The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), in collaboration with McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, has launched an Israeli iteration of McLean’s international campaign to combat the stigma surrounding mental health.
Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health is an award-winning campaign originally launched in 2016 at Boston Logan Airport. Last month, the McLean team officially unveiled its Jerusalem installations at JCT’s Tal and Lev Campuses and at Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
The display features life-sized posters of individuals with mental health challenges who volunteered to publicly and boldly share their personal struggles.
The purpose of the campaign is to highlight the complexity of living with a psychiatric disorder, seeking treatment, navigating insurance and health care systems, and facing stigma.
“We are honored to have partnered with volunteers from across Israel, who chose to be part of Deconstructing Stigma and share their stories to increase mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and provide hope to individuals and families,” said Scott J. O’Brien, director of Education Outreach for McLean and co-founder of Deconstructing Stigma.
“This campaign is about all of us. It’s about recognizing that each one of us—at some point in our lives—will experience mental health challenges. It’s about accepting that there is no shame in living with mental illness, that we are not alone in our struggles, and that it is OK to ask for help.”
Inspired by seeing the posters at Logan Airport, Stuart Katz, founding director of OGEN – Association for the Advancement of Mental Health in Israel, was determined to bring the initiative to Israel and helped spark the partnership between McLean and JCT.
Katz and Dr. Zvika Orr, a senior lecturer at JCT’s Selma Jelinek School of Nursing, are spearheading the campaign at JCT.