Bradley International Airport has a deep commitment to the communities of Connecticut and prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive environment for the more than 1 million passengers it welcomes each year.
Recently named the second-best airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler, Bradley partnered with McLean Hospital to exhibit its award-winning Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health campaign.
This exhibit, featuring individuals from Connecticut, celebrities, and people from around the globe who struggle with mental health and substance use disorders themselves or in their families, was intended to raise awareness and encourage honest conversations about mental illness.
Collaborating With Bradley
McLean Hospital’s Education Outreach team began working with organizations in Connecticut to identify public spaces where Deconstructing Stigma could be exhibited, but all efforts were placed on hold due to the pandemic.
In late 2021, we resumed these efforts and thanks to some outstanding partners—including Ann Dagle, founder of Brian’s Healing Hearts (The Brian Dagle Foundation), the Cultural Coalition, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Deconstructing Stigma was on exhibit in Bradley International Airport from October 2022 through March 2023.
Located in art display cases operated by the Cultural Coalition and the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Deconstructing Stigma was accessible to all visitors to the airport in pre-security areas.
We are deeply grateful for this collaboration between Bradley International Airport and the community partners from across Connecticut in bringing resilient and inspirational stories of people living with psychiatric disorders to the airport.
Changing Attitudes About Mental Health
“I’ve never been healed or cured. I’ve had periods of remission. But knowing the illness is there forces me to be vigilant and have the best help possible by my side,” explained Luanne, a Connecticut resident and Deconstructing Stigma volunteer.
“Secret-keeping eats you up and that leads to self-hatred and then suicide. Share what you’re feeling. Talk about it. Write about it. It’s serious, but there is help.”
Luanne, a best-selling author who uses her voice to advocate on behalf of those living with mental illness, is among the people profiled in the exhibit.
She is one of the more than 300 individuals who currently volunteer to share their stories as part of Deconstructing Stigma in hopes of increasing awareness and decreasing the fear and shame that is too often associated with mental illness.
Each of the volunteers from Connecticut and beyond shares their story to encourage others to seek care and to know they are not alone. Though each person is unique, and their story is personal, the experiences of coping with mental illness and stigma are similar.
The goal of Deconstructing Stigma is to share the individual voices and by doing so, highlight the commonality that all of us share—mental health affects everyone.
Many organizations throughout Connecticut offer support and services to individuals and families in need. Find Connecticut-specific resources.