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Baltimore Performance Brings Awareness to Mental Illness

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Stories have the power to heal. That's the idea behind a performance tonight, October 26, in Baltimore about living with mental illness.

Kate Farinholt runs the Baltimore chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She says a decade ago she had a hard time finding anyone who would talk publicly about living with things like depression or schizophrenia.

"But now people are starting conversations, expecting that someone listening may have some empathy," says Farinholt.

So it was no surprise to Fairholt that more than a dozen people volunteered to tell their stories about mental illness. Seven will do so tonight at Baltimore's Centerstage theater. Nancy of one of them.

"Just to be able to be on stage and tell my family's story has allowed me to see my story from a different point of view, and not feel like a victim anymore but really own my story and be able to tell it."

Even so, Nancy won't share her last name because she wants to protect her family from any criticism. Writer Jonathan Fuqua is out and loud about his manic depression. He hopes his story shows that people with mental illness can do just about anything.

"I think that's the big thing that I want to carry forward is all the people who have it and yet all the people who are functioning fine with it, and struggle, struggle to function fine true, but do function," said Fuqua.

...and, do well.

Cathy Duchamp reports...

WAMU 88.5

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