By Kristen Welch, CFRE, Director of Development, NAMI New Hampshire
On May 15, 2024, a cast of brave performers will take up the Bank of New Hampshire Stage and share their personal stories of overcoming mental illness, suicide, and substance use disorder in This Is My Brave, benefitting NAMI New Hampshire. The goal of this production is to raise awareness of mental illness, suicide, and substance use disorders; dispel the stigma and discrimination surrounding these conditions; and raise funds to help NAMI New Hampshire continue to provide free support, education, and advocacy statewide.
This Is My Brave is the leading platform for individuals to share their stories of hope, recovery, and success while living with a mental health or substance use disorder. This Is My Brave – The Show is a live presentation of moving essays, poetry, music, and more, performed by individuals who have been impacted by mental illness, suicide, or substance use disorder. The mission of This Is My Brave is to empower individuals to share their stories— stories of hope, empowerment, and honesty— to end the stigma surrounding these conditions and encourage those still living in silence to seek support. Through uplifting real stories and local voices, this event is a testament to the strength of our community to come together, end the silence, and tackle the issues that matter most.
Now more than ever, New Hampshire needs to take action to support mental health. One in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness each year. A March 2023 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 90% of U.S. adults believe the country is facing a mental health crisis. The American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the US Surgeon General have all declared that our youth are facing a mental health emergency. Despite these dire statistics, many Granite Staters struggle to get the help they need, when and where they need it. Education, stigma, and discrimination play a key role in an individual’s ability and willingness to receive treatment. When we share our stories, we create a ripple effect of hope and support that could save lives. NAMI NH’s production of This Is My Brave aims to use storytelling and the arts to educate the community, dispel stigma, and amplify the voices of those affected by mental health, suicide, and substance use disorders.
This Is My Brave is a powerful opportunity for our entire community to come together and raise our voices to empower and inspire. You can help us build a brave community to spread mental health awareness and eliminate stigma and discrimination by sponsoring the show, attending the performance, or making a donation. The funds raised from This Is My Brave will stay here in NH, helping NAMI NH continue to provide help and hope to all who need it. Join us in our mission to make a difference, one story at a time.
Kristen Welch, CFRE, is the Director of Development at NAMI New Hampshire (National Alliance on Mental Illness), where she oversees all fundraising operations for the organization. Her career in fundraising for mental health and suicide prevention spans over 20 years, and she is passionate about raising awareness and decreasing stigma and discrimination. Kristen serves as Immediate Past President of the Northern New England Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the NH and VT Council of Charitable Gift Planners. Kristen is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, having achieved this designation in 2016.
NAMI New Hampshire is a grassroots organization working to improve the quality of life for all by providing free support, education and advocacy for people affected by mental illness and suicide. For information and resources, visit the website at NAMINH.org or call 1-800-242-6264 (press 4). To sponsor or support This Is My Brave, contact us at timbnh@NAMINH.org.