Screenshot%202020-06-29%2015.01_edited.j

MENTAL HEALTH STORY

OUT NOW!

A narrative diving into an experience of bouncing back and growing from depression. 

Screenshot 2020-06-29 14.31.12.png

CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS STORY

Screenshot%202020-06-29%2015.04_edited.j

LGBTQ+ STORY

OUT NOW!

Screenshot 2020-06-29 14.56.24.png

LEARNING DISABILITY STORY

OUT NOW!

Screenshot 2020-06-29 14.52.31.png

ADDICTION STORY

OUT NOW!

Learn about Khadar's experience

Shattering stigma 

one story at a time

WHY DO WE NEED STORIES?

Click below to read the published article "Every Human Being is a Story, Not Just a Statistic"

MCB.png

We live in an era where information is readily accessible. However, be it for school projects or government policy reform, numbers and statistics tend to dominate over actual human stories and experiences. While data provides a big-picture perspective, it blurs out the individual experience and the human story.

The Issues 

Below are the symbolic pieces of artwork that accompany each story of stigma and strength, and a statistic about each stigmatized issue. 

ADDICTION

Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction. 

In 2017, 8.5 million American adults suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder  

CHILDREN OF INCARCERATED PARENTS

More than 2.7 million children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent. That is 1 in 28 children. 1 in 9 African -American children

MENTAL HEALTH

1 in 5 U.S. adults experience a mental illness. 

About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.

LEARNING DISABILITY

2.3 million students are diagnosed with specific learning disabilities and receive services under IDEA. 

LGBTQ+

25.2 percent of LGBT respondents have experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year.

STIGMA IN SOCIETY

Although it has become less socially acceptable to voice blatantly stigmatized and aggressive opinions, stigma continues to manifest itself in society in much more subtle ways, making it sometimes even more difficult to deal with. Right now, stigma comes mainly in the form of ignorance and a lack of openness.

Colorful Cone

Ignorance

Lack  of openness

Understanding

Normalization

Compassion

A Story

However, a story has the transformative power to change those into understanding and normalization

SOURCE OF STRENGTH

The stories are a great source of strength and motivation to conquer any obstacles you might be facing. These are all regular people---neighbors, friends, family----who were able to overcome stigmatized hardships and systemic inequalities. 

Are you battling a stigmatized hardship?

Each story equips you with lessons and strategies to overcome your hardship, but most importantly, it gives you hope. Other people were able to beat their hardship, you can too!

YES

In life, obstacles are inevitable. Knowing that people around you have been able to beat extremely adverse situations is motivating and empowering.

Humans are resilient.

NO

aboutsosAs

S.O.S.A.S. was founded and is run by Ojas Bhagra, a high-schooler from Rochester, MN, after a conversation with his grandpa opened his eyes to the connective power of a story 

mary-e1591736680474.jpg

Mary Conboy Gorfine, Program Coordinator

Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission

Olmsted County Administration

"Stories of Stigma and Strength is a testament to extraordinary human resilience in spite of often overwhelming challenges.  It has been my privilege to work with Ojas Bhagra on this important initiative. The stories documented will inspire and encourage us and the people we love, to bring our struggles out of the shadows and into the light of day."

Digital Work Life

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

rochester%20ce%20with%20text_edited.png
YC%20logo%201_edited.png
180_Logo_Negative_Original.png
PowersVentures.png
CIDI logo.png
IMAA-Logo-1.png
MASKS REQUIRED.jpeg