1) Tell us a bit about yourself
Gianna Santoro is a junior at Rutgers University, where she studies social work. Born and raised in Central Jersey (yes, it exists!), Gianna is eager to one day practice therapy there. She is a writer for The Mighty, and loves writing poetry, volunteering, finding new music to listen to, and visiting coffee shops. Mental health advocacy is a cause close to Gianna’s heart, so she is humbled and proud to be a part of This Is My Brave.
2) How has mental illness affected your life?
Mental illness is both the best and worst thing that has happened to me. One one hand, mental illness has caused my worst days: days when I struggle to connect with others, days when I don’t want to wake up in the morning. However, on the other hand, mental illness has brought me to some of the biggest blessings of my life: closer friendships, my future career, and the confidence that I am not alone. I’m not that shy girl in the corner anymore. I have learned how to advocate for myself and for others.
3) Why did you want to be part of This is My Brave?
My decision to audition for This Is My Brave was an easy one. I wanted to be a part of the show because my personal values align perfectly with the mission of This Is My Brave. I believe talking about our struggles changes and saves lives. I experienced how opening up to others and allowing myself to be vulnerable has saved my own life, and how much I have benefitted from hearing the stories of others. Above all, I want to make an impact on how people view a person living with mental illness, and This Is My Brave is the perfect platform for that.
4) What inspires you to stay mentally healthy?
My dreams and aspirations definitely keep me on a path to wellness. I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t accomplish the things I want most in life. That’s why I make sure that if I feel myself getting bad again, I take the time to practice self-care. I write, I run, I reach out to friends. I know that if my cup is empty, I can’t fill the cup of others. That is my biggest drive.
5) What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
I hope the audience continues the conversation that we are starting long after they leave The Painted Bride. I want them to leave with a sense of strength and hope if they are struggling as well, so that remember that living a successful life in the midst of mental illness is more than possible. I want them to leave with a changed perspective, without any preconceived notions that they may have had about people with mental health issues. Most importantly, I want them to leave knowing that if they see their own story in mine, there is no shame in seeking help.
Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Gianna and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!
Please share this post with friends and family in the Philadelphia area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.