This is My Brave
This Is My Brave Research
The STAR Lab has partnered with This Is My Brave for the past seven years to evaluate their anti-stigma programming. TIMB’s Mission is:
“… to end the stigma surrounding mental illness by sharing personal stories of individuals
overcoming mental illness through poetry, essay and original music, live on stage, through stories submitted and published to the TIMB blog, and via the TIMB YouTube channel.
Through the sharing of stories and experiences of those in recovery, we provide a sense of community and hope; and encourage others to share their stories. We believe that each time one of us shares our story, there’s another crack helping to break down the stigma of mental illness. Right now, it's time to #LiveBrave and bring mental health issues into the spotlight because they've been in the dark too long."
This evaluation involves multiple research studies. Several studies evaluate the impact of TIMB programming on stigma among the audience members. Others aim to explore the impact of participation in TIMB performances on the storytellers themselves.
Summary of TIMB Evaluation Projects:
1) A pre-post survey study provides pilot data on the efficacy of the TIMB in reducing public stigma surrounding mental illness.
Click here to view a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the findings of the pre-post pilot study.
Kosyluk, K.A., Marshall, J., Rivera Macias, D., Andrus, D.T., Guerra, D., Robinson, M., Ostos, A.P., & Chapman, S. (2018). Examining the Impact of This Is My Brave on Mental Illness Stigma and Willingness to Seek Help: A Pilot Study. Community Mental Health Journal, 54(3), 276-281.
Click here to listen to a SelfWork podcast where Dr. Margaret Rutherford interviews Ms. Jennifer Marshall, Co-Founder and Executive Director of TIMB, and Dr. Kosyluk.
2) An RCT investigating the impact of TIMB relative to a comparison anti-stigma condition and control condition and also examines possible mediators of TIMB impact including character empathy, perceived similarity to characters, and character identification.
Kosyluk, K.A., Marshall, J., Conner, K.O., *Rivera Macias, D., *Macias, S., *Beekman, B.M., *Her, J. (2020). Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness through Creative Storytelling: A Randomized Controlled Trial of This Is My Brave. Community Mental Health Journal.
3) A quantitative study we are calling "the Storyteller Study" evaluating the impact of participating in TIMB performances on the performers with lived experience with mental illness. This study frames participation in TIMB performances, publicly sharing one’s experience of mental illness, as having potential for reductions in self-stigma and increases in recovery, empowerment, and self-esteem. We hypothesize that participation in the TIMB program by people with lived experience with mental illness will lead to (from pre-performance to post-performance):
- Greater perceived benefits of “coming out” with one’s story of mental illness
- Decreased symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
- Increased self-esteem.
- Increased empowerment.
Preliminary findings of this work can be found here.
4) A qualitative project using Critical Discourse Analysis to examine the narratives of TIMB storytellers using the existing catalogue of TIMB videos to answer the following research question and sub-questions: here.
Main Research Question: How do power structures influence the experience of mental illness or substance use disorders for TIMB performers?
- How do TIMB performers define recovery?
- How do TIMB performers communicate about illness? Wellness?
- What stalls recovery among TIMB performers?
- What are the stigma experiences relayed in TIMB performances?
- How is stigma talked about in TIMB performances?
- How is treatment talked about in TIMB performances?
- What are the barriers to treatment communicated in TIMB performances?
- What are the facilitators to treatment communicated in TIMB performances?
The qualitative project involves a partnership with doctoral student, Breanne Casper, from USF's Anthropology Department.
5) This Is My Brave: Stories from The Black Community
An abstract of the grant is provided below.
Storytelling Saves Lives: Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness through Stories from the Black Community.
PIs: Kyaien Conner and Kristin Kosyluk, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
Community Partners: This is My Brave (TIMB), WE-CARE and the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network
Despite research that suggests Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to experience mental illness, only one in three seek treatment. The project proposes to deliver and evaluate a special series titled “This is My Brave (TIMB): Stories from the Black Community”. This virtual three-part series highlights the voices of Black Americans living with mental illness and/or addiction who bravely share their experiences with illness and treatment as well as messages of hope and recovery, with the goal of reducing stigma and encouraging critical conversations about Black mental health.
On February 2 & 3, 2021, USF hosted the first annual Institute on Black Life Annual Conference. This conference featured presentations from various speakers including recipients of the Understanding Blackness and Anti-Black Racism USF Grants. Dr. Kyaien Conner and Dr. Kristin Kosyluk presented at this conference on their work with This Is My Brave: Stories from the Black Community.
Drs. Kyaien Conner and Kristin Kosyluk were awarded funding by the Office of the Provost and USF Research & Innovation through the Rapid Response Research Grant program titled “Understanding and Addressing Blackness and Anti-Black Racism.”
Note: The ENTIRE segment is powerful and important; however, if you are looking to specifically hear about This Is My Brave: Stories from the Black Community, you can find this at minute 45-54.
News Piece Featuring Dr. Kosyluk Referencing This Is My Brave and Frontline Workers: Fox 13 News: Frontline Workers Struggling with Mental Health
6) This Is My Brave: Stories from The Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Community
A project evaluating a special edition of This Is My Brave from the APIDA community was presented virtually.
Main Research Question: Do TIMB stories from APIDA members influence the reduction of mental illness and APIDA-related stigma?
PIs: Jennifer T. Tran and Kristin Kosyluk, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences
Community Partners: This Is My Brave (TIMB)
The project involves a partnership with Cassidy Bolton (a member of STAR Lab), and doctoral student Vivian Mills (USF's Department of Child and Family Studies).
Despite the research on the increase in incidence and prevalence of mental health conditions in the APIDA community, the APIDA community has the lowest rates of mental health care among all racial/ethnic minority groups. The project proposes to deliver and evaluate a special series titled “This is My Brave (TIMB): Stories from the APIDA Community”. This virtual series highlights the voices of APIDA community members living with mental illness and/or addiction who bravely share their experiences with illness and treatment as well as messages of hope and recovery, with the goal of reducing stigma and encouraging critical conversations about APIDA mental health.
More Media Pieces on Stories from the Black Community:
Click here to read more about this special series.
Click here to read the press release.
Click here to view a Bay News 9 Justice For All news piece by Saundra Weathers featuring This Is My Brave: Stories from the Black Community and including interviews with Dr. Kosyluk and Dr. Kyaien Conner.
This Is My Brave College Edition: A OneUSF Production
In Spring 2022, USF held the first annual production of This Is My Brave College Edition- A OneUSF Production. The video of this show can be viewed here. A podcast covering the Spring 2022 production can be heard here. A WUSF news piece can be viewed here. A Bloom TV news segment can be seen here.
The Spring 2023 show will take place on April 21, 2023.