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Albuquerque native lends her voice to mental health awareness

Albuquerque native Kota Wade has teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as an ambassador. She also released an EP, “Out of the Dark,” that chronicles her journey with mental illness. (Courtesy of TMH Public Relations, Inc.)

Though she’s in the spotlight, Kota Wade is human.

She deals with the ebb and flow of life and the music industry.

She has good days and there are some bad.

The Albuquerque native is using her voice and platform to bring more awareness to mental illness, which affects one in five Americans. May is Mental Health Month.

Wade is also an ambassador for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and is working with the organization as part of its just-launched #CureStigma campaign, which decries stigma as a “social virus” that is spreading across America.

“To help cure this you have to be open about your mental health,” Wade says. “I’m so glad NAMI responded to me wanting to be a part of this. The first part is getting the conversation started.”

Wade was thrust into the national spotlight when she appeared as a contestant on NBC’s singing competition, “The Voice,” in 2015.

She didn’t know what to expect and because her time on the show ended, she’s been using music as her outlet.

“I have had a long journey with my mental health and I didn’t know what was going on until I saw a doctor,” she says. “I was feeling bad and sad. I got put on medication and that didn’t work out well for me. But using my music and art has been a very powerful tool for me. Everybody has a different journey or path and I’ve found the tools that work for me.”

Being in the music industry is a roller coaster lifestyle.

Wade helps find balance in her life by writing.

Through this process, she’s written a new EP called “Out of the Dark,” which is available now.

Her first single off the EP is called “I’m Not Alone.”

Wade reached out to her fans to share their stories in the video.

She wanted to help raise awareness of mental illness and encourage young people to talk about their condition and seek help.

Wade’s call for submissions was shared with her more than 110,000 followers on social media.

Since the post, she has been flooded with photos and notes from fans in 30 states and 15 countries around the world.

Some of those fans had never disclosed their own diagnoses before because of fear of the stigma associated with mental illness.

“I have been blown away by the fan support and the bravery of those who submitted,” she says. “They’ve been amazing. Some of the stories made me very teary-eyed. I thought I would have 10 or 20 people and I got 150 submissions. It turned out to be so much more real and powerful for me. It’s super special.”

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