Powerful, Funny and Passionate about Mental Health

speaker, author and advocate Tara Rolstad

About Tara

Tara Rolstad can help your community or organization get real about supporting mental health, and better understand the experiences of families and individuals who struggle with mental health issues.

Her audiences—virtual and in person—learn tips and practical things that they can do immediately to help themselves, their organization, their family members and those around them. Even better, she does it with a big dose of humor, passion and inspiration!

Tara is an advocate, author and speaker who left a career as a nonprofit executive to help raise nieces who lived with severe mental illness. Tara is also the founder and director of Shattering Stigma with Stories: Understanding Mental Health; and produces mental health conferences for faith communities, businesses and other organizations.

Whether speaking to businesses, education professionals, colleges, medical or mental health professionals, faith communities, family members or general audiences, Tara is uniquely direct, funny, passionate, and unlikely to keep a(n appropriate) thought to herself.

In fact, she has also performed stand-up comedy around the Pacific Northwest with Mental Health at the Mic, and is co-author of the book OMG That’s Me! 3: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, PTSD, Mental Health and Humor.

Oregon State Fiscal Association, conference keynote
NW Natural, corporate management retreat keynote, Washington
Lake Oswego School District, virtual parent community presentation
EROAD, virtual corporate presentations, US and New Zealand
BCP, educational staff presentation
Lincoln High School, virtual health fair presentation
University of North Carolina, Asheville, presentation to all student athletes
North Carolina State School Counselor Association, keynote, Charlotte NC
Lone Star State School Counselor Association, keynote, Dallas TX
Behavioral Health Symposium, keynote, Uvalde TX
Lower Columbia College, Longview WA
Nevada School Counselor Association, keynote, Las Vegas NV
Oregon State School Board Association, Portland OR
Big Feelings, Tough Behaviors, tri-county conference for parents and daycare providers, Portland, OR
NAMI Oregon, state conference
Armed with Hope, conference for parents and teens

More Video from Tara

Most Requested Topics

Getting It Right on Mental Health

When mental illness happens to someone we know, often we don’t know what to do. But your organization or community can create a culture that is compassionate, open and supportive about mental health.

Tara will show your audience how they can help, whether it’s a friend, neighbor, coworker or a member of their own family, using her inspiring journey as a family member raising nieces with severe mental illness, and lessons learned about what families and individuals struggling with mental illness need.

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Who's Got Time for That?

Today’s environment demands we all practice good self-care, and self-care for caregivers is particularly serious business! Good self-care results in higher productivity at work, higher satisfaction at work and at home, and the ability to be our best for those around us.

It’s just not as simple as a night out with friends, or a glass of wine and a bath, but it CAN make all the difference for those of us who are dealing with higher levels of stress, anxiety, or depression (i.e. All. Of. Us. Right. Now.), and those who are taking care of someone else with a mental illness or other serious chronic illness. With her trademark humor, Tara shares the 4 critical aspects of good self-care; why self care is so important and the risks faced by caregivers; and practical strategies to be sure you or the people you care about are taking care of themselves AND their loved ones.

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What Parents Need to Know about Mental Health

It’s time to break open the conversation on parenting and mental health! The pandemic has had a devastating impact on adolescent mental health, compounding years of increasing anxiety, depression and suicide.

Equip parents in your community to better understand mental health: what parents should know, when to get help, and how to support their own kids and those around them when they are struggling.

Click below to get more information on Tara’s special programs for parents in YOUR school community.

Link to School Programs

What People Are Saying

I need to be able to talk about it at work. I’m glad we had this presentation that tells everybody it’s ok. There is no stigma, it’s ok, it’s depression, it’s everybody. Especially since the pandemic, a lot of people don’t know what anxiety is, “I’m having this feeling, I think I’m dying….” It’s anxiety and it’s ok……

Tara is fantastic at presenting….I appreciate that while we’re talking about mental health, there’s humor still involved, the way you included everybody…and kept the audience captivated.”

“Tara came to present on mental health at our leadership retreat with over 100 of our leaders. She did a great job helping us understand how to better watch out for our employees and each other…especially in the times we now live in! I was particularly impressed with how various of my leadership team spoke up in front of others on issues they were dealing with personally or in their workforce and wanted Tara’s advice. And, after her prepared remarks, she stayed around for 30 minutes during our break which allowed others to approach her on a more personal basis, which was fantastic. I heard nothing but good things from my leadership team.”

