D.C.-area teenagers are sharing their stories to try to help remove the stigma around mental illness and addiction.

Tough times can be easier when you’re able to talk about what you’re going through and reach out for help. So D.C.-area teenagers are sharing their stories to try to help remove the stigma around mental illness and addiction.

“I’m just so grateful for our D.C.-area high school cast who’ve been brave enough to step forward and share their stories,” said Erin Gallagher, This Is My Brave program manager.

During a This Is My Brave High School Edition livestream event Oct. 18, teens will use everything from poetry, comedy, dance and music to share personal experiences with things including grief, anxiety, depression and suicide.

“When I found out that they were going to be hosting a show in my area, I was like, ‘I have to try out!’” Jada Bromberg, 16, of Fairfax, said.

Bromberg was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety three years ago.

“I began self-harming, and I started having suicidal thoughts; and that’s when I knew I needed to get help,” she said. “I had to reach out to someone else because if I didn’t, the alternative wouldn’t have been a good ending.”

So, how’s Bromberg doing now?

“It’s something that I go through daily, trying to live with and trying to go through my day, and just do my best and be the best that I can,” Bromberg said.

Participating in the show, Bromberg will be playing piano and singing a song she wrote about her experiences. As for what she and the other teens want to accomplish?

“The big accomplishment would be people not being afraid to speak up or share their story because they’re afraid of judgment,” Bromberg said.

Gallagher said people should know that it’s possible to manage and live well with mental illness conditions and that it’s not uncommon to have thoughts of suicide.

“Our goal is to get people in treatment,” Gallagher said. “If [someone’s] thoughts are turning toward suicide, that can be very scary. But it’s so important to find somebody to talk to.”

“Ask for help. Doctors know what to do with those situations – talk therapy, there’s medication there are options to make you feel better,” Gallagher said.

Erin Gallagher shares the story of her child’s suicide

This Is My Brave High School Edition, in partnership with ​Our Minds Matter, will be livestreamed on Oct. 18 at 4 p.m.

Throughout October, This Is My Brave 2020 Online Performances with participants of all ages will be originating from Houston, St. Louis, New Hampshire, and Hampton Roads in Virginia.

All the performances will be archived on This Is My Brave’s YouTube​ channel after the initial air dates.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or you can text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

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