We are very excited to introduce you to our first Jacksonville cast member and producer, Jeanine Hoff! The Jacksonville show will be held on Saturday, May 20th at Friday Musicale, Inc.
We asked Jeanine to share her story.
As the Founder and President of Where is the Sunshine?, I knew as soon as I read about the show in Oprah magazine that I needed to bring it to our city. Several days later, friend and fellow mental health advocate, Sarah Fader, shared a story from the Washington Post that featured Jennifer Marshall, and I knew I was making the right choice. Having experienced discrimination and having been told not to share my struggles with depression and anxiety because they were “embarrassing,” I realized voices such as mine should instead shout it from the roof tops. Where is the Sunshine? was founded in February 2016 after I had suffered in silence for quite some time as I was unable to find others who could relate to what I was going through.
Friends and family were supportive but “just didn’t get it.” Tired of being told to “snap out of it” or “it will be better in a few days,” I decided that I was going to create a model that focused on peer support and early intervention through community collaboration. My number one goal is to never let anyone get to the point of suffering that I did. Where is the Sunshine? serves as a conduit between our local grassroots organizations, national organizations, hospitals and others.
Some of our favorite local partners include I Still Matter, which focuses on healing through art; Mind Over Music Movement, which educates the public through concerts; Active Minds at the University of North Florida; and the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Association of Jacksonville. Together we work to bring awareness, understanding and support wherever needed.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to have this incredible program presented in our city. After I presented at TEDx Jacksonville this past fall, I was told that more voices like mine need to be heard. That is exactly what this program does. It brings people together who have struggled and instead of having them commiserate, it celebrates their triumphs. It celebrates their success, strength and survival. What better way to de-stigmatize mental illness but to show our community that mental illness affects individuals who look just like them and that it is survivable.