Disability Inclusion Society, a local disability rights and culture organization, is hosting a community forum titled "Unlinking Violence and Mental Illness" at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the South Branch Library, 3228 Teasley Lane in Denton.

In the wake of recent mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa, legislators, the media, as well as the general public, have been quick to assign blame to mental illness.

"Associating hate violence and gun violence to mental illness only fuels the stigmatization and myths connected to this community," said Val Vera, executive director of Disability Inclusion Society, in a news release. "Education needs to happen in order to break down these myths."

The free event will feature four expert panelists who will field questions from a moderator and those in attendance. The panel will include: Claudette Fette, mental health advocate and professor at Texas Woman's University; Enny Torres-Yanez, bilingual licensed psychologist and staff psychologist/group coordinator at Texas Woman's University; Enedelia Sauceda, staff psychologist and multicultural/diversity coordinator at the University of North Texas' Counseling and Testing Services; and Lydia Martinez, mental health advocate and peer support specialist.

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