Bringing Tara Rolstad to our retreat for our company was an amazing experience. We were looking for someone to talk to us, help us reconnect, understand the experiences we all were going through during the pandemic and beyond…..it was amazing, I would recommend her to anybody.”

“There can be no question that it is difficult to get college students to talk about mental health but Tara tackles this problem head-on.  Instead of telling students what they should do, or how they should act she offers them the opportunity to meet her where they are.  She is approachable, sincere, real and direct.  It proved to be a powerful combination, allowing students to let down their guard enough to hear her message.  Her program help demonstrate and normalize the fact many of us are impacted by factors that fall under the umbrella of mental health.  Her programming helped educate students beyond the challenges, and impacts to offer practical tools to find support or call someone who is equipped to help.”

“Your presentation was a highlight of the conference for me. You were engaging, humorous, real and authentic. You captivated me from beginning to end…. you are definitely an inspiration.”

“Within the first few minutes of this engaging conference, Tara was able to ‘shatter stigma’ simply by sharing her raw and very relatable story. She puts people at ease through humor, her candid approach to sharing life’s difficult moments and by being equipped with a host of expertise and resources for those seeking support. This event should be a normalized and recurring offering in every school community!”

“Tara was really great on stage, and one of the things I appreciate about her is how present she is and great about creating a connection with audience members. It instantly feels warm and comfortable when her presentation starts, and I think it brings a sense of calm and comfort to the people in the audience, around a topic that can be kind of nerve-wracking, to be honest. I would strongly encourage you to consider working with her in the future.”

“Tara is great at engaging the audience with a call to action, which is critical for our mission.

Her presentations are always a draw for our events, and I know going into an event that she’ll take care of all of the details I need. She’s a pleasure to work with!”

“Tara Rolstad is at the forefront of a vital and timely cause: helping us think compassionately about the impact of mental illness on the family, the church, and the community. For too long we’ve only whispered about the subject or felt ashamed when depression, bi-polar, or other cognitive dysfunction impacted us or our families. With raw vulnerability and unexpected humor, Tara is helping break the stigma around mental health, so that we can all do a better job of loving our family and neighbors well.”

“Tara Rolstad speaks on topics not generally discussed in polite society. She breaks through the barriers put up by organizations that say, ‘Let’s just keep that to ourselves.’
Tara uses humor and personal stories to tell the story of so many families who live with a child who requires much more attention than a parent ever thinks possible.
What makes a speaker great? Humor, self awareness and being a great story teller come to mind. Tara has all of these qualities and so much more. Her stories are humorously tragic, unexpectedly irreverent and downright shocking. She is not an everyday speaker hired to make the audience feel better. Tara makes the audience think and rallies the audience to go forth into the world and make a difference.
Tara Rolstad does what all great speakers must do. She speaks the truth even when it’s shocking, unsettling and not something many people are willing to say, out loud… in front of a crowd… and even in a spiritual community! She has the confidence and desire needed to change the world, one speech at a time.”
“Tara is funny. Really funny. Her wit is tuned to catch in-the-moment serendipity and turn it into gold.  If all she had to offer was her comedy, you would not want to miss her on stage. But when you hear Tara Rolstad, you’ll get so much more than that.
Tara is also a great storyteller, compassionate and knowledgeable. She’s a woman on a mission to make the world a better place.  She shifts with ease from moving, to funny, and back to moving.  She’s real, she’s humble, and just occasionally, she’s fiery. Audiences leave her performances laughing, even as they are moved to action.”

“Tara Rolstad educates, engages and captivates her audience. She is well researched, highly organized and, when appropriate, extremely funny. There are few people who can speak as competently on the emotionally charged intersection between faith and mental illness as can Tara. She is as unabashed in her earthy, honest discussion of how mental illness has touched her family as she is in her total reliance on God. As someone who has pastored churches for over a quarter century and who also works as an RN on an in-patient behavioral health unit I would trust no one more to address either of the populations I serve than Tara.”

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Want to learn more about having me speak at your event, facilitate a workshop, or consult with your organization? Let’s talk! Just share some basic information with me in this form, which will magically send me an email, and I’ll be in touch.
Want to connect even sooner? I’d love that! Give me a call now at (503)756-9135.