Most of the time, mental illness lives beneath the surface. But the statistics are undeniable. One in four Americans experiences a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Which is why our organization aims to reach not only people who have experienced a mental health disorder, but the general population as well.
Think of the people in your life. We all have more than four people in our lives. This also means that when you meet someone new, chances are they themselves struggle with a mental health disorder or they love someone who does.
Our new hashtag for 2016 is #LiveBrave - and we're going with this because it's time to shed the shame of mental illness. It's time to stop hiding. It's time to start living and this means being brave and talking openly about mental illness.
2016 is the year to Live Brave to end mental illness stigma.
Because by sweeping it under the rug and refusing to acknowledge how much of an impact mental illness has on those we love, contributes to the silence and adds fuel to the fire of stigma. As Brené Brown, one of our favorite writers and researchers says, "If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement."
When someone is going through depression and feels like an outcast because no one recognizes how much pain they are in, that person is less likely to seek professional help. And without help they are more likely to be at risk for suicide.
When we #LiveBrave and share our stories, we shine a light and that light provides hope for those who are searching for a way out of the darkness. Because when the monster of depression grabs hold, a way out feels impossible. Both for the person suffering, and for the caretaker or friend who is trying to be supportive. But it's not impossible to overcome mental illness. Our cast members sharing their stories in our shows are proof that there is hope.
Think of four friends in your life. Chances are high - whether you know it or not - one of them is dealing with a mental health issue right now.
You could be the difference for that person. The difference being whether they're here tomorrow.
We need you to #LiveBrave with us.
Be brave enough to talk about mental health issues. At the very least, with family and close friends.
Be brave enough to tell someone you'll be there to hold their hand, to listen, to go for a walk.
Be brave enough to care.
Be brave enough to want to make a difference in another person's life.
Be brave enough to notice when a fellow human needs some support.
Be brave enough to be that support.
You may need that same support one day.
Announcing our 2016 Spring shows!
Greenville, SC - May 5th (location TBD)
Iowa City - May 13th at the Coralville Performing Arts Center, Coralville, IA
DC-area - May 15th at Spectrum Theater, Arlington, VA
Denver - May 19th at the Oriental Theater
Chicagoland - May 19th at the Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, IN
Stay tuned for audition announcements next week, and in the meantime, please start getting those stories, poems and songs ready to share!