This Org. Launched A Powerful Mental Health Campaign To Share Stories In Schools + End The Stigma

Jordan Corcoran, founder of Listen, Lucy. Photo:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illnesses are common in the United States. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (46.6 million in 2017). It is something that is very common in our families and communities, but for far too long stigma has been responsible for keeping people quiet about their struggles. Far more than any other type of illness, mental disorders are subject to negative judgements and stigmatization, says a report published in 2016.

But something powerful happens when even just one person, especially someone with an elevated public platform, shares openly about their struggles – others come forward and start to realize they are not alone, and find strength in this community. Finding that supportive community is key, and there is increasing recognition about the need to start sharing these stories with young audiences especially.

One organization looking to be the change in this area is Listen, Lucy, founded by Jordan Corcoran, who has battled with a number of mental illnesses and is determined to smash the stigma and help others know there is support using personal storytelling as the core component for cultural change.

In January this year, Jordan launched a new collective called Listen, Lucy Presents, a new hub for schools and organizations to find powerful mental health advocates + public speakers ready to share their lived experiences in order to end the stigma surrounding mental health.

They aren’t your typical speaking agency that is often called up by organizations and schools to find notable speakers to empower and inspire audiences in some way. They are bringing real and thriving professionals, who are ALSO struggling with mental illness, into schools/organizations to share their real stories, raw encounters in the hope to connect with attendees. They bring the facts, but they also bring a personified look at individuals thriving in society while also handling their mental illness.

Some of these facts that they share are startling and should be talked about more often, because in the United States alone mental illnesses are on the rise, and the numbers concerning youth should alarm everyone. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in people under the age of 18. Mental Illness and substance abuse disorders are involved in 1 out of every 8 emergency room visits. And over 70% of those in the juvenile justice system have a diagnosed mental illness. What we are doing is not enough, and it is encouraging to see groups like Listen, Lucy standing in the gap to help people.

Through this organization, speaking engagements and national media outlets, Jordan has shared her story of battling mental illness with tens of thousands of people, which she is proud of – but she too wants to do more. Listen, Lucy Presents helps schools and organizations find impactful speakers who are ready to share their stories in order to end the stigma. Because, when we share our experiences openly, we pave the way for others who may need a gentle push to speak up and ask for help.
The ladies who have been added to the hub are powerhouses: Larissa “Larz” May of HalfTheStory, Ta’lor Pinkston of The Heart Advocate and Julia Broglie of Broglie Box.

Each of these women truly embody the idea that being vulnerable can be a superpower today in society, especially in a world that still largely treats vulnerability like a weakness.

“By sharing my story through Listen, Lucy, I have truly learned that I am not alone in this struggle. I have freed myself of the judgment and shame that comes along with mental illness and have helped others do the same,” says Jordan of her passion for speaking about mental illnesses.

Ta’lor Pinkston says self-love is like a tool belt, where every aspect of self-love is a tool (self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-care, self-empowerment, self-esteem, self-respect, etc.). When we feel broken, the notion of self-love can prompt us to reach into that tool belt and find the empowerment we need.

“As a therapist, it was difficult for me to admit my depression and it was difficult to process that a lack of self-worth was rooted in my mental health concerns. By building my self-worth and helping other women do the same, I see how powerful self-love is and why it’s so important for each of us to trust, accept, empower, take care of, be compassionate with and express ourselves personally and professionally,” she says.

Larissa May talks about something a lot of youth can identify with right now – social media pressure. She explained how social media allowed her to live a double life and mask her mental illness.

“What people saw online was my “thriving” fashion blog and entrepreneurial career. I hid my crippling depression and anxiety
behind my curated feed. I was only sharing half the story, but I wasn’t the only one. We are the most connected yet disconnected generation in history. It’s time we put down our phones and take back our lives,” she says, adding that her experience was the catalyst for her becoming a passionate activist for mental wellbeing.

Julie Broglie candidly shares how an incident very close to her prompted her to recognize that mental illnesses have a wide range.

“After losing my brother to suicide, I made it my personal mission to advocate for mental health by speaking out about my own challenges and path to recovery. My crisis made me realize the importance of speaking up and educating others,” she said.

There is power in raising your voice and sharing your story, as Jordan and her collective are showing. We believe Listen, Lucy Presents is going to be a game-changer for schools across the US, and if you are reading this and want to book the speakers, you can visit the website, or email

“Individually, we are doing as much as we can to change the culture around mental health. Together, we are going to be unstoppable. We will be speaking to middle schools, high schools, colleges, sororities and organizations to help every person understand just how important it is to take care of your mental health,” says the org.

Watch the video below to learn more about how this collective is working to tackle stigma around mental illness:


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