Contact: Rowena Daly (Rena) 667-600-2007

Stoop Storytelling, Catholic Charities and other leading groups host
Out of Stigma’s Shadow: s
tories about mental health, mental illness and the mysteries inside our heads

BALTIMORE—(May 21, 2019)— Seven individuals from the Baltimore area will candidly share their riveting stories about living with behavioral health challenges as part of a Stoop Storytelling Series on mental health, mental illness, and the mysteries inside on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. This event is a collaborative event sponsored by Catholic Charities of Baltimore and eight other groups including Baltimore Jewish Council, NAMI of Metro Baltimore, Baltimore Magazine and MedStar Health. Following the stories, four high profile mental health experts will discuss behavioral health trends, treatments, and aspects of the shared stories.

“Stigma is a major barrier to individuals receiving the treatment they need.  Until we can speak as comfortably about our substance use disorder or our major depressive disorder as we can about other health problems, people will continue to suffer and even die needlessly,” Joe O’Leary, Medical Director for Center for Family Service, St. Vincent’s Villa, Pot Spring Residential Treatment Center Direct Care. “We need to tell our stories, and to listen to the stories of others.”

Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Letitia Dzirasa, M.D., will deliver opening remarks.  Panel Moderator: Sheilah Kast, host of WYPR’s On the Record. Panelists: Kay Jamison, M.A., Ph.D. Co-Director, Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine; author, “An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness”; Bishop Kevin Daniels, Ph.D, DMin, LGSW, St. Martin’s Church; Renz Juaneza, M.D. Psychiatry, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital; and Stacey Meadows, LCSW-C, Manager, Child & Family Therapy, Jewish Community Services

Stoop Storytellers: Latesha Higgs, Founder/President of The DIVA Effect, Inc. and a Baltimore City Public School teacher; Mary Curtin, Teacher; Andy Parsley, School Administrator /Director of Education; Michael Teitelbaum, President, Baltimore magazine; Theo Hill, Truck driver and counselor; Vijayasundaram Ramasamy, Special Assistant for Trauma and Telemedicine at the Baltimore City Health Department; Alexandra Wykowski, Clinical Services coordinator

Sponsoring Organizations: The Associated, Baltimore Jewish Council, Baltimore Magazine, Behavioral Health Systems of Baltimore, Catholic Charities, Jewish Community Services, Maryland Faith Health Network, MedStar Health, and National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of Metro Baltimore.


Background: Catholic Charities of Baltimore is Maryland largest private provider of human services with programs. The organization assists all people in need including children and families experiencing poverty or homelessness, individuals with intellectual disabilities, immigrants, and older adults without regard to religion, race or other circumstances. Catholic Charities also provides a wide range of mental and behavioral health services to support children and families including residential-, community- and school-based programs, resources, and referrals.