Meet Kansas City Cast Members Mary, Janie, and Robin

We are thrilled to introduce you to several of our Kansas City cast members today! The Kansas City show is only 10 days away - Sunday, May 7th at 2pm the H & R Block City Stage at Union Station.

Mary L. Schmidt

Mary L. Schmidt

Mary L. Schmidt

When I was younger, I loved reading a certain type of literature: The Bell Jar, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Lisa, Bright and Dark, etc. Some might say those books romanticized mental illness, but for me, they helped me to understand. The story I share on stage might seem romanticized also, but I think it is important to know our history. We need to see how far we have come and how far we still need to go with mental health. We need to keep listening and learning. We need to keep telling our stories.

 

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Janie Sparks

Janie Sparks

Janie Sparks

Hi, I'm Janie. On May 7th I'll be preforming some poetry at This is My Brave, Kansas City. I play rugby and roller derby, I participate in poetry slams, I work part-time, and am studying to teach middle school English. Meanwhile, I also work to treat and manage anxiety and depression. In the midst of a busy schedule, I used to neglect mental health care, allocating little to no time to it.

Lately, with the support of my teams, my friends and my workplace, I have been finding more success and fulfillment in my activities. I'd like people to walk away from the show feeling like mental health care is not something to be ignored or postponed, and mental illness is not something shameful, embarrassing, or uncommon. I've decided to speak because the first time I preformed publicly talking about mental health, people came to me after the show to tell me how much they needed to hear what I'd had to say. I think that the openness of events like This is My Brave is vital for people who are feeling alone. For that reason also, I hope that people walk away from the show feeling together with the performers, and with the rest of the audience.

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Robin Helget

My name is Robin Helget, and I am 26 years old. I grew up in a small town in Kansas and moved to Kansas City for my last year of graduate school in 2013. I have always had a heart for giving, for helping, and for talking with people who are going through trenches, so I became a mental health therapist. Throughout my career, I have worked with both children and adults who deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from previous abuse or trauma, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

I thought I had found my calling and had a distinct plan for my life until the summer of 2015 when I became a victim of rape. I later developed PTSD and have been figuring out what my life is going to be living with this disorder and continuing to help those in the mental health profession. I never thought I’d be on the other side of the couch.

However, this event both changed me and empowered me to speak out, offer support and community, create a place of healing, and to work toward changing at least one person’s world through my story. In October 2016, I created myrisestory.com: a website that offers all these things in addition to online coaching with me where I help people transform their lives, overcome adversity, and become the people they have always dreamed of no matter what trials and mountains they have had to climb.

Robin Helget

Robin Helget

My mission is to help others rise by building resilience, finding identity, and cultivating strength and empowerment. I am determined to build people up in a world that is fighting to bring them down. For me, I know I have to stay in shape mentally so that I can be the best version of myself and help as many people as I can.

I am a mental health therapist and work primarily as a play therapist with children in the Kansas City Metro at a private practice called Resolve. I am a recovering perfectionist, a Type A personality, and a survivor. I am a dog mama, a runner, and someone who struggles daily to overcome depression, anxiety, and memories from a traumatic event that forever changed my life.

I chose to become a part of This is My Brave because I know there are other people out there who need to hear "Me too". These two words have become extremely powerful in my life and hearing them from others has become something that I very much need in my life. After hearing my story, I hope people will be inspired to take their own struggles and mountains they've been climbing and use them to become stronger, more resilient and better version of themselves.

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Tickets on sale now! Come hear our brave storytellers shine a light on mental illness, and join our movement to end stigma one story at a time.