What is Inside Our Minds?

Inside Our Minds is an anonymous and uncensored storytelling project working to share the experiences of people affected by mental illness in the Pittsburgh area. By sharing these stories, Inside Our Minds hopes to inspire open discussion about mental illness and foster connection among members of our community.

What is the overall process for telling a story on Inside Our Minds?

There is a five-step process for telling your story on Inside Our Minds:

(1) Initial Discussion – We make contact with the potential storyteller, describing the interview process and answering any questions. The potential storyteller can discuss potential triggers and privacy concerns, and determine whether Inside Our Minds would be a good fit.

(2) Scheduling an Interview – Next, we work to schedule a place and time for the interview. The location of the interview is determined by each storyteller depending on privacy concerns, ease of travel, the need for a remote interview, etc. Interviews usually last around 1.5 hours.

(3) Telling Your Story – Once the day finally arrives, storytellers will meet with our founder, Alyssa. No advance preparation is required or expected. The interview process is very similar to an informal conversation, allowing the storyteller to guide the interview depending on what information they want to share. Interviews may be recorded, depending on approval by the storyteller.

(4) Transcription and Editing – After the interview, we transcribe the stories into Google Drive and permanently delete any recordings. The storyteller is brought into the editing process and given full control over the transcribed text. We work together to remove all personally-identifiable information. This process can take anywhere from one day to one month, depending on the needs of the storyteller.

(5) Final Approval – The story cannot be posted until the storyteller gives a final, verbal approval of the text. Once the storyteller is satisfied with their story, we post it on the Inside Our Minds website and market it to our audience.

How anonymous is Inside Our Minds?

We take anonymity very seriously at Inside Our Minds. We work with each storyteller to remove and/or change any sensitive or personally-identifiable information in their stories. Also, we do not retain any information on our storytellers, including names. Please get in touch with us if you want to learn more. We’re happy to discuss our methods!

Which mental illnesses are included in the Inside Our Minds project?

Inside Our Minds is interested in the full spectrum of mental illness, including ones we haven’t talked about before. We’d also love to hear stories from disabled people, Autistic or neurodivergent people, people with traumatic brain injuries, etc.

I’m Autistic, and I would like to participate, but I don’t consider myself as having a “mental illness.”

We’re supportive of the neurodiversity movement and would love to hear your perspective!

I don’t have a diagnosis. Can I still participate?

Definitely! Many people living with a mental illness don’t have a formal diagnosis.

I have a mental illness, but I don’t think it’s “bad enough” to participate.

We don’t put labels on how deserving someone is to tell their story. If you want to tell your story, then please do!

Can people without a mental illness participate?

Yes! We welcome everyone affected by mental illness to participate, whether personally or through a close relative, spouse, partner, or friend. Mental health professionals are also welcome to participate, though attention and compliance to medical privacy laws would be of the utmost importance.

Do I have to be currently living in Pittsburgh to participate?

Not necessarily. Inside Our Minds features storytellers with a connection to Pittsburgh, whether current or past. We’ve featured stories from current and previous residents, students, exchange program participants, and workers, as well as people with familial connections to the area. Get in touch with us if you’re unsure about whether you “qualify.”

I want to tell my story, but there are certain topics that make me uncomfortable or trigger me.

That’s understandable. We always make sure to establish boundaries on triggers before interviewing storytellers. You are not required to tell your whole story to us or talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable or upset.

I want to tell my story, but I don’t want to meet in public.

That’s fine! We have scheduled phone and Skype interviews with several past participants.

I’m thinking about telling my story, but I’m still unsure… 

Get in touch with us! We’d love to speak with you about the process and address any concerns you may have. Nothing will move forward unless you want it to. It’s your story, so we want to make sure you’re completely comfortable telling it.