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.
The exhibit, currently on display at Boston’s Logan Airport, covers the entire 235-hallway that connects Terminal B and C on the Departure level. The physical installation 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.
The display at Logan Airport is expected to have reached more than a million people in 2017.
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