yes - i'm interested!

behind the project

17% of youth (6-17 years old) experience a mental health disorder. * NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

1 in 20 U.S. Adults experience serious mental illness. * NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 

70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition. * NAMI

Covid-19 and the pandemic has increased the concerns about the psychosocial effects on children and adolescents. Because kids routines are being drastically impacted, there are concerns about how that will impact short and long term mental health.
* MJH Life Sciences, 2021






Facts Behind our Why...

The "Behind the Smile" project aims to increase awareness of the struggles of mental health in adolescence through a photography campaign designed to decrease stigma surrounding mental illness and increase access to local resources available to both the adolescent and their families. 

What is behind the smile...







Most of us have two sides - one we present to the world, and one we protect from view.  The "Behind the Smile" campaign is designed to tap into that part of ourselves that we hide from others...that side that can feel sad or anxious, insecure, struggle with eating disorders or other struggles with mental illness. 

What you don't see....

Behind The Smile

HEY, I'M MAURA AND I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH!
LONG BEFORE I PICKED UP A CAMERA, I WAS A PRACTICING CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER IN CALIFORNIA. I SPENT MY CAREER SUPPORTING OTHERS STRUGGLING TO MANAGE THEIR COMPLEX LIVES. PERSONALLY, I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH significant DEPRESSIVE EPISODES IN MY LIFE...I KNOW WHAT DARKNESS FEELS LIKE, AND I HAVE BECOME PROFICIENT AT SMILING THROUGH THE PAIN.

In our lives WE ARE all SURROUNDED BY FAMILY, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WHO ARE HURTING. MANY FEEL ALONE AND ISOLATED IN THEIR PAIN. "BEHIND THE SMILE" IS A PASSION PROJECT FOR ME. IT IS A WAY FOR ME TO TAKE MY LOVE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AND MY DESIRE TO SUPPORT OTHERS by providing a safe space for expression and empowerment.  
 
I hope you consider joining me in this project!

In health,
Maura

"Mental health is not talked about enough in the way it should be.  you can smile around your friends and still be depressed, you can have an eating disorder and not be super skinny, you can be soc1al and still have anxiety. I want to help people by telling my story and by spreading awareness"      - Brenna