Mental health affects everyone, yet statistics show that stigma continues to be the biggest barrier to individuals seeking care.
In 2016, shortly after launching Deconstructing Stigma at Boston Logan Airport, McLean began developing public installations in the United States and abroad, with growing collaborations among New England airports, including Burlington International Airport in Vermont, Bangor International Airport in Maine, and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
Deconstructing Stigma in Connecticut
Bradley International Airport eagerly welcomed Deconstructing Stigma, McLean Hospital’s award-winning public awareness campaign, to Connecticut. Known as the gateway to Connecticut, Bradley International Airport sees more than 1 million travelers annually.
The exhibit, which was seen in art cases throughout the airport pre-security, was developed specifically for Bradley, featuring individuals from Connecticut and beyond who have experienced mental health challenges themselves and in their families.
The volunteers who participate in Deconstructing Stigma in Connecticut share their stories to encourage others to seek care and to know they are not alone. While they may have diverse backgrounds, they all have at least one thing in common—they have all been affected by mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. And all have been brought together as part of Deconstructing Stigma.
While McLean has been actively working with organizations across the United States and around the world to install Deconstructing Stigma in public spaces, the collaboration in Connecticut has a very personal connection for a local resident.
Ann Dagle, who lost her son Brian to suicide, is a mental health advocate and volunteer for Deconstructing Stigma. In telling her story as part of the Deconstructing Stigma campaign, Ann’s goal is to raise awareness about mental illness and suicide prevention.
As the founder of Brian’s Healing Hearts (The Brian Dagle Foundation), Ann used her story and her voice to advocate to bring Deconstructing Stigma to Bradley. Thanks to her efforts and close collaboration, the Cultural Coalition and Greater Hartford Arts Council permitted McLean to use their rotating art display cases at Bradley to showcase Deconstructing Stigma from October 2022 through March 2023.
The entire Deconstructing Stigma team is deeply grateful for Ann’s advocacy on our behalf and for the collaborative and inclusive support of the Cultural Coalition and Greater Hartford Arts Council.
Learn more about the Bradley International Airport exhibit.
Facts About Mental Health in Connecticut
- It is estimated that 531,000 adults in Connecticut have a mental health condition
- In Connecticut, 121,000 adults have a serious mental illness
- 40,000 children and adolescents ages 12-17 in Connecticut have depression
- 2,905 people in Connecticut are homeless and 1 in 8 live with a serious mental illness
- In Connecticut, 419 lives were lost to suicide and 125,000 adults had thoughts of suicide in the last year
- People in Connecticut who identify as Hispanic and multiracial are experiencing a higher burden of symptoms of depression than other racial or ethnic groups
- In Connecticut, 16% of the overall population typically experiences depression; this rate is highest among young adults and decreases with age
- The Household Pulse Survey data suggests that this pattern of increased rates of depression in young adults has been repeating itself during the COVID-19 pandemic
Many organizations throughout Connecticut offer support and services to individuals and families in need. Find Connecticut-specific resources.