Rebecca’s Dream Celebrates 10 Years of Fighting Stigma of Mental Illness

CHICAGO, IL — October 20, 2015 — A decade ago, Gail and Norm Cutler set out to turn the tragedy of their daughter’s death into national conversation about mental illness. The organization they founded to honor their daughter’s memory, Rebecca’s Dream, celebrates 10 years of fighting the stigma of mental illness on November 7, 2015.

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Rebecca’s Dream has launched a public education and advocacy campaign. The campaign kicked off in September with a social media campaign offering “10 Ways to Fight the Stigma of Mental Illness“, and followed up in October with 10 Things You Should Know about Mental Illness. The next phase of their effort reflects back on the work done during the past 10 years to open the dialogue and reframe perceptions of mental illness.

“We knew that honoring Rebecca’s memory would mean continuing the work she started,” said Norm Cutler, co-founder of Rebecca’s Dream. “During the past 10 years we’ve done an incredible amount of work to educate the public and provide resources for families struggling with bi-polar disease and depression.”

During the past 10 years Rebecca’s Dream has sparked a national conversation about the stigma of mental illness and taken concrete steps to educate the public. 10 Things Rebecca’s Dream does to fight the stigma of mental illness include:

  1. Hosting the Rebecca’s Dream website, the “go to” place for accurate and up-to-date information about depression and bipolar disease.
  2. Developing the annual Teens and Transitions symposium which brings together community leaders, mental health practitioners, and parents for an in-depth conversation. Click Teens and Transitions
  3. Participating in the “The Power of One” a four-session program educating and fostering discussions for 7th and 8th grade students, parents and grandparents. Click Power of One
  4. Bringing “The Middle Years” to middle school parents, offering information on the signs of depression, and when and where to seek help. Click The Middle Years
  5. Co-producing two original theatrical productions with Erasing the Distance theater company presenting the struggles of real individuals and families dealing with bipolar disease and depression. Click Tell Me What You Remember
  6. Partnering with Families for Depression Awareness for a Teen Depression Webinar.
  7. Rebecca’s Dream funded five schools for Elyssa’s Mission’s “S.O.S.” suicide prevention program for middle and high school students.
  8. Partnering with DBSA for the Young Adult Depression and Bipolar Disorder Podcast Series available worldwide. Listen to the Podcast
  9. Advocating against stigma of mental illness by speaking out against celebrity bullying and misinformation. Click here Advocacy
  10. Educating the public through media outreach.

“Ten years ago we literally had a dream,” said Gail Cutler, co-founder of Rebecca’s dream. “To date we have raised money for outreach and education, we’ve offered grants to support programming and families, and we’ve helped educate an entire generation of individuals and families looking for information about these diseases. We’ve made great strides and we’re seeing a change in the dialogue. Mental illness is being discussed openly, and is being recognized as an illness – not a state of mind. We know there is still much to be done, but today we reflect on our success with great pride.”

Programming and educational efforts are supported by volunteers and donors who host fund-raising events topped off by an annual Benefit. This year’s 10th Anniversary Benefit will be held on Saturday, November 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ravinia Green Country Club, Riverwoods, Illinois.

Gail and Norm Cutler, Rebecca’s parents and founders of Rebecca’s Dream are available for interviews and can share their personal stories of a family who has dealt with a host of issues ranging from suicide to mental health stigma. Contact Kathleen Illes for more information.

Media Contact:
Kathleen Illes
847-681-1986 or 773-960-0413