Barlow, Wellstone take on mental health stigma

One in four people experience mental illness during their lifetime, but it often goes untreated.

Dave Wellstone, son of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, and Ken Barlow, KSTP meteorologist, plan to take an active role in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness by sharing their personal stories of living with mental health issues.

They will speak 6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at Word of Peace Lutheran Church. Mental health resources and support will also be available during the event, which is free and open to the public.

Barlow publicly disclosed his battle with bipolar disorder in September 2012 while hosting the annual National Association of Mental Illness Walk.

Barlow has worked in the Twin Cities since 1990. He has been nationally recognized and awarded Emmy awards for excellence in his field.

Wellstone will speak about his own struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression following the plane crash that killed his father, his mother Sheila and his sister Marcia. He is also an author. His most recent publication is “Becoming Wellstone: Healing from Tragedy and Carrying on My Father’s Legacy.”

Since 2007 he has been a key figure in the Washington, D.C., with regards to the recent passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act.

Wellstone and Barlow have worked together to create the Wellstone Barlow Mental Health Initiative to take an active role in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and addiction. Through the initiative, they   create public service announcements, attend conventions and speak with business leaders, university students, high school organizations, community groups and at places of worship.

They have partnered with the Word of Peace Mental Health Task Force to help the task force promote mental health education, resources, advocacy and inclusiveness through faith-based activities both within and outside of the congregation.

Word of Peace Lutheran Church is at 21705 129th Ave. N., Rogers.

For more information about Word of Peace, visit www.wordofpeace.org. For more information about the event, contact Dan Hassinger at dkhass@embarqmail.com at 952-380-8739 or Mona Trebesch at mmtreb@yahoo.com.

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