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Removing the stigma from mental illness

Wadena area residents living with mental illnesses will be part of the "With Our Own Hearts" talent show to be held at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd on Oct. 29, 7:30-9 p.m.

Jeff King, chair of Wadena County Mental Health Local Advisory Council, said members of Region V+ are collaborating on the second annual show.

King said that the $5 admission price raises money for the organization and helps them fund other activities.

King said that the talent show consists of group and individual performances. He said that members live with mental illnesses (MI) including bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and major depression, and that the goal of the show is to celebrate having a normal life and recovery.

"I've had MI for 19 years, and I receive treatment here in town, and after all the years I have found that I can do more in life and contribute to society," King said.

He said that there is a stigma attached to mental illness.

"Those of us in the talent show, we're not keeping our MI a secret," he said. "So we're always trying to kill the stigma, raise awareness and hope for people with MI."

Wadena County Mental Health LAC is part of Region V+, which consists of Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

According to, Region V+ is part of the larger Mental Health Consumer/ Survivor Network of Minnesota, which is a nonprofit run for and by people with psychiatric disorders.

For more information, contact Region V+ coordinator Jode Freyholtz-London at (218) 639-2010.