They are musicians and librarians, fashion designers, fitness instructors, actors, athletes, and artists. They are sisters and wives, brothers and fathers, from New England and around the nation. What do they have in common? All have been affected by mental illness and its stigma and have been brought together as part of Deconstructing Stigma.
Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health is an international mental health awareness exhibit currently on display at Boston Logan Airport. The installation covers the entire 235-hallway that connects Terminal B and C on the Departure level and features photos and stories from more than 30 campaign participants, with each photo standing nearly 8 feet tall.
Despite concerns about being labeled and risking further discrimination, the volunteers in this project are sharing their stories of hope and resilience so that the public can have an opportunity to “walk in their shoes” and perhaps step away with a different view of what it’s like to have a mental illness.
Over 3 million people have seen the exhibit since it was launched in December 2016. In October 2019, the exhibit was refreshed with 36 new volunteers, including those from our NAACP and Mumbai partnerships.
When people walk through this gallery, they’re going to see these images and realize that ‘wow, I know someone [with a mental illness],’ or they are going to read the narratives and say ‘oh my, god, that’s me. This project is going to remove the guilt and shame, and then it’s going to remove the pain.
– Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, campaign participant and a founding member of the legendary hip hop group Run-DMC
Launch Event: December 2016
Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health officially opened at Boston’s Logan Airport on Friday, December 9, 2016. In attendance were not only Marylou Sudders, secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, McLean Hospital President Scott L. Rauch, MD, and former Massport CEO Tom Glynn, but almost every single volunteer brave enough to share their story as part of the project.