During my time as Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma, I personally witnessed the power of the AIR program, and its positive impact on young people. It was palpable, it was real, and there is no doubt in my mind that it made a difference in the lives of every participant, not just students, but parents and faculty as well.
Just as each Holocaust Museum visitor assumes the identity of a Holocaust victim, the powerful IN THEIR SHOES™ display literally draws individuals not only into the shoes, but also into the minds of youth who struggle with mental health disorders and suicidal thoughts. Metaphorically, stopping the participants in their tracks as a result of the high impact, this is a profound way to build empathy and eliminate stigma.
The IN THEIR SHOES™ display is literally breathtaking. The power of seeing all those empty shoes stops you in your tracks and sends a poignant message that serves as an invaluable tool in the efforts to prevent suicide.