Meet Jeff, Lauren and Lloyd, three different people who share one common experience—their lives have been transformed by speaking up for mental health. The film provides a glimpse into their lives and their diagnoses—which include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety—ultimately weaving together a story about how speaking up is key to living well. Beyond Silence, directed by Shaul Schwarz and executive produced by Demi Lovato, celebrates the strength, perseverance and dedication of these courageous individuals determined to break through the silence often associated with mental illness and help others along the way.
Shaul’s award-winning films have been screened at festivals across the globe, including Sundance. He is also a regular contributor to TIME and National Geographic. His work has also appeared in numerous other major international publications.
When traditional treatments alone weren’t providing relief for Jeff’s severe and persistent anxiety and depression, he looked for a more holistic path. Jeff began training a golden retriever named Earl to be his mental health service dog, adding to his whole-person approach to wellness. Over time, Jeff realized the positive effect Earl had on himself and others and he launched Go Fetch Wellness, an organization dedicated to introducing others to how the human-animal bond can support their journey.
While pursuing her law degree and co-founding a non-profit organization, Lauren didn’t know that learning to live well with bipolar II disorder would become part of her plan. However, after being diagnosed, she focused on her treatment plan, utilized her support network and worked closely with her health care professionals. Today, Lauren continues to dedicate her life to helping others and has now added the goal of showing that living with a mental health condition may be challenging, but dreams can still be achieved.
Lloyd is a father, certified peer specialist and the founder of RIDE 4 S.P.M.I. (Ride 4 Serious and Persistent Mental Illness), a 210-mile bike ride across South Carolina to raise awareness around mental illness. As someone living well with schizophrenia, Lloyd has devoted his life to sharing his story in the hopes that others will seek treatment and receive the help and support they need. Lloyd maintains his wellness by reading, writing short stories and poetry, spending time with his family and working with his personal and professional support system.