June 12, 2013
Bell and Queen’s University today announced the launch of the Annual Bell Lecture on Mental Health and Anti-Stigma, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.
The inaugural lecture, entitled Breaking the Silence, will be held on June 25 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto and will feature leading mental health researcher Heather Stuart and award-winning author James FitzGerald. Michael Landsberg, popular host of TSN’s Off the Record, will be the master of ceremonies.
“The Annual Bell Lecture aims at sparking a dialogue between scholars, people affected by mental illness and the wider community,” says Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University. “Queen’s is proud to partner with Bell to launch this lecture series and work towards reducing the stigma often associated with mental illness.”
Dr. Stuart is a world-leading researcher and the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. Where much research around stigma has focused on the beliefs of the general public, Dr. Stuart works to describe and understand the experience of stigma from the perspective of people directly affected by mental illness and their families. She will discuss the nature and causes of mental illness stigma.
Mr. FitzGerald is author of the powerful memoir What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son’s Quest to Redeem the Past, which won the 2012 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for three other major literary awards. He will recount his own struggle to understand and avoid the fates of his grandfather and father – two prominent medical doctors who were plunged to the depths of suicidal depression.
“Bell is very pleased to work closely with Queen’s University to support anti-stigma research and mental health awareness, including funding the world’s first chair in anti-stigma research,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “The Annual Bell Lecture on Mental Health and Anti-Stigma will broaden the discussion to help fight the stigma, which remains the single biggest barrier to people seeking help.”
The Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair was established at Queen’s in 2012 with a donation of $1-million from Bell Let’s Talk to the Queen’s Initiative Campaign.