Mauro Ranallo has used his voice to call the action of combat sports for more than 30 years.
“I have been given a voice. I know how to paint a picture. I know how to tell a story,” said Ranallo.
Now he uses his voice to call the action of his own life experiences.
“I have managed somehow to embrace the gift of my mental health condition and I now want to be a voice for those who are suffering in silence,” said Ranallo.
The sports commentator lives with bipolar disorder. He spoke at the annual conference for the New York chapter of the National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI).
On Friday he received an award for his advocacy.
Ranallo has become a leading voice in the national conversation on mental health since the documentary “Bipolar Rock n Roller” debuted earlier this year on Showtime.
The film followed his journey balancing mental health with a high-pressure career — which included working as an announcer for boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and MMA.
“Our families and our members use their personal pain as a gift because it helps others,” said Matthew Shapiro, associate director of public affairs for NAMI-NYS.
NAMI focuses on mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
“All of our support programs, education and advocacy programs are all offered at no cost. We want people to know that there is help out there and they’re not alone,” said Shapiro.
NAMI leaders say public figures, like Ranallo, using their platform to bring attention to the issue can help start conversations that ultimately save lives.
For Ranallo, it’s all about smashing the stigma of mental illness. If he can persevere, Ranallo says anyone can.