“This is My Brave” Pilots Teen Program in Hershey

Katie Jones, Brand Manager

Over 700 adults have shared their story, now it is time for teams to join the show.

Mental health awareness non-profit, This is My Brave, will be piloting their first ever teenager based show at the Hershey Theatre on November 7th. This will also be new for Hershey, as it is the town’s first show that will bring attention to mental illness.

According to This is my Brave,  their mission is to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness. The show features an array of individuals who have dealt with mental illness, addiction, or even have experienced mental illness through a loved one. In order to be featured in the show, individuals must audition in a creative way. Additionally, Marshall recommended that the participants must be in a stable headspace.

In the past, mental illness has been a taboo conversational topic that most people are not comfortable with, however it is being talked about more and more with an empathetic and accepting approach. Whether it means playing music, making art, or reading an essay, This is My Brave helps their audience to understand the nature of mental illness, with the end goal of normalizing conversation surrounding the topic. Though the storytellers share some of their toughest internal struggles, that is not the focus. Storytellers share how they have coped, recovered, and most of all found hope amidst their struggles. 

“This is My Brave was born from the success in creating community mental health storytelling events since 2014,” said Jenn Marshall, founder of This is My Brave.

In the summer of 2014, This is My Brave launched their first ever show, and it has taken off since. They have visited 37 different cities, produced 59 shows, and featured a total of 720 brave adults. Now, Hershey will experience the impact of the program but with a twist. The storytellers will be teens. 

Marshall said it was crucial for her to start a program for teens because suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens. Pbr.org backs this up as well, and said suicide has become the second leading cause of death, surpassing homicide.

Like anything, there will be drawbacks to the new teen program. In the past, adults are able to consent for themselves, so there is only one person involved. With the teen show, the parents will be required to consent as well. Apprehensive parents may make it more difficult to find participation in the show. Additionally, sometimes mental health stories do not start until later into the teen years, making the poll of possible performances much smaller. 

“We are finding it challenging to find teenagers ready to talk on stage about their experience with mental health issues,” said Marshall.

This is My Brave is looking for teens that are willing to use their voice to speak up on mental health awareness. If this is a passion of yours, visit This is my Brave to find out how you can become involved in speaking up about mental illness.

Marshall is extremely excited about the potential of the teen program. A large portion of the show will be teens going on stage in the This is My Brave t-shirt and sharing the importance of mental health to them. Marshall said these individuals will be an important part of the teen pilot program.