Thanks to the commitment and determination of colleagues throughout New Hampshire, McLean has been able to bring Deconstructing Stigma to the Granite State.
Installed at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in May 2023, the exhibit features individuals from New Hampshire and beyond who have volunteered to share their experiences living with mental illness as part of the international stigma reduction campaign, Deconstructing Stigma.
Why New Hampshire?
Launched in 2016, Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health, was created to engage audiences in conversation about mental illness by using compelling imagery and real-life stories in thought-provoking displays in unexpected places, such as airports, universities, malls, and sports arenas.
McLean was approached in 2022 by Kate Sullivan from the New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association asking about our interest in partnering to bring the Deconstructing Stigma campaign to a prominent location in New Hampshire.
Building a collaborative partnership with colleagues at the airport and in the local government, an exhibit specifically created for the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport quickly came together, and now Deconstructing Stigma can be found across from baggage claim 3-5.
Reducing Stigma in New Hampshire
Hailing from across New Hampshire and beyond, the volunteers who participate in Deconstructing Stigma are sharing their stories to encourage people from their communities to seek care and to know they are not alone.
Our volunteers are people just like you: moms, dads, sisters, wives, brothers, daughters, and sons.
While they may have diverse backgrounds, they all have at least one thing in common—they have all been affected by mental health challenges and the stigma that surrounds it. And all have been brought together as part of Deconstructing Stigma.
Lisa, one of our volunteers from New Hampshire, decided to participate in the Deconstructing Stigma campaign because as someone who lives with borderline personality and substance use disorders, she has seen firsthand how the stigma of mental illness can impact a person’s ability to seek treatment.
She worries that the stigma will prevent those who have similar disorders from seeking help.
“Throughout the years, when I shared my condition with friends, they would say ‘whoa,’ and then put a wall up. People don’t know how to address mental health issues. I encourage everyone to ask questions and be understanding,” says Lisa.
“We all have something … some kind of challenge. People need to realize that. Don’t be afraid to deal with what is in front of you. The other side is so much better.”
Many organizations throughout New Hampshire offer support and services to individuals and families in need.