Similarly like art, theatre can have positive affects on your mental well being, theatre is an art form and can be taken seriously or done for fun. Using the arts as a preventative measure creates a good foundation in which we can build relationships and courage or gain understandings of our mental states and help to adapt our lives around our emotions.
In an article written by The Guardian, Kerry Shadbolt expresses her love for theatre and how it helped her gain confidence and improved her personality disorder. The NHS set up the support group for her initially for a series of months, but then the group became a permanent support place for Kerry after the drama therapist set up a drama company. Groups such as these help raise awareness for mental health issues and can keep people well, aid recovery from illness, help people live longer and have better lives. Projects like these are extremely beneficial as they offer current and former mental health patients a lifeline when the help prescribed by the NHS stops.
In a study done by The Guardian, they found that 75% of young people with mental health problems are not receiving treatment; drama groups can provide a safety net for these youths and can be there to help them when the NHS cannot.
Additionally, more than half of young people link mental illness with alienation and isolation, joining in with a group where you can freely express yourself and make new friends with the same interests as you is highly important for young people and can eliminate the possibilities of feeling isolated.
A young man from the UnLonely project explains his journey through theatre and the benefits he gained from the experience at University. He explains that at first ‘people liked a version of me that wasn’t really me, that I didn’t really like, but was who I thought I had to be to fit in.’ He says that he had felt lonely and sad, a feeling that he had never really experienced before, but eventually summoned the courage to audition for a play. He states that he does ‘remember, vividly, the moment, the first in college, when [he] felt like [himself] again’, and notes that a part of fighting loneliness as a college student was just about finding your place with a group of people who are like you, for him, this was theatre.
There are many people like Evan out there who need help or even just somewhere where they feel like they fit in, theatre can be an amazing opportunity for so many people where you can freely express yourself without being judged and has major positive gain for your mental well being.
If you are struggling with mental health problems please reach out to your community and mental health practitioners to help support you, further details here:
Guernsey MIND- http://www.guernseymind.org.gg/
GYCT – http://www.thegyct.com/
Learn more here:
Written by Carmen Plevin, Sixth Form student at Guernsey Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre, studying Psychology, Art and Sociology A Level