The Indiana Parenting Institute held their closeout 2016 PAMI (Parenting Awareness Month Indiana) event on Tuesday, April 27. This “Chat & Chew” event focused on women’s mental health and success, with the theme “Women Unleashed!”

The Program Host was Eddie Melton, who serves as Manager of Governmental and Community Relations for NIPSCO. Amy Brinkley, Director of the Gary Chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), spoke about her passion to advocate for mental illness awareness. Having two brothers who committed suicide, one who was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, she is dedicated to breaking the stigma that goes along with mental illness. As 1 in 4 people have a mental illness, it is important for others to know the warning signs of when someone is in a crisis or in a suicidal state. As May is Mental Health Month, her discussion on the topic was timely.

Dr. Rachael Ross, the Keynote Speaker, is a recurring co-host on the Emmy Award-Winning talk show, The Doctors, and a practicing board-certified family medicine physician and sexologist. Her frank manner of discussing sex and intimacy shocked some attendees, but got others to open up and call out to Dr. Rachael their problems in the bedroom. One attendee shared her feeling of empowerment, telling others, “When you project it, it shows!” Dr. Rachael explained that women are stuck in the same roles even though their positions have changed; many women are now the breadwinners yet they are expected to do all the cooking, cleaning and tending to the kids. Dr. Rachael advised the women (and the few men there) to try to rekindle their sex life as it improves mental health.

After the Q&A session with Dr. Rachael, Laura Franklin from United Healthcare, presented IPI with a check for $10,000 for their program, Birth to Eighteen.

Leslie Wesley from IPI South Bend spoke and the event came to an end with a raffle and a photo session with the presenters. Attendees stayed to chat with Dr. Rachael and take selfies. The event was informative and fun, and one no one will forget for a long time.

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