Health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior.
THE STIGMA IS DEADLIER THAN THE SYMPTOMS
U.S. adults will take suicidal action each year.
1 in 5
adults are actively living with a mental health condition.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT IT?
When we share our stories, we step into a place where our pain is converted into a pathway to healing for someone else. Making a regular practice of talking about your mental health can be an experience that carries a lot of light, support, hope, and even laughter. Every single story shared with us is proof that remarkable, surprising, beautiful, and extraordinary things come out of those experiences and illuminate a new perspective toward mental health as a whole.
WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?
Erasing the Distance is a non-profit arts organization based in Chicago that uses the power of performance to disarm stigma, educate, spark dialogue, and promote healing surrounding mental health. Since 2005 the organization has been dedicated to creating a space for real people to share stories about their experiences navigating mental health.
We collect, shape, and share true stories of people impacted by mental health issues.
We create frequent and accessible events dedicated to open conversation for public audiences.
We offer educational programming for meetings, conferences, events, and schools around the country.
We teach our unique methodology to mental health advocates, and current/future clinicians to recognize and harness the power of personal narrative.
I'M REMINDED OF HOW PROFOUND IT IS TO STRETCH OUR NORMAL, OUR BAROMETER FOR HUMAN BEHAVIOR, AND ALL THE COLORS IT CAN LOOK LIKE.
- Audience Member
"AS LONG AS I KEEP TELLING MY STORY THEN I THINK I WILL BE A MUCH HAPPIER PERSON."
Since 2005 Erasing the Distance has collected 300+ stories that have reached more than 85,000 people across the United States. When a new storyteller reaches out they are paired with one of our trained story collectors for a one-on-one interview that can take place either in person or virtually. These casual conversations last about 45-90 minutes and are led by the storyteller.
Erasing the Distance creates performances open to the general public to create an opportunity to explore mental health topics. With a priority of accessibility, these programs are built with the guiding principle to reduce as many barriers to access as possible.
Erasing the Distance uses the stories that have been collected to design programs that reflect the needs of the community. At each event, a facilitated conversation follows the performance to give the audience an opportunity to explore personal bias, ask questions, and share their own experiences.
The process surrounding Erasing the Distance’s methodology of collecting, shaping, and presenting stories is unique. Workshops and trainings are held to teach artists, community members, and aspiring mental health professionals how to conduct the process of story collecting and shaping.
ONE STORY AT A TIME
In the podcast, "One Story At A Time", we invite you to join us in the first part of the story collection process, the interview. Where we dig into the beautiful, messy details that make us human while addressing a topic that is so often kept in the dark. Hearing these words gives us a window into someone's life in a way that can increase our empathy and understanding, not only for other people but also for ourselves.