Mental health and mental illness among college students aren’t new topics but there is a new approach of dealing with it, that USF professors are working with students to serve as a way to cope.

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That new way is through a special performance at the school Friday night called, This Is My Brave, College Edition, involving, singers, dancers and poets to express themselves.

USF senior Emilee Carreras is using dance to get her message out.

“I asked one of my professors here to speak a meditation over the track. And so I invite the audience to actually either enjoy the show and watch or to close their eyes and take part in the meditation,” she said.

She practiced her routine in the dance studio at USF, determined to get it right.

“So the piece I’m doing actually is all improvised which means it’s all freestyle,” said Carreras.

She said her dancing gives her a chance to reflect on her mental health. And she’s hoping it does the same for others at the, “This is My Brave” mental health event.

“I often have anxiety and I think that comes from the idea of having to reach the state of perfection,” Carreras said. “When you get into that really busy state of mind it’s kind of like that leads to over thinking, that leads to anxiety, that leads to I need to reach this level of perfection of height order achievement to be successful.”

That’s part of the reason she jumped at the chance to perform in the, “This Is My Brave” show where students tell their story of coping with mental illness.

“I just love that we can bring the arts and where we can bring dance and this different form of communication and we can bring joy and passion into a way of making everyone aware of mental health and normalizing talking about it, not kinda pushing it aside,” Carreras said.

It’s a message she hopes is felt long after she leaves the dance floor. Some of the same classmates she walks alongside on campus will perform what being brave is for them and their mental health.

The, This Is My Brave, College Edition performance begins at 7 p.m. tonight at USF’s theater located at 3755 Holly Drive in Room 101. Students and the public are invited to attend.