The Be Vocal Collection –
Changing Perceptions of Mental Health in America

Search engines often bring up disparaging imagery. We wanted to change that. Teaming up with Getty Images and photographer Shaul Schwarz, we created The Be Vocal Collection to reframe how mental health is portrayed by showcasing 10 people living with mental health conditions. Share these photos on social media to help us reduce discrimination and create a more informed, accepting society.

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CAROLINE

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Mental Health Stories - Caroline Widdon: Anxiety and depression

Caroline sees her husband as a source of support and most importantly, he always knows how to make her laugh.

Mental Health Stories - Caroline Widdon: Anxiety and depression

Caroline finds that taking time for herself to clear her mind is an important part of maintaining her wellness.

Mental Health Stories - Caroline Widdon: Anxiety and depression

Caroline finds that playing music can be very therapeutic for her.

Mental Health Stories - Caroline Widdon: Anxiety and depression

When Caroline is not serving as the Executive Director of Me2/, she loves playing the French horn with her fellow orchestra members.

Mental Health Stories - Caroline Widdon: Anxiety and depression

Caroline and her husband Ronald both understand the benefit music can have in helping people manage symptoms of their mental health conditions.

Caroline has lived with anxiety and depression for 20 years. As a Co-founder and Executive Director of Me2/Orchestra, Caroline uses her lived experience with mental health and her talent to pursue her two passions: music and helping others.


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DIOR

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Mental Health Stories - Dior Vargas: Depression and borderline personality disorder

Dior visits the JED office where she helps advocate for mental health.

Mental Health Stories - Dior Vargas: Depression and borderline personality disorder

Dior enjoys coming home to a friendly face – the family dog, Brody.

Mental Health Stories - Dior Vargas: Depression and borderline personality disorder

Dior loves being a native New Yorker because of the city’s rich history and diversity.

Mental Health Stories - Dior Vargas: Depression and borderline personality disorder

Dior considers her weekly appointment with her therapist an important part of her treatment plan.

Mental Health Stories - Dior Vargas: Depression and borderline personality disorder

As a true New Yorker, Dior travels around the city by subway.

Dior is a mental health activist, feminist and public speaker who lives with depression and anxiety. To promote the accurate media representation of minority populations with mental health conditions, Dior founded the People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project.


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RONALD

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Bipolar Stories - Ronald Braunstein: Bipolar disorder

Ronald finds joy in seeing orchestra members come together and create beautiful music.

Bipolar Stories - Ronald Braunstein: Bipolar disorder

Ronald enjoys conducting both Me2/Orchestras in Burlington, Vermont and Boston, Massachusetts, even though it involves a long commute.

Bipolar Stories - Ronald Braunstein: Bipolar disorder

Ronald connects with each orchestra member to learn how Me2/ can be a supportive place both musically and personally.

Bipolar Stories - Ronald Braunstein: Bipolar disorder

Ronald’s passion for music helps him manage his bipolar disorder symptoms.

Bipolar Stories - Ronald Braunstein: Bipolar disorder

When Ronald is feeling down, he knows that his wife is always nearby to support him.

Ronald is the Music Director of Me2/Orchestra, the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals living with a mental health condition and those who support them. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ronald co-founded Me2/ with his wife Caroline to raise awareness about mental health and reduce discrimination.


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SONYA

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PTSD Stories - Sonya Ebhotemen: PTSD

Family dinner is an important part of Sonya’s weekly routine.

PTSD Stories - Sonya Ebhotemen: PTSD

Sonya’s granddaughter looks forward to playing tag in her grandma’s front yard when she comes to visit.

PTSD Stories - Sonya Ebhotemen: PTSD

One of Sonya’s greatest joys in life is spending time with her grandkids.

PTSD Stories - Sonya Ebhotemen: PTSD

Sonya enjoys taking walks around her neighborhood.

PTSD Stories - Sonya Ebhotemen: PTSD

When Sonya has difficult days, she takes time for herself to reflect.

As a Marine Corps veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Sonya understands how important it is for people to have the support they need. In addition to being a mental health advocate and peer specialist, Sonya is a mother and grandmother and loves spending quality time with her family.


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STOLAR

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Bipolar Stories - Jay Stolar: Bipolar disorder and depression

Stolar carves out a new sound rehearsing and developing songs with studio musicians in Manhattan.

Bipolar Stories - Jay Stolar: Bipolar disorder and depression

Stolar goes to the gym as part of his daily routine to maintain his wellness.

Bipolar Stories - Jay Stolar: Bipolar disorder and depression

Stolar travels across the city for his band practices and performances.

Bipolar Stories - Jay Stolar: Bipolar disorder and depression

Stolar finds some of the best inspiration for his music during quiet nights in the recording studio.

Bipolar Stories - Jay Stolar: Bipolar disorder and depression

Stolar leads a busy life, so he makes sure to stop once in a while and remind himself that his wellness comes first.

