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Dancing Competition to Raise Awareness About Mental Illness

Dancing Competition to Raise Awareness About Mental Illness


In January 2018, Dan Rothery, BJC president of home care and community services, will become the third BJC executive (after Steve Lipstein and Sandra Van Trease) to “step up” and participate in a local fundraiser called Dancing with the St. Louis Stars.

Dancing with the St. Louis Stars is hosted by and benefits the Independence Center, a local Clubhouse similar to BJC’s Friends in Action Clubhouse in Farmington, Mo. Both organizations help those with mental illness restore their lives and achieve independence.

The dancing competition calls on local business and community leaders to perform live with an experienced dance instructor, with the goal of raising funds for the Independence Center.

Breaking the Silence

In support of Rothery’s participation in the fundraiser is a social media campaign entitled, “Break the Silence: Let’s Talk About Mental Illness.” The campaign includes a series of posts centered around hard-hitting facts about mental illness, along with compelling images and messaging.

“We’re hoping this campaign breaks through the clutter and causes people in our community to stop and say, ‘I can connect to this,’” says Rothery. “Then, once they’ve reached our main campaign site, we offer informative videos that further tell our story -- and the story of those with mental illness.”

A Personal Cause

While the “Break the Silence” campaign may be new, Rothery has been working individually to achieve that goal for several years. “Every other week, I welcome new groups of employees to BJC,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for me to do what I can, in that moment, to talk about mental illness and how it impacts lives.”

While Rothery looks forward to the event and dance competition on January 27, he is even more excited about how his participation will help those who are often overlooked.

“In my work with BJC Behavioral Health and Friends in Action Clubhouse, I’ve met so many folks who have endured incredible struggles and are excelling, thanks to Clubhouses like Independence Center and Friends in Action,” he says. “If this campaign and my performance can help even one of them along their path to recovery, it will be worth every minute.”

Learn more at any of these websites:

What Is a Clubhouse?

A Clubhouse is a community of people living with mental illness. Participation in a Clubhouse offers members opportunities to rejoin the world of friendships, family, employment and education, and to the services and support they need to continue their recovery. A Clubhouse provides a restorative environment for people whose lives have been severely disrupted by their mental illness, and who need the support of others who believe that mental illness is treatable.

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