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Mariangela Abeo  

TEDx Speaker, Mental Health Advocate, Survivor, Creator & Photographer of Faces of Fortitude

Mariangela Abeo (they/them) is a Mental Health Advocate, Speaker, Podcast host, Producer andPhotographer + Creator of the Faces of Fortitude movement, which began as a series ofportraits documenting the healing for those affected by suicide - providing a safe, stigma-freespace both virtually and in person for mental health and suicide to be discussed. After losingtheir brother over a decade ago to suicide, and surviving their own severe attempt as a teen,Mariangela started this movement initially for their own healing. The portraits caught fire onlineand they quickly saw a need for others to have a safe space to share their stories. They nowtravel the country to capture portraits of those affected by the epidemic in any way (be it loss,attempt or first responders) as a step towards their healing, and to educate people as both amental health advocate + suicide loss and attempt survivor.

In September 2019 Mariangela delivered an emotional and poignant TEDx speech entitled“Celebrate the Survivor: Creating a Safe Space around Suicide”, in Ohio and her secondTEDx has been confirmed for April 2021 at the acclaimed Ivy League - Dartmouth College. Theycurrently present Keynote and Signature Talks about a range of topics within the suicide andmental health arena, such as Safe Spaces for Celebrating Survivors, Words Policingaround Trauma in Society, How Post Traumatic Growth Can Help You Find your Purpose,and The Power of Grass Roots Cross Narration, with accompanying pop-up image galleries.

In almost 3 years Mariangela’s project has grown exponentially, and is now considered by manyin the mental health field, as an essential healing space for anyone who has experienced thetrauma of suicide. They single handedly manage all the projects under the Faces of Fortitudeumbrella; the portrait work, traveling interactive photography exhibits, and in the wake ofCOVID19 a podcast entitled Face to Faces - A conversation series that provides a platformfocusing on the LGBTQ+ & POC communities and their allies, in the areas of activism, politics,mental health, arts & entertainment and community - discussing the human experience in ourever changing world. Faces of Fortitude has a rapidly growing social media fan base, followersand fans growing into an organic community of people creating safe spaces for each otheracross the world. In their spare time, M lives in the heart of the city in Seattle, Washington and isworking on a first edition fine art book with poetry about depression and photographer’s notesas well as a memoir entitled The House of M.

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Mariangela Abeo | Faces of Fortitude

Faces of Fortitude started as a photography project and has grown into an online movement. This movement lays a foundation for healing through portraits of those personally affected by attempted or completed suicide. It strives to provide a safe, stigma-free space, virtually, through social media, and in person with gallery events, for mental health to be discussed, and stories of loss and survival to be shared.

‘Faces Of Fortitude’ | De-Stigmatizing Mental Illness And Healing Through Photography

Mariangela started Faces of Fortitude to help herself and others who have lived through trauma involving suicide or suicidal ideation, heal. Spurred on by photographer Stacy Pearsall’s after-hours talk on turning trauma into meaningful personal projects during CreativeLive’s Photo Week 2017, Mariangela set out on an impressive task.

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