Through his singing and songwriting, Stolar expresses himself and offers support and encouragement to others living with a mental health condition. Stolar channels his experiences with bipolar disorder and depression into his music.


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SUZY

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Bipolar Stories - Suzy Favor Hamilton: Bipolar disorder

Suzy loves spending time with her daughter, especially when it involves a project they can work on together.

Bipolar Stories - Suzy Favor Hamilton: Bipolar disorder

Daily yoga sessions are an important part of Suzy’s wellness plan.

Bipolar Stories - Suzy Favor Hamilton: Bipolar disorder

In addition to doing yoga, running and eating well, Suzy takes medication as part of her treatment regimen.

Bipolar Stories - Suzy Favor Hamilton: Bipolar disorder

With such an active lifestyle, Suzy knows that it’s important to build in time to relax.

Bipolar Stories - Suzy Favor Hamilton: Bipolar disorder

Suzy and her family find the beach very peaceful; they often go on family walks alongside the ocean.

Suzy is a three-time Olympian, writer, advocate, wife and mother. With incredible support from her husband, daughter and close friends to be vocal and speak openly about her experiences with bipolar disorder, Suzy works tirelessly to inspire change both nationally and in her local community.


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TERRY

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Bipolar Stories - Terry Taggart: Bipolar disorder and PTSD

Terry views her relationship with her nurse practitioner as a key component of her wellness plan.

Bipolar Stories - Terry Taggart: Bipolar disorder and PTSD

Terry facilitates a NAMI support group at the local chapter.

Bipolar Stories - Terry Taggart: Bipolar disorder and PTSD

Terry finds peace of mind by tending to her garden.

Bipolar Stories - Terry Taggart: Bipolar disorder and PTSD

Terry speaks with the Clearwater Police Chief about the importance of NAMI’s Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program.

Bipolar Stories - Terry Taggart: Bipolar disorder and PTSD

Terry runs a dog grooming business, which brings her joy and satisfaction.

Terry lives with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She devotes her time to two very different passions—her dog grooming business and mental health advocacy. Terry’s past personal experience navigating the criminal justice system helps her advocate to improve that same system for others living with mental health conditions.


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THOMAS

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Depression Stories - Thomas Wilkins : Depression and PTSD

Even as the facilitator, Thomas finds that attending a local peer-to-peer group helps him open up about his story.

Depression Stories - Thomas Wilkins : Depression and PTSD

Thomas enjoys meeting his friend for lunch—a routine he’s grown to look forward to.

Depression Stories - Thomas Wilkins : Depression and PTSD

Thomas’ dog Apollo brings joy to his life every day.

Depression Stories - Thomas Wilkins : Depression and PTSD

Thomas believes that laughter can be its own form of therapy.

Depression Stories - Thomas Wilkins : Depression and PTSD

Thomas often thinks of new ways to help others who are living with a mental health condition.

As a decorated Vietnam veteran living with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Thomas uses his experiences to inspire change in his local community. Understanding the importance of having a strong support network to maintain mental and overall wellness, Thomas facilitates a peer-to-peer group.


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TRA`

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Bipolar Stories - Tra` Slaughter: Bipolar disorder

Tra` paints not only as a profession, but as an escape from the day-to-day grind.

Bipolar Stories - Tra` Slaughter: Bipolar disorder

Tra` enjoys snow cones with his daughter at a local park – a family favorite.

Bipolar Stories - Tra` Slaughter: Bipolar disorder

Tra` takes daily medication as part of his treatment plan, which he maps out with his professional support team.

Bipolar Stories - Tra` Slaughter: Bipolar disorder

Given his artistic eye, Tra` takes his personal style seriously.

Bipolar Stories - Tra` Slaughter: Bipolar disorder

Tra` and his daughter enjoy the mornings they get to spend together.

With a passion for graphic design and painting, Tra` spends his time creating art. Art is a means of expressing himself and an essential piece in managing his bipolar disorder. Tra` also cherishes time spent with his daughter.


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YVONNE

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Depression Stories - Yvonne Mendoza: Depression

Yvonne reflects and connects with her thoughts through journaling.

Depression Stories - Yvonne Mendoza: Depression

Yvonne, as the school social worker, regularly meets with the staff at the elementary school where she works.

Depression Stories - Yvonne Mendoza: Depression

Yvonne often enjoys catching up with her friend after work.

Depression Stories - Yvonne Mendoza: Depression

Yvonne’s mother always gives her the support she needs, even during a busy day at the family’s cake shop.

Depression Stories - Yvonne Mendoza: Depression

As a small business owner, Yvonne looks for new additions to her collection of Mexican-inspired goods.

Yvonne is a first generation Mexican-American whose personal experiences with depression provide perspective in her career as an elementary school social worker and small business owner. Yvonne’s close-knit family is an important part of her support system.


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