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How This Is My Brave Is Empowering Women in Honor of Mental Health Month

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Sara Bareilles beautifully sings lyrics from her song, “Brave”:

Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, This is My BRAVE will host a Women’s Mental Health Summit in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The event will feature an all-female cast of BRAVE storytellers who will share personal stories about the impact mental illness has had on their lives. Keynote speaker Elizabeth Vargas and Washington Post reporter Colby Itkowitz will discuss Vargas’ new book, “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction,” followed by a book signing.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, when organizations and individuals focus on circulating the message that mental illness is serious and is just as important as physical health. This is My BRAVE, a nonprofit organization that believes in the power of storytelling, does just that. There’s strength found in people coming together and propelling a movement forward toward a common goal.

For people living with mental illness, the bravery to “out themselves” sits below the shame people sometimes feel before they break their silence. However, when a person tells their story, it not only affects the audience in hopes to reduce stigma, but removes any shame that the storyteller has been carrying, now that the secret is no more.

The World Health Organization recently published data showing that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. More than 300 million people are living with depression. While this is likely a grossly underestimation, it underlines the gravity and magnitude of mental illness.

During the Summit, “Our goal is to bring together women from diverse backgrounds to share stories of resilience in the face of mental health and addiction struggles,” said Jennifer Marshall, Executive Director, This Is My BRAVE. “We want to leave audience members with a sense of hope and community by highlighting local resources where women can find support and help. No one should feel alone when facing mental health challenges or addiction. This is why each of these women’s stories are so critical as we all pledge to end stigma around mental illness and addiction.”

Personal stories, when hidden, carry weight. People need to reach out to others for support and help, which takes tremendous courage. Let’s remember and learn from the words of Sara Bareilles:

Your history of silence
won’t do you any good…did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
why don’t you tell them the truth?

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or click here.

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If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

Lead image provided by the contributor

Originally published: May 20, 2017
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