University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


MHLP assistant professor fights mental health stigma, brings performance to USF

Cast members of This Is My Brave – College Edition, a OneUSF Production rehearse to prepare for the show on Friday, April 22.

Cast members of This Is My Brave – College Edition, a OneUSF Production rehearse to prepare for the show on Friday, April 22.

Kristin Kosyluk, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, is teaming up with the USF School of Theatre and Dance and others across the USF campuses to host This Is My Brave – College Edition, a OneUSF Production on Friday, April 22. 
The production, which is part of the national This Is My Brave program, will bring stories of mental illness and addiction into the spotlight. By talking openly about mental illness, participants open the door for critical conversations about mental health and contribute to breaking down the stigma surrounding this important topic. 
“One of the major ways that stigma influences people who are experiencing mental illness is that it prevents them from getting help,” said Kosyluk. “On average, people go about ten years from the onset of symptoms until they actually seek treatment. A lot can happen during those ten years including increased rates of hospitalization, substance use, social isolation, poorer academic performance, and increased risk for suicide.” 
Ten USF students who auditioned in January have rehearsed together over the past several months. They will take the stage on USF’s Tampa campus in just a few weeks to share their stories of mental health challenges, recovery, and hope through spoken word, essays, music, poetry, comedy, and dance. 
“It’s an amazing feeling to know that this will be a powerful experience for our cast, but then also that the audience – all these students who will hopefully come out for the show and the community members who will come out to the show – will be transformed by hearing those stories as well,” said Kosyluk. 
Kosyluk serves as lead evaluator for This Is My Brave and is the director of the Stigma Action Research Lab at USF, which focuses on understanding and addressing stigma surrounding mental illness. The content of This Is My Brave – College Edition, a OneUSF Production was created under the Department of Education’s arts learning grant, REACH (Race, Equity, Arts and Cultural History), and has also received generous support from the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at USF.
Please join us and be inspired by an amazing cast of performers. All are welcome to attend and USF student tickets are available free of charge. More information and ticket links are available here.

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The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.