A man, flanked on both sides by two out-of-focus figures

Public awareness of mental health issues, as well as people’s willingness to disclose their mental health challenges, seem to be at an all-time high, at least in Western societies. But as some of the stories on this page show, we still have a way to go before mental health conditions are viewed in the same light as other chronic health conditions. Fear and shame are still daunting obstacles for many, and untold numbers of people still suffer in silence. Stigma kills: a primary motivator for suicidal behavior is the belief that mental health conditions are shameful, and that those who have them are defective.

Using improv to enhance confidence, combat stigma that surrounds mental health disorders

When it comes to improving the quality of life for people with mental health and substance use disorders, improvisational comedy is no joke. Just ask Rutgers School of Public Health student Mark Lee, who teaches vulnerable populations to gain confidence, communicate better, be spontaneous and trust others through improvisational exercises.

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