'This is My Brave' coming to Dr. Phillips Center, taking on mental illness stigma

'This is My Brave' opens Sept. 22

An upcoming performance of "This is My Brave" highlights the struggles of mental health.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Their stories are seldom shared, but 12 "This Is My Brave" cast members have hope that speaking about their mental illness will promote healing.

The performance produced by Traci Powell, a neonatal nurse practitioner, is dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"We are average, everyday people, we're 1 in 5, and when you look around, when you go out in public that's a lot of people," Powell said.

Four of the Orlando cast members recently met in front of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to preview their solo pieces.

"It's very taboo," Hannah Hosler said. "I wanted to use this as a platform to talk about my struggles and be an example for not only the community but, more importantly, my daughter."

As a working mother with a 7-month-old baby, Hosler will open up about postpartum depression.

The live presentations include essays, poetry, comedy and original music by individuals living with mental illness.

"And they're going to be the ones to stand up, literally stand up and talk about it, in front of a bunch of strangers," Katie Donohue said.

The show is part of a national nonprofit organization that began in 2014.

"This Is My Brave: Orlando" opens on Sept. 22 in the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.