Maria Halphen is originally from Sweden and an international collaborator on stigma research. She was inspired by the harrowing experiences of Susie Hincks, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As a result of further discussions with the wider mental health community, Maria gained valuable insights into the issues faced by those living with mental illness. Maria decided to devote her time and energy to create a foundation for encouraging and coordinating research at an international level and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness through communication and education. Maria is also the President of the Philippe and Maria Halphen Foundation, which is under the auspices of the French Academy of Science in Paris, France.