Share your story. We say this a lot. We say it on our buttons, our website and here on our blog. We encourage people to share their stories during talk-backs, residencies and mental health trainings. Why do we do this?
We do it because we believe it's important that people feel okay talking about mental illness, that stigma and fear of mental illness are fostered by keeping it hidden. We do it because with prevalence rates of 1 in 4, we believe every person we perform for has some kind of story and that each one of them should have a forum to share their experiences if they want to. And they do.
In the beginning we took interviews as they came in. But as we have grown, the number of story submissions we receive has grown too. We realized that to manage the number of interview requests we were getting we would either have to start turning people away, or rethink our story collecting methods. We are not willing to turn people away.
So that is why coming in the fall we will begin having quarterly, organized story collecting days! With a group of trusted volunteers to help the staff with the interviews and transcriptions, clinical professionals on hand who can help with referrals or support if it is needed, and a beautiful setting at Flourish studios.
At Flourish story sharers will be able to enjoy complementary coffee (provided by Starbucks) and browse the art gallery and retail sections at Flourish while they wait for their interview--then enjoy privacy during the interview in one of four separate interview rooms. We think these changes will make story sharing a fun, secure and comfortable experience for everyone, and we are really excited!
Our first story sharing day will be in October. Look for changes to our website coming at the end of the summer for lots more information about the story sharing days. Or, if you just can't wait until then, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, or to schedule an interview.
Have a great day!