Unboxing the stigma around mental health.




Humanities and Social Sciences


ENVS 2100


  • Mike Smith-Cairns
  • Drew Egan

City of Vancouver:

  • Paul Krueger | Street Activities

Student Team:

  • Akemi Rankine-Griffith
  • Derya Whaley-Kalaora
  • Tatiana Rogowsky


  • Healthy City

City goal area:

  • Being and Feeling Safe and Included


Vancouver is suffering from a mental health crisis, only intensified by strenuous social determinants. There is limited access for mental health advice or help, especially to those most at-risk. There is also a stigma, both public and personal, around mental health issues. BlueBox aims to increase awareness of mental health issues and create a platform of community support by providing an anonymous, accessible resource to those affected by mental health issues in Vancouver while activating underused spaces beneath Skytrain lines.

Participants anonymously write a struggle or question on a submission slip and put them in the box. The BlueBoxes are then emptied bi-monthly and the notes inside sorted and responded to by a mental health professional. The requests and responses are also posted to a website/Facebook page/blog, or on a board in the activated space.

BlueBox pairs requests for guidance with professional mental health advice in an anonymous manner. This allows people to be safely heard. The initiative directly activates underused space while also creating a community dialogue around mental health issues.

The Blue Box is a box made out of repurposed wood, painted blue, on a stand so as to elevate it off the ground. It would have a ledge to write on, a compartment for pencils and paper, instructions, and a small slot to put the papers in. It would stand in front of a mural painted by an artist identifying with mental health struggles, thus linking the two objectives of this project; providing a reliable social service and activating public space, cultivating connection and understanding between all parts of our community.

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