McLean Hospital is expanding its award-winning mental health public awareness campaign, Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding areas. Through this effort, we hope to bring a message of resilience, hope, and education to the Steel City.
What Is Mental Health Stigma?
It is not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, and anxious at some point in their lives. All too often, people do not seek help for these common and highly treatable symptoms because they are fearful of being judged by friends, family, or health care providers. Some may even feel that by seeking help, they are weak or “crazy.” That is the negative power of stigma. Stigma prevents people from getting the help they need.
What Is Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life?
Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life is a series of larger-than-life photographs and interviews with people from across the United States who have been affected by mental illness. Its initial physical installation opened in December 2016 at Boston’s Logan International Airport.
The installation, the website, and the companion book serve to capture the complexity of living with a psychiatric disorder, seeking treatment, navigating insurance and health care systems, and facing stigma.
Told through the eyes of its participants, the campaign boldly tears down the misconceptions of what those with mental illness look like. The volunteers in this project are more than just statistics or nameless faces. They are mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, lawyers, doctors, engineers, musicians, and more. Each one has been affected by mental illness, and each one has also faced stigma.
How Can You Help?
Volunteer your story and be part of changing perceptions! If you live with a mental health condition including substance use, depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder, we want to hear from you! We are looking for individuals and families of all ages to be photographed and have their story shared publicly. Let’s work together to show others in the Pittsburgh community that they are not struggling alone.