody in the long run,” she said. “Talking about it will make it a lot less taboo.”

Jackson said 20% of all sales at BSW, 2050 Ridge Road, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 2 will be donated to NoStigmas.

Anyone wishing to attend the event can register online.

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