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Indiana University opens Irsay Institute to address mental health stigma



Bloomington, Indiana – According to Indiana University, a new research institution was launched on Thursday to combat the stigma associated with mental health.

The Irsay Institute’s goal is to establish itself as “a prominent national center for eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness and other health conditions such as HIV, epilepsy, cancer, dementia, and addiction,” according to an IU press release.

“The transformative research taking place at the Irsay Institute will allow IU to strengthen interdisciplinary research addressing stigma and other key health issues while bringing several impactful campus-wide efforts under one umbrella,” said IU President, Pamela Whitten. “We are thankful to the Irsay family for their generous donation and commitment to equipping IU researchers to confront these pressing issues.”

The Irsay Institute’s team of more than 20 sociomedical scientists also aims to address problems with substance abuse disorder, sexuality and reproduction, the health care system, global health, and the impact of climate on health. The Jim Irsay family’s $3 million donation helped make the project possible in part.

The Irsay Institute has a connection to achieving the objectives of the Colts’ Kicking the Stigma project because Jim Irsay is the primary owner of the team. The Kicking the Stigma campaign is, “an endeavor to promote awareness about mental and reduce the stigma associated with mental health illnesses,” as noted in the IU press release.

“When we decided to launch Kicking the Stigma and address the mental health crisis in our state and country, we learned quickly that some of the nation’s best research was already taking place right here at Indiana University,” said Indianapolis Colts Vice Chair, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, and Irsay Family representative, Kalen Jackson.

The Irsay Institute is collaborating with Project Healthy Minds, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Bring Change to Mind, and the World Psychiatric Association’s United Against Stigma program in addition to Kicking the Stigma.

“Through this collaboration, we have been able to develop new opportunities to escalate our scientific, policy and community efforts to improve the health of Indiana and the U.S. more broadly,” said the Director of IU’s Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services and Irsay Institute Director, Bernice Pescosolido. “With our new space in Morrison Hall and continued partnership with the Indianapolis Colts, our researchers, teachers and students will be able to push further and faster.”