This year Defeat the Stigma Project has joined forces with Flatlander Ultrarunners of Chicago and Ten Junk Miles Podcast Show to run across Illinois for mental health and suicide prevention.

On May 17th, 2017 a team of 8 started our run from Clinton IA, eastbound to Chicago for 4 days, averaging 35 miles each day.

Our goal was to reach as many people as possible along the way and make it ok to talk about mental health and mental illnesses that affect us all in one way or another. We believe we achieved that goal, especially through social media.

Our run raised funds for NAMI-Illinois.
Please consider donating to NAMI-IL at:

This was our route.

Run Across Illinois 2017.

1st Day: May 17
Clinton IA – Across the border.

2nd Day May 18
Franklin Grove

3rd Day May 19
Maple Park

4th Day May 20
Glen Ellyn
Forest Park
Chicago – The Bean


Defeat the Stigma Project was created in the summer of 2013. Our goal is to bring more awareness to mental illness issues and to defeat the social stigma around mental illness. Our first course of action to bring awareness was running across the state of Minnesota in May 2015. It was a fantastic way to interact with people and deliver our message. The run took 7 days, averaging 34.3 miles per day.

Many of us struggle with a mental illness, and for too many of us it goes untreated. However, if we do decide to seek help, it’s difficult to know how to even go about that. It takes a good network of people, therapy, and medication to improve. Most importantly, it takes ones own desire to get better. Mental illnesses are very treatable. It takes time, patience and perseverance, but it’s worth every second.

The struggles with mental illnesses are real. Getting professional help for these struggles teaches us how to cope with them. We learn to understand what triggers the struggles, what gets us out of them, and how to bounce back.
We want other people with mental illnesses to be able to experience the preciousness of life. There is beauty all around for everyone to enjoy! We also want people who don’t understand mental illnesses to learn more about them, and to understand that they are real.

One out of every four families in the United States suffer from depression in some way. So you likely know, or will meet, someone with mental illness. It’s important to know what to do and say in those situations. Let’s help defeat the stigma of mental illness.

If you have diabetes, you may need insulin to control it. If you have a heart condition, you may need medication. Mental illness should be no exception. In many cases medication can significantly help alleviate the symptoms of mental illness.

When the run across Minnesota concluded, we decided to run across a different state every year. In May 2016, the Defeat the Stigma Project team ran across the beautiful state of Wisconsin. We ran from May 7th through the 14th, departing from Algoma, WI and running West to Hudson, WI, averaging 37 miles per day.

We are working on future adventures, always with mental health and suicide prevention awareness in mind.

Our Goal

  • To educate, encourage and inspire others about mental health issues and treatments in an effort to end stigma and foster hope.

Our Vision

  • To educate people that depression and mental illnesses are treatable.
  • To encourage people to live a healthier life through education and treatment.
  • To inspire others to talk about mental health issues and create support.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional mental health advice or treatment for specific mental health conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a mental health problem without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. Please consult your mental health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.