Mental Health Advocate & Creator of the ​Faces of Fortitude​ Movement

M Abeo

At a glance:

M Abeo ​(they/them)​ is a Mental Health Advocate, Speaker, Podcast host, Producer and Photographer + Creator of the ​Faces of Fortitude​ movement. The movement began as a project consisting of a series of portraits documenting the healing of those affected by suicide. In just 3 years it has grown into a movement that consists of TEDx and other public speaking events, traveling gallery exhibits, the Face to Faces Podcast, portrait sessions and two upcoming books.

M Abeo (they/them) is a Mental Health Advocate, TEDx Speaker, Podcast host, Producer and Photographer from Seattle, Washington. In 2017 M started the Faces of Fortitude project: A portrait series documenting the images and stories of people touched by suicide in any way, be it loss, attempt or first responders. The project initially began as a side project to help M in their own healing of losing their only brother to suicide when he was just 26. In just 5 years it has grown into a body of work that shows resilience and fortitude of the human spirit, as well as the light and joy that can be found in the darkest of moments. Their goal is to create communities of survivors across the globe that understand the importance and power hidden in the act of difficult conversations and sharing our stigmatized stories – in the hopes of creating a system of mutual-healing. M is currently working on a fine art coffee table book of portraits and photographers notes entitled: The Faces of Fortitude.

To experience the portraits yourself, visit www.facesoffortitude.art.

  • Celebrating the Survivors: Creating safe spaces around suicide

    By sharing the painful story of their brother’s suicide, M examines the way they were able to heal in new ways by connecting with others experiencing similar stories. They remind us of the importance of creating safe places together to discuss stigmatized trauma stories, heal and grow.

    Takeaways:

    •Importance of safety within storytelling
    •How survivors of suicide can use their trauma as fuel to heal through Post Traumatic Growth
    •Optional pop-up portrait gallery featuring images and stories from M’s Faces of Fortitude project
  • Faces of Fortitude: Creating safety within trauma and loss

    If the abrupt halt of “hustle culture” during COVID-19 taught us anything, it was that we weren't as focused on our mental health as we should have been. Using the power of plant life as a metaphor and their own vulnerability as a guide, M shows how staying with ourselves and truly listening when things are difficult, can actually work as a healing superfood if we allow it.

    Takeaways:

    •The power of cross narration within story-telling
    •Using discomfort as a Superfood
    •How to recognize how our reactions are connected to our trauma
    •Learning to listen to ourselves to better heal
  • Unearth Your Trauma

    How many of us had to learn to care for ourselves differently during the pandemic quarantine? M shares their personal story regarding how learning to care for their plants showed them where they were neglecting their own self care. They share six plant-as-metaphor steps they created to help us move through their healing journey.

    Takeaways:

    •How we can learn to heal, using plant life as a guide
    •The six steps to unearth trauma and create space for growth
    •How COVID-19 changed the way we take care of ourselves
Thank you for your share at the "World Suicide Prevention Day" meeting today. I am inspired by your courage and vulnerability. I will keep the knowledge of the 5 things you gave to me, to provide to those that cross my path

—Direct Employee Feedback from a National Insurance Company

M was able to create a safe space for me to heal. I had to stop thinking big and expansive to heal everyone and look inward. I realized I wasn’t broken. There was a lot of strength I didn’t know was in there.

—Zak Williams (Son of Robin Williams)

Personally, I walked away from M's talk feeling so enriched.  Thanks for being your incredibly authentic self. I’m sure you know that your superpower is how inclusive – and heard -  you make people feel.  Keep at it.  We need more Ms in the world!
 

—Diana Scherr, Regional Development Officer, Colorado Mountain College Foundation

M Abeo is a fierce person, but also a person who emanates warmth and compassion. They're a perfect balance of blunt and to-the-point, yet kind and nurturing.

—SRL Lounge

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