BOISE, Idaho — Next weekend, Boise will serve as host for a special event. This Is My Brave: The Show is hitting the stage to help change the conversation around mental health.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in five American adults face mental health issues, yet the conversation around mental illness continues to carry shame and silence. This Is My Brave is a national, non-profit organization that's dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness through storytelling. So far, over 700 people have shared their stories in 59 performances across the United States and Australia.
Community members will share true stories about their personal challenges with mental illness and health. The stories open a dialogue, creating new opportunities for participants and audiences to thoughtfully engage around the topic of mental health.
Performances include perspectives on any form of mental illness including: depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD, and more. Their stories are shared through spoken word essay, poetry, dance, or original songs. Caregivers and loved ones are also encouraged to participate.
This Is My Brave supports storytellers through a strong online network of fellow cast members. Stories are filmed at every show, shared online via YouTube, and alumni will often share updates and written pieces through TIMB.
Erin Lorensen and Siva Laughlin are producing this year's show in Boise. Lorensen is a registered nurse and a former psychiatric nurse living with Bipolar Disorder, anxiety and depression who understands mental illness from a number of perspectives. She produced and performed in Boise's This Is My Brave productions in 2017 and 2018.
A writer, blogger and advocate, Laughlin first shared her story in 2018 during a performance with TIMB. She spoke about living with Bipolar II Disorder, clinical depression, and borderline personality disorder.
"Managing mental illness is no different than managing something medical, like cancer or diabetes," says Laughlin. "As a Type 1 diabetic, I have to take insulin several times a day for my survival. Living with mental illness is much the same in that I require a team of professionals, ensuring that I receive proper medication, therapy, and all the resources I need to survive every single day."
Cast member Brooke Lacey is also sharing her story on the stage and over the airwaves. Lacey's podcast, Mental Illness Life, launched in February and covers topics like living with anxiety, setting boundaries and teen depression. You can check out all the episodes here.
This Is My Brave will be on stage for a one-day only event. It's happening Saturday, October 19 at the Boise State Special Event Center. The show is from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.
Mental health professionals will be on hand for any audience members who need support during the performance. Due to some adult content and strong language, parental guidance is advised for children under 13.