Music We Love: "Mental Hospital" by Kevin Earley

Kevin Earley is the talent behind this beautiful song. I met Kevin back in 2007 when I began attending DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance) group meetings. Once a week, we'd meet in a small room, sitting in chairs set up in a circle, and we'd go around the room and take turns sharing. Never once did he mention his dad, the author. Or at least, not that I remembered.

In 2006, his father's book was released. Crazy: A Father's Search Through American's Mental Health Madness is Pete Earley's tenth book which became a 2007 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. My parents and I had read it, but I never realized that the book was partly about Kevin, until he handed out a flyer about a talk his dad was giving in the area and I made the connection. The book is incredible and I have recommended it countless times. My husband and I went to see Pete talk at a local police station one evening, and I can recall the pain in his voice as he retold his family's story and his passion for advocating for imperative changes to our mental health system.

"Crazy" (referring to the state of the mental health system, and not people living with mental illness) is not only the story of what Kevin (referred to by his middle name, Mike, in the book) went through when his illness emerged and his family desperately tried to get him the help he needed, but also an investigative look into our country's jails and prisons which have become our new mental asylums. On his blog, Pete says he wrote the book "as a wake-up call to expose how persons with mental illness are ending up behind bars when what they need is help, not punishment."

Kevin and I kept in touch over the years and when I came up with the idea for This Is My Brave last summer, I immediately thought of him and his music. We met up to talk about the show and I asked him if he'd consider auditioning to be a part of the cast. He made me so happy when he said, "Definitely!" and I knew he'd create an awesome rap to audition with. Kevin did not disappoint, and his dad showed his support for our show by posting about This Is My Brave on his blog.

Kevin's song "Mental Hospital" is a sample of the passionate original music you'll hear when This Is My Brave hits the stage in May.

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