As the state’s only academic medical center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) is a well-respected and sought-after health care provider serving the residents of New Hampshire and Vermont. It is a hub for leading-edge health care and has a deep commitment toward increasing awareness and understanding about mental illness and reducing the stigma too often associated with psychiatric disorders.
Leveraging its standing within the community, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has opened its doors to Deconstructing Stigma, providing patients, families, staff, faculty, and visitors the opportunity to learn more about mental health and engage in critically important dialogue about stigma, access to care, and the deep impact mental illness has on communities.
Collaborating With Dartmouth-Hitchcock
In early 2023, Marianne Barthel, who oversees arts and humanities for DHMC, approached the Education Outreach team at McLean about the potential to bring Deconstructing Stigma to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. This request came just as McLean was developing a portable Deconstructing Stigma exhibit that can be easily assembled in temporary locations.
Through a close working relationship between Marianne and the Education Outreach team, a New Hampshire-specific Deconstructing Stigma exhibit was able to be installed at DHMC for Mental Health Awareness Month (May).
Changing Attitudes About Mental Health
We are deeply grateful for this collaboration with DHMC and our storytelling volunteers from across New Hampshire, who have provided us with an opportunity to bring resilient and inspirational stories of people living with psychiatric disorders to DHMC.
“Stigma is a huge barrier to getting care, especially in my field. So, I decided to tell my story. I figured if I could help out one or two people, it would be worth it,” said Evan, a former member of the military and New Hampshire resident who volunteers to share his story through Deconstructing Stigma.
Although Evan left the military for medical reasons, his desire to help others has never wavered. Today, he is doing exactly that by sharing his story as part of Deconstructing Stigma.
“I joined the military because I wanted to help people. I still want to do that, and I still know that I can.”
Evan is among the people profiled in the New Hampshire-specific exhibits.
He 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.
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 Maine offer support and services to individuals and families in need. Find resources specific to New Hampshire.