This Is My Brave’s Framework For Recruiting Storytellers, Finding Funding, and Reducing the Mental Health Stigma
This Is My Brave is a nonprofit offering live storytelling performances to raise awareness about mental illness and substance use disorders.
Leesburg, Virginia, July 13, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — This Is My Brave is a nonprofit leveraging the power of storytelling to help college students, adults, and teens creatively express their experiences with mental health challenges. Since Jennifer Marshall founded the organization nine years ago, This Is My Brave has been offering stories of hope on stage, on screen, and online. They have touched over 18,000 people and collaborated with over a thousand storytellers.
Volunteers in cities across the country step forward to produce This Is My Brave shows. Production teams are trained in all aspects of show production, community building, fundraising, marketing, and storyteller recruitment. People interested in producing a show can complete an inquiry form. Stories can be presented as essays, original music, poetry, comedy, or other creative medium
Supporters of This Is My Brave can become Brave champions and Brave ambassadors. Brave champions donate funds monthly while ambassadors are individuals who want to share the message of This Is My Brave in their communities.
In 2016, This Is My Brave completed a study that measured the benefits of their live performances on audiences and storytellers. They discovered that audiences’ attitudes towards recovery, empowerment, and treatment-seeking improved while their perception of public stigma decreased after attending a Brave show. These findings support research that proves contact-based programs like This Is My Brave are the best avenue for fighting mental health stigma.
The mission of This Is My Brave is to empower individuals to speak openly about their experiences with mental illness and substance use disorder. However, they are especially passionate about helping teens. Data trends show over 40% of high school students experience depressive symptoms that interfere with their daily routines for at least two weeks. Female (60%) and LGBTQ+ students (70%) are at higher risk of experiencing these struggles.
50% of mental illnesses begin at age 14. If left unaddressed, these individuals run the risk of living less fulfilled lives and facing both mental and physical impairments later in life. suicide is one of the leading causes of death among 15 to 19-year-olds.
This Is My Brave will establish August as Teen Mental Health Month to promote teen mental health awareness and to encourage everyone to start conversations about mental health that could prove to be life-saving.
This Is My Brave will continue its work across the United States until they have normalized conversations around mental health. They dream of a better future where businesses and governments will support people who need compassion and more resources.
Executive Director Erin Gallagher says, “The stigma around mental health is the one thing that keeps people from asking for help. So if we’re looking at the ultimate goal of This Is My Brave and our Teen Mental Health Month campaign, the vision is that one day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it brave to share openly about our experiences with mental illness and addiction. We’ll simply call it talking.”
Name: Katie Grana
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