BOSTON >> Nurse practitioner Ann Roselle of Bethany is participating in a new mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaign expected to reach several million people.
She, along with volunteers musicians and librarians, fashion designers and fitness instructors, actors, athletes and artists, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers — all of whom have all been affected by mental illness and its stigma — are brought together in a new photographic exhibit that debuted Dec. 9 at Logan International Airport. The 235-foot gallery is between terminals B and C.
The participants’ photos and stories can be seen on deconstructingstigma.org.
The exhibit is part of a national campaign sponsored by McLean Hospital, with Logan Airport and several mental health advocacy groups, with the goal of changing the way mental illness is perceived.
“Deconstructing Stigma: A Change in Thought Can Change a Life,” includes larger-than-life photographs of people who have shared their stories with the hope of changing how people with psychiatric illness are seen.
Roselle, 41, who works at a local psychiatric care and research center, was diagnosed with postpartum depression soon after her twins were born.
“If the kids were waking up crying because they were hungry during the night, I would fly into a rage,” said Roselle.
“I threw pillows across the room because I didn’t want to get up.”
Despite seeking therapy and taking medication, she continued to struggle.
“Everything got worse,” she explained. “I went from not getting out of bed to not getting out of bed and planning my suicide.”
Throughout her journey to find the right help, Roselle had difficulty accessing mental health care.
Psychologists and therapists often had long waiting lists and didn’t take her health insurance.
Psychiatric hospitals didn’t have available beds, and when they did, they stuck her in a room with three others. It wasn’t until she learned that she was misdiagnosed — she actually had bipolar disorder — that she finally started on the road to recovery. She has not been hospitalized in three years.
Also lending his voice to the campaign is Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, the founding member of the hip hop group Run-DMC. Although he seemed to have everything a person could want, what the public couldn’t see was that depression and alcohol abuse were destroying his spirit and his body.
“I had everything, I was the King of Rock, we were touring, making money, and everyone knew who we were. But I didn’t feel right and not a day passed that I didn’t think about suicide,” McDaniels said.
Today, McDaniels, 52, is back in the recording studio, has a best-selling book about his experience with mental illness, and has become a vocal mental health advocate.
For more information about McLean, visit mcleanhospital.org or follow the hospital on Facebook or Twitter.