Listen Live

(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) – Indiana University has launched a new mental health institute focusing on how the stigma of mental illness interferes with treatment.

A $3 million donation from the Indianapolis Colts’ owners will create the Irsay Family Research Institute. The Irsays launched the “Kicking the Stigma” campaign a year ago, to encourage people not to shy away from mental health treatment if they need it. Colts co-owner and vice chair Kalen Irsay Jackson says the goal is to make the new Irsay Family Research Institute the nation’s leading research center on the subject.

IU sociology professor Bernice Pescosolido will lead the institute. She’s studied the issue of stigma for more than two decades, but says there’s been a shortage of studies exploring how to break down that barrier to help people get treatment.

Pescosolido and Jackson say the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened mental health issues, but has also raised awareness of the importance of mental health and human connection.

The institute’s work is already underway — it’ll move into a home of its own in Morrison Hall next January.