End Stigma

Everyone plays a role in ending stigma in our society

Stigma -- a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person -- can be one of the primary barriers to seeking treatment and support for mental health issues, substance use disorder and other health issues. At Indiana University, we are committed to addressing this issue through the U Bring Change to Mind initiative, a student-led program created by Bernice Pescosolido, a professor at Indiana University, and acclaimed actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close.

Shame, isolation and fear should never prevent someone from seeking the help and support they need. "A Conversation With ..." campaign brings together famous IU visitors, students, faculty and staff, who are sharing their own personal stories in an effort to put an end to stigma.

Zak Williams, mental health advocate and son of actor Robin Williams, discusses his work with Bring Change to Mind and the importance of talking openly about his own mental health struggles.

Description of the video:

*Music Begins*

[Video/animation: “A Conversation with Zak Williams” moves in and fades onto screen along with the IU logo and an animated depiction of Zak Williams. Everything fades to white]

*Music Fades Out*

*Music Begins*

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “My name is Zach Williams. I'm a mental health advocate and a board member of the mental health non-profit Bring Change to Mind.”

[Video/animation: “Zak Williams” slides into upper part of frame as the animated depiction of Zak also slides up into center frame from bottom. An image of a brain slides into the left side of the screen while the Bring Change to Mind logo slides into the frame on the right.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “Bring Change to Mind is a mental health non-profit focused on providing peer-to-peer resources at schools led by students.”

[Video/animation: Bring Change to Mind logo grows large and reduces to medium size in the center of frame. Zak’s animation hands drag in a brain to the left of the frame and his right hand draws an image of a group of students conversing. These images slide out of frame as an image of the U.S. slides into frame while green dots appear over the map as a number counter counts up to show numbers changing up to 246. Zak’s hand pushes in an image of a high school graduate in cap and gown in front of the map.”

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “It is focused on removing the stigma associated with mental health.”

[Video/animation: Zak’s hand pushes in a brain into the center of the frame while stigma related words drop onto and bounce off of the brain falling out of the bottom of the frame. The brain fades to white]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover:  “Bring Change to Mind exists on the Indiana University campus as a University Bring Change to Mind Program.”

[Video/animation: The Bring Change to Mind logo fades in from white and moves to the left revealing the IU logo as it moves to the left. Zak’s hand enter frame reaching out of the top of frame to drag in the University Bring Change to Mind logo as the other logos fade to white.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “The program enables and empowers a community of individuals who care about the topic of mental health to connect and to discuss their personal issues and the issues that they are going through in general.”

[Video/animation: The University Bring Change to Mind logo shrinks and moves to the top of the frame. Zak’s hand grabs out of frame to the left dragging in a group of students conversing placing it under the logo as a yellow light fades in under the logo over the students. Zak’s hand drags in image of two people conversing in a college lounge area, then drags it out of frame to the left.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “I think it's important for Bring Change to Mind to have a home and college campuses throughout the United States because college students often are going into an environment on their own for the first time.”

[Video/animation: Image of U.S. map appears while Zak’s hand drags the Bring Change to Mind logo over the map from left to right turning the grey map green. The map fades to white. Zak’s hand pushes in an image of the back of a female student with a back pack on into center of frame from the bottom of frame. Image of school hallway appears as background. The image of the female moves up and down to appear walking. The background changes to various different college hallway spaces.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “And it's isolating. It can feel disconnecting. It can be scary. I've dealt with depression and anxiety over the course of my life and I've found it difficult to talk about what I was going through because at times I felt like it wasn’t important.”

[Video/animation: “Zak’s hands drag in and drag out the words “isolating”, “disconnecting”, and “scary” as they are said by Zak. Zak’s animated depiction rises up from the bottom of the frame while “anxiety” and “depression” orbits around his head. “I FELT LIKE IT WASN’T IMPORTANT” fades in on the upper half of the screen and Zak moves down to where his eyes are peaking over the bottom of the frame. Zak leaves frame below and words fade to white.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: ”I still struggle with that. I'm getting better, certainly, but the sigma still exists for me.”

[Video/animation: A banner with “Indiana University” slides down from top of frame, a podium and zak behind it slides in from bottom. Zak’s mouth moves to the words being spoken.]

Zak Williams speaks in voiceover: “It's important for people who are struggling with mental health issues to communicate with their peers. Because finding connection and commonality and ways to truly bond, especially if you're going through a difficult time, is healing in so many different ways. It also provides an opportunity for people to find support that they wouldn't otherwise have found and also to be able to find a deeper connection with themselves.”

[Video/animation: One by one a triangular important sign appears and moves to left of screen, a brain appears and moves to center, “communication” moving around clockwise in a circle appears and moves right. Zak’s hand pushes in “PEER TO PEER SUPPORT” to the top of the frame. Images fade out and Zak’s hands push in two figures of people whose black circular heads turn into yellow smiley faces as yellow plus symbols bounce back and forth between the two people. The black bodies turn from black to yellow from the bottom up and each person has a red beating heart that appears on their chests. Zak’s hand enters frame and moves everything out of frame to the left revealing real footage of Zak Williams sitting speaking the words in the voiceover to the camera.]

*Music Fades Out*

*Music Fades In*

[Video/animation: Indiana University logo and end title fades in then fades out. “BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS” appears on a white background with the IU logo at the bottom of the screen. This all faades to white and the University Bring Change to Mind logo fades in from white. All fades to black.]

*Music Fades Out*

Here's what you can do.

Everyone plays a role in making the world a stigma-free place. Below are links to resources to learning more about stigma, what you can do to fight against it and available support.