Studies show that the stigma around mental illness and mental health is a significant barrier to individuals seeking treatment and support. This workshop will provide background regarding who holds stigma, some strategies and available programs for eliminating stigma, and an introduction to Bigfork, Minnesota, where they are working hard to “Make It OK” in their community. Attendees will participate in hands-on activities to identify stigma and develop community involvement in eliminating stigma.  


  • Define stigma
  • Identify stigma and its impact on people with mental illnesses, specifically in rural Minnesota
  • Give examples of how to take action with stigma present among staff, partners, and the community
Picture of Shannon Sweeney Jorgensen

Shannon Sweeney Jorgenson, SHRM-SCP

Contract Specialist
National Rural Health Resource Center

Shannon Sweeney Jorgenson, SHRM-SCP, is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, a founder of Northland Healthy Minds, and serves on the steering committee for the Make It OK campaign. Shannon has over 25 years of business experience, ranging from non-profits and government to Fortune 500 companies. With extensive project management, process management, sales, marketing, event and campaign management, and a passion for building healthy communities, she has been working in the area of eliminating the stigma around mental illness and is passionate about people getting the treatment and support that they deserve.

Picture of Sandra LeBlanc-Boland

Sandra LeBlanc-Boland

Executive Administrative Coordinator
Bigfork Valley Hospital

Sandra LeBlanc-Boland serves as Executive Administrative Coordinator for Bigfork Valley, a 20-bed independent critical access hospital and multi-service senior care campus located in rural northern Itasca County, Minnesota. Sandra coordinates local projects to include the Bigfork/Edge of the Wilderness (EOW) Community Mental Health Initiative and Bigfork/EOW AGE to age – a Northland Foundation multigenerational activities program, that brings elders and children together for meaningful experiences. She serves on the events committee for the Edge Center for the Arts, bringing performing artists to the northland; and on the board of EOWSKI! a youth ski club that brings kids of all ages into the woods for outdoor adventures. She enjoys teaching Pilates and Tai Chi Quan Moving for Better Balance.