People Living With Mental Illness Are Taking To The Stage To Tell Their Stories

To be human is to face challenges both internal and external. And sometimes, admitting that we're going through hard times feels even scarier than facing them alone. But it is almost always the case that sharing stories of hardship and struggle with others helps, not hurts.


That is the driving idea behind This Is My Brave, a nonprofit organization that facilitates the sharing of stories as a method of ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Their mission statement explains in more detail the very public way that This Is My Brave gets personal narratives out there: "personal stories of individuals who are living successful, full lives despite mental illness through poetry, essays and original music, on stage and in front of a live audience."

Jennifer Marshall is one of the founders of This Is My Brave. As someone who lives with bipolar disorder, Jennifer has experienced firsthand the fear of talking about mental illness—but also the freedom and happiness that comes from doing just that.

When Jennifer started blogging about her experience with bipolar under her own name, friends and acquaintances came out of the woodwork. They thanked her. They shared their own stories. They lamented that more people weren't doing this. So Jennifer decided that it was past time to organize people living with mental illnesses within an organization that would help them tell their stories. She started This Is My Brave.

The first "This Is My Brave" show took place in Virginia in May 2014, for a sold-out crowd of 400. More than 500 performers have shared stories of coping successfully with mental illness in a number of shows in the years since, including events in Boston, Denver, New York and Washington, D.C.

Learn more about This Is My Brave and its mission of spreading hope and confidence by visiting their website.
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