Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug Joins Powerful Panel to Tackle Mental Health Stigma and Spark Change

Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug recently joined fellow behavioral health advocates in an insightful discussion addressing mental health and the media. Hosted by C-Strategies and the Publicity Club of Chicago, the panel, titled “Communicating Mental Health: Best Practices and Beyond,” delved into the urgent need to reshape discussions around mental health, and a journalist’s role in these efforts.  

Moderated by Darcel Rockett from the Chicago Tribune, the discussion included National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago CEO Alexa James and Association House of Chicago CEO Juan Carlos Linares. Together, they discussed their experience and advice for navigating the complexities of mental health discourse in today’s media landscape, aiming to foster greater understanding and empathy. 

Each panelist brought a unique perspective and expertise to the table, highlighting the complementary nature of their work in advocating for behavioral health awareness and equity. Throughout the discussion, panelists emphasized the importance of reporting on mental health issues sensitively and responsibly. They noted the critical role of authenticity, empathy, and cultural sensitivity in engaging diverse communities and challenging existing stigmas. 

“It starts with research. Journalists need to be willing to have the hard conversations in order to represent these issues in a way that is respectful,” Mark shared. “You have to be open to what you don’t know.” 

As gatekeepers of information, journalists play a crucial role in shaping public perceptions and driving policy reforms. The panel addressed the need for responsible reporting that goes beyond sensationalism to highlight solutions and amplify the voices of those directly impacted by mental health disparities. 

“It’s important to recognize that these issues are interconnected — it’s not just about mental wellness, but also housing, healthcare, poverty, and violence. We need to address these challenges holistically to create change,” Mark said. 

As the conversation unfolded, it became evident that the panelists were not merely discussing problems—they were offering actionable solutions. From expanding access to mental health resources to amplifying marginalized voices, their insights provided a roadmap for collective action. 

This discussion served as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact that conversations surrounding mental health, coupled with responsible journalism, can have on our communities. From journalists to mental health advocates and everyone in between, we all have a part to play in fostering greater understanding, empathy, and support for those facing mental health and substance use challenges. 

Watch their discussion:

Posted In: Archived (Old Posts)