Author ReShonda Tate Billingsley to Take Part in Dallas Panel Discussion on Destigmatizing Mental Illness

Mental illness.Shhh! Don't say that too loudly. It's a secret. You must not talk about it or acknowledge it. The condition is too embarrassing. No one must know.That's a common public attitude that award-winning and best-selling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley will tackle when she takes part in a Dallas panel discussion called "The Secrets We Keep: Destigmatizing Mental Illness."The panel will convene at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 at Bishop Arts Theatre Center, 215 S. Tyler St. in Oak Cliff. TeCo Theatrical Productions and The Well Community — a faith-based nonprofit that helps people recover from mental illness — are co-sponsoring the event.Billingsley, a former TV news journalist from Houston, and others on the panel will discuss findings and experiences aimed at removing the stigma around mental illness and promoting lasting, effective treatment methods. They also will explore how black communities in particular hide mental illness and should work to change perceptions in order to better treat the condition.The panel also will include a National Alliance on Mental Illness official, a Dallas police behavioral health representative, and a mental health advocate and researcher.Among Billingsley's more than 35 books is the novel The Secret She Kept, which explores the effect of bipolar disorder on a marriage, a family and an individual. She also wrote Let the Church Say Amen, which became a movie directed by veteran actress Regina King.Billingsley has received the NAACP Image Award and No. 1 best-seller honors. She is a University of Texas at Austin graduate and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.Tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. To order online or to learn more, visit or call the box office at 214-948-0716. Free parking is at the corner of Tyler and 10th streets, behind Grace Temple Baptist Church.The✓ Well Community is inside Cliff Temple Baptist Church, 125 Sunset Ave. in Oak Cliff. To learn more, visit or call 214-393-5878.ABOUT TOWN: "Health & Disease" is a free two-part series that will teach how to better manage and treat certain health conditions through improved lifestyle choices. Nutrition advocate Debra Peek-Haynes will be hosting. She has written books on holistic health and nutrition, including Debra Peek-Haynes: The Beginner's Guide to Healthy Living.The first session, on how to conquer diabetes and cardiovascular disease, will be from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 21 at Friendship West Baptist Church, 2020 W. Wheatland Road in Dallas, where her husband, Dr. Frederick Haynes III, is senior pastor. The second, on natural approaches to dealing with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Friendship West.The sessions are free, but registration is required by Sunday. Register by emailing For questions, call 214-752-7366.MLK DayMartin Luther King Jr. Day events are planned this weekend. Here are some area activities:Carrollton: The city has scheduled a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday✓Jan. 14 from Carrollton City Hall, 1945 E. Jackson Road. Free.Irving: An MLK Jr. observance program will happen at 6 p.m. Sunday in Carpenter Performance Hall at Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Free.Irving: The Irving-Carrollton chapter of the NAACP will host a free spaghetti luncheon and speakers from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the George Farrow Recreation Center, 530 Davis Dr. Call 972-721-2519.Dallas: A symposium on social justice in the 21st century, featuring a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement and a writer with The New Yorker magazine, is planned from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at City Performance Hall, 2520 Flora St. Institute of Humanities & Culture. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $10 for teachers and free for students. Visit or call 214-871-2440.Cedar Hill: A peace march, followed by a performance by the Grammy Award-winning musical ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock and local school and church groups, will be at 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at Cedar Hill High School, 1 Longhorn Blvd. Free.  Continue reading...

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