• an older woman and another woman hugging each other in a kitchen from the series Reframing Mental Health: The Be Vocal Experience

Reframing Mental Health: The Be Vocal Experience

19 Jul 2018 2018 CONTAINER

“The Be Vocal Experience” uses photography and film to combat the misrepresentation of mental illness by documenting what mental health in America really looks like.

Featuring: Shaul Schwarz, Verbatim Agency

Presented by

Be Vocal: Speak up for Mental Health

Curated by

Anna Van Lenten

Commonly used portrayals of mental illness are reductionist and dangerous. They create barriers between the one in five Americans living with a mental health condition and the help they need to live well.

Captured through photography and film, the men and women in “The Be Vocal Experience” exhibit have come together to combat inaccurate imagery and misperceptions around mental health.

By allowing acclaimed documentary filmmaker and photojournalist Shaul Schwarz to capture the full range of their lives, they’ve revealed their strength and how they are so much more than just a diagnosis.


Shaul Schwarz is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and photojournalist based in Brooklyn, New York. His debut documentary, “Narco Cultura,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Shaul has directed content for Netflix, Discovery Channel, History Channel, CNN and PBS. In 2016, he directed the Emmy-award winning show, “A Year in Space,” produced with TIME magazine’s Red Border Films and PBS. He co-directed the documentary “Trophy,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and then aired on CNN.


Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health is a partnership between five leading mental health advocacy organizations — including Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, The JED Foundation, Mental Health America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Council for Behavioral Health – and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. The initiative aims to empower people living with mental health conditions to speak up when talking with their support team and to encourage everyone to speak up as a community to advance mental health in America. The initiative also provides a platform for powerful everyday stories of perseverance and hope rooted in authentic, unscripted content.