Breaking the Silence
A Queen’s professor of community health and epidemiology, and self-described "stigma-buster," Heather Stuart addressed a mixed audience of Queen’s alumni and mental health professionals at Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox.
We're here to break the silence.
They came to hear her give the first annual Bell Lecture on Mental Health and Anti-Stigma on June 25, 2013. The home of Toronto’s annual film festival might seem an unusual venue for a lecture, but this was no dry academic exercise. Rather, it was an appeal, a call to action.
It's the silence that surrounds mental illness and our attitudes towards it that Stuart wants to break. It is the silence that stops us from understanding those suffering from mental illness. It is the silence the stigma surrounding mental illness imposes on its sufferers: a stigma that stops them from seeking help. "Our goal tonight," she told the audience, "is to take mental illness out from under the shroud of secrecy."
It is a goal to which Heather Stuart has dedicated her career. In recognition of her important work, in February 2012, she became the first ever holder of the Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Thanks to Bell's generous $1,000,000 donation to the Initiative Campaign, Dr. Stuart can dedicate herself to developing and disseminating best practices for reducing stigma, hire research assistants and reach out through conferences and talks such as this one. Bell's investment in her will help those struggling with the stigma of mental illness to gain greater understanding and acceptance.
"Start talking about mental illness," Stuart tells her audience. "And realize that you can be part of a solution."
WATCH on iTunesU: Breaking the Silence: Let's Talk About the Stigma of Mental Illness
The Annual Bell Canada Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair Lecture, featuring Dr. Heather Stuart and award-winning author James Fitzgerald.
June 25, 2013
WATCH in iTunesU: BringChange2Mind Lecture
Actress and mental-health advocate Glenn Close on her work with the organization she co-founded to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with mental illness.
June 12, 2013.
LISTEN on iTunesU: Convocation address by the mental-health advocate and honorary degree recipient, Glenn Close
June 13, 2013.