(Oconomowoc, Wis.) In honor of Mental Health Month, Patrick T. Hammer, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rogers Behavioral Health System (RBHS), is pleased to introduce Rogers InHealth. The System’s newest key corporation, Rogers InHealth was created to help eliminate stigma through self-empowerment and illuminating recovery by sharing stories of real people who live with a mental illness.
The key corporation became a vision long before recent news on reducing mental health stigma. In fact, Carl Templer, RBHS Board Chair, and Paul Mueller, CEO of Rogers Memorial Hospital, have been seeking ways to reduce the stigma for years. More recently, their vision to make a difference through stigma reduction came to fruition with the creation of Rogers InHealth.
“As one of the nation’s leading mental health providers,” Templer said, “we understand the impact of stigma and feel a responsibility to address it. For many, stigma is a significant barrier not only to treatment, but to the ability to find work and housing as well – all of which are crucial to maintaining a life of recovery with mental illness. At Rogers, our goal is to reduce stigma as one of the barriers to effective treatment, whether it’s at Rogers or elsewhere. We hear far too many stories of people delaying treatment, only to wish they had discovered the difference it could make in their lives earlier.”
Mueller, who also was involved in the creation, added, “Getting proven-effective treatment can literally save lives. We know entire families who have been changed through treatment. The inspiring stories that Rogers InHealth shares are indicative of the opportunities for recovery; the program also aligns with Rogers’ primary goal to help people see that life is worth living when they get the treatment they need.”
Mueller already knew two people who would be ideal as co-directors for the new key corporation: Sue McKenzie, M.A., and Suzette Urbashich, M.S., had been working for more than 12 years with InHealth WI, helping teachers and families with children who were struggling with mental health issues. “What we wanted to do with Rogers InHealth was parallel to what they were already doing in an educational setting,” he said, “we just wanted to make the outreach global.”
Urbashich and McKenzie have a passion to develop and facilitate key initiatives related to education and advocacy for stigma reduction. Along with an advisory team comprised of community partners, research and content experts, staff and consumers, the two guide the Rogers InHealth program through collaboration and innovation. Among those involved is one of the nation’s top researchers in stigma reduction, Patrick W. Corrigan, PsyD, a distinguished professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
As a corporation, Rogers InHealth has already facilitated Wisconsin’s Initiative for Stigma Elimination (WISE), a statewide collaboration of organizations and individuals seeking to reduce the stigma of mental illness in Wisconsin. With Dr. Corrigan as the lead academic consultant and evaluator, WISE promotes the use of evidence based practices and outcome evaluation.