Hear Our Voices, Their Stories

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The heart of the film resides in the stories of the youth and young adults that we meet.  To learn more about these inspirational individuals, read their stories below.

  • Kayla–  At the age of 17, while caring for her young son, Kayla is living in her 127th home.  As she struggles with PTSD caused by sexual assault and rape, she uses her strength as a speaker to help other youth overcome their mental health challenges.
  • Naquisha–  A dynamic 16-year-old poet, Naquisha has drive and ambition, but has been held back by her mood disorders. By gathering a support network around her, Naquisha is taking control of her life and making plans for college and beyond.
  • Jasmine–  After being molested for two years straight, Jasmine says she ran away from home 14 times and had two stays in mental institutions because of attempting suicide. After getting help through a system of care, Jasmine gained the self-confidence to become president of a youth group that works to erase the stigma of mental health issues.
  • Lexie–  Jasmine’s younger sister, Lexie, was also a victim of the same abuser and has gone through similar struggles as Jasmine, trying to overcome the trauma of these events. She looks up to her sister as a role model, and the two are inseparable.
  • Joe–  A 6-year-old with multiple diagnoses, Joe exhibits behaviors that have gotten him kicked out of four daycares. His mother, Jennifer, after years of struggling with drug addiction, is now clean, and she received the help she needed to understand and deal with Joe’s issues.
  • Karissa–  Battling depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a child, Karissa was in danger of not graduating from high school. Fortunately, her mother found an advocate who helped them work with the school. Karissa was allowed to graduate and is now in college working toward a degree in art.
  • Shawn–  Shawn’s vulnerability shows when he talks to a group of his peers about the years he has spent dealing with depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD, but his humor and insight shine through when he speaks at a conference to a group of youth and mental health professionals.
  • Michael–  Michael’s mental illness began at the age of eight. By age 10, he had made his first suicide attempt. His parents, Jack and Mamie, struggled for years to find the right care for their child, but were faced with a lack of adequate services. They finally found help through parent support groups and now work to help other parents in the same situation.
  • Derek–  A successful violinist, Derek struggled with the symptoms of ADHD throughout school. As a young teen, he found a youth support group that helped him understand his issues and deal with them in a positive way. At 29, he now channels his energy and creativity into his music career.