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How this mental health advocate is helping others find their truth: ‘This is My Brave’

Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 17:26:44-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Lauren Hope is no longer ashamed to tell people that once in her life, mental illness drove her to attempt suicide.

CBS 6 first introduced viewers to the VCU graduate and former news reporter a few years ago.

Hope spent years honing her skills as a television news reporter in Lynchburg. From the outside Hope was on top of the world in her dream job, but things still fell apart and often, she contemplated suicide.

Today, Hope now speaks to whoever she can about her mental health journey and advocates for others suffering from mental illness.

Her mission is fueled by the national mental health storytelling show that travels the nation called This Is My Brave.

“It helped me to accept what I was going through,” said Hope.

Now, Hope is producing a This is My Brave show in Virginia and she wants everyone to know about upcoming auditions.

“You’re going to tell your story in front of a live studio audience. A recovery story. How you’re living and thriving with mental illness or how you are living and recovering from substance use disorder. You can do that in a variety of ways,” said Hope.

From spoken word, and musical performances, to comedy and creative storytelling. Last year when Hope took to the This Is My Brave stage for a show held in Arlington, she shared a powerful essay called Men in Steel Spiked Boots.

“That’s how anxiety attacks felt to me. Like men in steel spiked boots stomping on my chest,” said Hope. “I talked about how not accepting my mental illness really put me in a dangerous situation.”

Hope says though the show will take place in Virginia Beach, This is My Brave auditions are open to everyone. The only requirement is that they have a lived experience with mental illness or substance use disorder.

“I know that Central Virginia is so diverse, I want this show to be reflective of that. We want college students, service members, moms, dads, anyone can apply,” Hope explained.

Strong in her faith, Hope believes she’s walking in her purpose, excited to help others find and speak their own truth.

“I lived in darkness for so long and was hiding I was dealing with depression and anxiety. So, to be able to be on stage and say yes, this is what I live with, but I’m living. It is so freeing in ways I never imagined,” said Hope.

For information about audition dates and times, click here.

The live This is My Brave show will be at the Zeiders American Dream Theatre on April 19, 2020.

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