Village People: Tandra M. Rutledge on Mental Health in Communities of Color

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Tandra M. Rutledge, the director of business development at Riveredge Hospital, spoke recently to a small crowd during Village Free Press’s monthly business reception, held at the hospital on Oct. 18. Below is an excerpt of her insightful talk:

I’m originally from Ohio. I’ve been in Illinois for a little over a year and I came here for this job. The reason I came here is because of my passion for mental health. There is a stigma in our communities of color and I want to be part of the change to reduce that stigma.

If people see someone like me, a person of color who is a therapist and who can talk the talk and walk the walk, and understand what it means to be in a community of color, then maybe I can compel some other people to come out of the shadows and seek help when help is needed — whether it is the loss of a husband or something like chronic depression.

For too many years, we as communities of color have been silent. We have to have conversations, particularly around suicide. I’m a certified suicide trainer. The hospital offers training and presentations at no charge. By going out in the community and having those conversations is how we break down that stigma and shame.

That’s why I uprooted my family from everything that was comfortable and familiar to us to come work at this facility. VFP 

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2 thoughts on “Village People: Tandra M. Rutledge on Mental Health in Communities of Color”

  1. Wow! All I can say is that I applaud Tandra M. Rutledge for doing this tough job of fighting the stigma of mental illness. It is so needed in the Proviso Township and the state of Illinois, since mental health facilities were closed due to budget crisis by Governor Bruce Rauner. I hope that she will be there for the youth in the village of Maywood and all the Proviso Township who are going through some personal and emotional issues. I hope that she not only treat symptoms, but treat the causes of what the youth is going through.

  2. Thank you Concerned Proviso Township Resident. It takes us all to combat stigma in our families and communities. Learning to recognize the signs of concerns and to know where to go to get help and support when needed is key. It is equally as important to understand the underlying causes and stressors that contribute to and exacerbate the stress our youth are dealing with. Advocating for them and working with caregivers, schools and community organizations is a focus as well.

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