Success Over Stigma is a community advocacy and educational outreach program dedicated to eradicating the stigma associated with mental illness. To arrange a Success Over Stigma presentation for your classroom, congregation or service club, please contact our Success Over Stigma Coordinator at 831.800.7530.
Based on a speakers bureau model developed in San Mateo, it provides training in public speaking for Interim clients and a forum where adults with mental illness can share their personal experiences with the community-at-large.
Since 2009, Success Over Stigma has shared experiences with faith groups, school groups, and business associations, among others. Comments from presentation audience members include:
- “I have been trained my whole life to be afraid of people with these disorders, but yesterday changed my whole view. Thank you for making me a less ignorant person.”– Student, Salinas High School
- “It is so promising and offers me hope to see (clients)taking control of their lives with help of the medications that is prescribed.” – Student, Hartnell College
- “I really enjoyed the presentation by Interim in my psychology class on Tuesday. It was beautiful to see everyone share their stories and I had a lot of respect for the speakers. I can personally identify with many of the speakers because I have gone through my own battle with severe anxiety and depression. Seeing a program like Interim helping individuals warms my heart and shows there is hope for the millions or people who suffer from psychological disorders.” — Student, CSUMB
- “There used to be a stigma that after you are diagnosed with mental illness, there is not much left for you. But now I see a more different and positive side.” –Member, First United Methodist Church
- “I loved the guest speakers that came today! Their stories were amazing and they made everything we have been learning in our textbook real. I think the most important thing I got out of them coming was realizing that people who have a mental illness are not the illness, they are real and amazing people.”- Student, Carmel High School
Article on Success Over Stigma in Monterey Herald
CLICK HERE to check out the March 2013 article by Leslie Dunn.
Interim Congratulates Kontrena McPheter United Way Unsung Heroine for 2012
Staff member Kontrena McPheter was awarded United Way’s 2012 Unsung Heroine Award for her volunteer work in support of adults with mental illness. Kontrena is a part-time employee serving as the Coordinator for our “Success Over Stigma” (SOS) Program. As coordinator, Kontrena is responsible for recruiting, orienting, and training more than 50 mental health clients to share their stories of mental health recovery with other agencies, organizations, and schools. This program has made a real difference in helping to eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and has empowered the clients who share their powerful personal stories.
Kontrena also works tirelessly as a volunteer empowering her peers in their recovery process. In 2011, she spearheaded a movement to revamp local Board and Care Homes organizing individuals and agencies to donate clothes and personal items to Board and Care residents. Kontrena (and Vernon Sample) inspired the Monterey County Behavioral Health Mental Health Commission to arrange training seminars on mental illness and recovery for the staff at all 19 Board and Care Homes. They had previously had no such training available.
Kontrena actively participates on the Recovery Task Force and the Wellness and Recovery Conference planning committee. She helped a local Girl Scout troop produce a video on mental health awareness and organizes consumers to participate in various mental healtheventseach year (Capitol Action Day, the NAMI Walk and Family Fun Day). Kontrena is a trainer in Culture Competency and the NAMI Peer to Peer Recovery Education classes where she is currently running a nine-week class.
Kontrena is passionate about helping people with their mental health recovery and seems to possess boundless energy and enthusiasm. She is a role model to all of us and very deserving of this award.