In 2016, McLean Hospital launched Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health, a global mental health awareness initiative focused on expanding public understanding and eliminating the stigma associated with psychiatric disorders.
Since its inception, Deconstructing Stigma (DS) has focused on using storytelling to bring communities and cultures together around a single topic: mental health and its impact. DS has served to launch McLean’s education outreach program, which continues to leverage and expand DS while also developing additional public education programming and intervention curricula that increase understanding about mental illness and encourage compassion for individuals and families directly affected by these disorders.
Custom Needs Assessment
Working with schools, universities, hospitals, corporations, and government agencies in the United States and abroad, McLean’s education outreach activities deliver a highly customized learning experience based on each organization’s needs. This includes developing onsite trainings, a curriculum, and print and digital material based on each organization’s educational goals, key audiences, and resource needs.
Unique and Effective Approach
The McLean team employs a multipronged approach to introduce complex themes and discussion points around mental health and mental health stigma to lay audiences in an easily accessible and culturally sensitive manner. This includes:
- Lived-experience storytelling by volunteers from the DS campaign, with each presentation customized to ensure optimal audience engagement based on demographics, including age and cultural background
- Expert coping skills training conducted by McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School clinicians
- Delivery of print and web-based accessible education material
- A portable and customized DS physical display that can be installed temporarily at each site
- Hands-on demonstrations using a real human brain leading to engaged and interested audiences
Impact Locally and Beyond
To date, McLean has been invited to deliver its destigmatizing messages to ten states, seven countries, and five continents. Local, national, and international partners include the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the International OCD Foundation, the University of San Francisco, Quito, and Home of Brains, Kenya.
Impact By the Numbers
- 3+ million travelers have seen the exhibit at Logan Airport
- 15 million impressions on social media
- 12,000 media placements (television, newspapers, blogs)
- 30,000 children and adults exposed to in-person trainings/talks about mental health stigma
- 1,500 downloads a week of Mindful Things, a podcast produced by McLean