The cast of Erasing the Distance

Provided by Kimberly Knake

In response to a recent community-wide assessment, the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park Township (CMHB) has funded various local organizations to create free community-wide initiatives to reduce public and self-stigma associated with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. Three of those local mental health organizations have teamed up to implement a powerful anti-stigma campaign – SAY IT OUT LOUD – encouraging our community to openly discuss mental health, just like we discuss physical health. 


A free community event starts this vital discussion on Friday, November 4th! 


The kick-off event for SAY IT OUT LOUD Campaign is a performance art experience from Erasing the Distance, a Chicago-based acting troupe that uses inspiring true stories to educate the community about mental health in order to decrease mental illness stigma. More than 25,000 people across the country have seen these extraordinary performances, which always use and honor the real words of young adults and teens diagnosed with a mental illness. 


These are stories of real people struggling with a mental illness. 

The November 4th event will feature scenes and monologues from Shelly, Keith, Angela, Aaron, and Chloe. These stories touch on topics of depression, OCD, anxiety, self-injury, substance abuse and more.  An audience discussion will follow the performances. Mental health resource tables and refreshments will be available in the lobby. Please note: these stories are focused on teens and adults struggling with mental illness, so the event is not recommended for children under the age of 14.  


Come witness, share, question and learn.


Doors open at 6:30 pm and this free event starts at 7 pm. Seating is first come, first serve. The Arts Center of Oak Park is located at 200 N. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park, IL. Parking is available on Ontario Street, as well as the city garage on Oak Park Ave. and North Blvd. Please call Kimberly Knake (630-460-4429) to reserve seating for groups larger than 10 people.  


SAY IT OUT LOUD is sponsored by the Community Mental Health Board of Oak Park in partnership with NAMI Metro-Suburban, Thrive Counseling Center and Thresholds.

Visit for more information about the SAY IT OUT LOUD campaign and the kick-off event on November 4th. Visit to learn more about Erasing the Distance.

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