By Ann Nagle
Jason DeShaw is a 33-year old, national award-winning mental health speaker and country singer. As an accomplished recording artist and musical performer from rural Montana, Jason turned to music as his way to deal with his own mental illness.
For the past decade Jason has toured across 35 states, Canada, and Europe singing original country music. In 2010, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Since then, he has advocated for mental health and addiction recovery as both a speaker and singer.
His music combines his powerful story of recovery with original songs of hope. His audiences range from the lay public attending a performance hall event, to those in a forensic unit of a state psychiatric hospital, to officers at the state Law Enforcement Academy.
Jason received the 2014 Lionel Aldridge Champions Award in Washington D.C. from the NAMI, recognizing an individual with a mental illness who reduces stigma by “exhibiting courage, leadership and service on behalf of people with mental illness.”
Jason has recently embarked on a 10 city tour across Montana which he calls “an amazing experience:”
“This tour is off to an amazing start, having performed in Butte, Great Falls, Fort Benton, Havre, and Malta, Montana," says DeShaw.
"As I've sang and spoke in these places, I am reminded of the connection that we all share. We all hurt, to varying degrees. There is much pain in this world, oftentimes wrapped 'round in fear. But light can pierce any darkness if compassion opens the door. Every human being, no matter who they are, needs an ounce of hope to remain and flourish in this world. Hope is the great translator between human beings, and we get it from one another. I am exhausted right now following 3 events in 3 days, but I rest easy knowing that the more we say the words mental illness, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism, the more we humanize them. And when the world realizes that mental illness is an issue of humanity, we will enter the era of understanding. And with that comes love.”
An audience of 2000 NAMI members gave a standing ovation to the star and advocate at the conclusion of his tremendous performance at the 2014 National Convention in Washington, DC last September. And, as much as the crowd loved Jason, he told us how much he loved performing before the NAMI audience.
Since then, we heard from hundreds of members who are eager to hear an extended show by this very talented singer/songwriter.
Jason DeShaw is scheduled to perform at the 2015 NAMI National Convention in San Francisco.
Read more about Jason’s tour and his powerful music here: www.thecountryway.com
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