International Conference Spotlights California and Sparks Global Conversation

The 7th International Together Against Stigma Conference focused on stigma research, policy and practice brought together over 750 prominent and diverse voices committed to working “Together Against Stigma: Each Mind Matters.” Held for the first time in the United States in San Francisco, the gathering hosted experts, researchers, advocates and emerging leaders in mental health advocacy from 17 countries.

Each Mind Matters reached a global audience at the February conference that spotlighted the innovations and outcomes pioneered by California’s mental health partners.

Former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith - San Francisco, CA DAY 1

Gordon Smith, President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and Former Two-Term U.S. Senator from Oregon speaks at the 7th International Together Against Stigma Conference, on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 in San Francisco, CA. (Don Feria/AP Images for Each Mind Matters)

 

The three-day conference was packed with thought-provoking panels, new research and inspiring testimony. Highlights included:

  • Former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith’s powerful testimony of his firsthand experience with suicide loss as a father, and California State Senator Darrell Steinberg’s moving remarks as he accepted recognition for his leadership, both served as calls to action for policymakers to prioritize combating stigma.
  • A presentation on England’s Time to Change anti-stigma campaign demonstrated the power of attitude change around mental health challenges. Launched in 2009, the campaign has reached over 47 million people by producing films, radio and television ads, and posters that challenge attitudes and change behavior around mental health challenges.
  • Alison K. Malmon, founder and executive director of Active Minds, explained how she turned the tragedy of her brother’s suicide into an opportunity to raise awareness, build support and generate advocacy among college students. Malmon noted the frustration young people feel over the “the stigma they have inherited from previous generations” and shared insights from her work empowering young adults in stigma reduction activities.
  • Hollywood screenwriters, journalists and Facebook representatives shared insights on how the media develops the stories and tools that shape perspectives on mental health.
  • With a focus on empowering the next generation of mental health leaders, the conference speakers also drew from their experience to connect participants in conversation before, during and after the conference. The Each Mind Matters “selfie station” made it easy for attendees to share their commitment to eliminate stigma with their networks.
Rita Fabi, Facebook Representative speaks on Dynamic Media panel at the 7th International Together Against Stigma Conference, on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 in San Francisco, CA. Over 750 attendees from all over the world converged at the gathering, participating in workshops and discussions surrounding mental health. (Don Feria/AP Images for Each Mind Matters)

Rita Fabi, Facebook Representative speaks on Dynamic Media panel at the 7th International Together Against Stigma Conference. (Don Feria/AP Images for Each Mind Matters)

With the hashtag #Stigma2015, the conversations started at the conference can continue and grow globally – join us online!

View the conference presentations on the Together Against Stigma website.