One of most powerful antidotes against stigma is conversation. Not just more voices, but more dialogue. Conversations themselves help to fight stigma by increasing understanding, awareness, and acceptance. Research shows that intergroup contact across many different settings can reduce bias and prejudice3 and that in particular, interpersonal contact with people with a mental illness can be especially effective at shifting attitudes and beliefs. Additionally, discussions across stakeholders can help identify pathways to solutions and create new partnerships to drive progress.
To drive more constructive dialogue, The Kennedy Forum Illinois set a goal of hosting 100 conversations about mental health and addiction during The Chicago Community Trust’s On the Table 2015 on May 12th, 2015, a day designated by The Trust to engage thousands of Illinoisans in mealtime conversations with a purpose. We exceeded this goal, with 122 reported conversations, engaging approximately 1,800 Illinois residents around this important topic.
Here are the results: