Naveed Arif Iqball Award Recipient Hannah Becker on Sharing Our Stories to Reduce Stigma

iqball award

Applications for the 2022 Naveed Arif Iqball Award are now open
Apply by September 11, 2022!

Sharing personal stories about mental illness can help reinforce feelings of strength and perseverance–not only for the storyteller but for the listeners and facilitators as well. Hannah Becker, Clinical Science doctoral student at the University of Michigan, has been helping older adolescents and young adults exercise their storytelling prowess since receiving the annual Naveed Arif Iqball Award for Mental Health Advocacy and Stigma Reduction award in fall 2021. 

In January 2022, Hannah launched her podcast Syllabus for Overcoming Stigma and welcomed a handful of brave voices to take up the microphone to share stories that help themselves and others learn more about the complexities of living through and with mental illness. These unique stories cover a range of topics from bipolar disorder to gender dysphoria and depression to medical trauma and anxiety. Since its launch, the podcast has helped reach hundreds of listeners by sharing these stories as well as educational and treatment resources and a mental illness stigma survey.

 While listeners reported that the podcast improved their knowledge of mental illness and helped normalized symptoms they may experience, the podcast has also had a profound impact on the show’s guests and Hannah herself:

“Each one of the guests shared that the recording experience was especially meaningful and helpful towards their own healing. . .One other surprise was how my conversations with podcast guests changed my own beliefs about mental illness. Although I am in the mental healthcare field, there were some parts of these disorders that I did not fully understand until hearing podcast guests speak about them. This was helpful for challenging any unconscious stigma I might have held and helping me become a more educated and empathetic clinician.”

Listen to Hannah’s podcast available on Spotify and Apple podcasts. If you are interested in being a guest on her podcast, fill out the form here.


Led by the Eisenberg Family Depression Center, the annual Naveed Arif Iqball Award for Mental Health Advocacy and Stigma Reduction supports new and innovative community initiatives that raise mental health awareness through a $2,000 grant. To learn more about the award and apply for the 2022 round of proposals, visit

We are grateful to Arif Iqball of Kyoto, Japan for establishing this award in memory of his son Naveed, and to the many other generous donors who have made contributions to support this annual award.