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Credit: NAMI Washington

Seattle stories that humanize mental health struggles

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a mission, “to improve the quality of life for all those affected by mental illness.”

For the second year now, NAMI Washington has presented a storytelling event in Seattle called The Brainpower Chronicles.

Bill Bernat, who serves as its host and storyteller coach, is a storyteller, mental health advocate and someone who lives with bipolar condition.

Bernat speaks frankly in his introduction about how mental health conditions build walls of separation between people and how to begin taking them down.

 The stories you’ll hear fathom the dark depths of crushing loss and crisis. They evoke the experience of living with a mental health condition and supporting people who do. Each storyteller struggles with the how and why of their crisis and ultimately points to markers on the road to survival and recovery.

NAMI Washington’s The Brainpower Chronicles storytelling events took place on November 10 and 11 at Taproot Theatre Company's Isaac Studio Theatre.

The storytellers include Bill Bernat, Penny Daniel, Sasha Im, ChrisTiana Obey Sumner, Anita Bernard, Caroline Garry, MaryAnne Moorman, Sarah Harris and Kacie Rahm.

 Please note: this recording contains graphic stories about mental health crisis and suicide.

Listen to the full versions below: 

Correction 11/26 12:35 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled a storyteller's name.