Taking the Drama out of Mental Health Issues

Three regional high schools will take part in the Dramatic Minds Festival in Griffith on Thursday 26 June to promote mental health knowledge and reduce the stigma of mental illness in young people and the community.

The public is encouraged to attend the free event to be held at Griffith Regional Theatre from 11am to 1pm. Local high schools have been invited to send students to the festival as part of the audience in the hope of promoting the positive mental health messages from peer to peer.

"The Dramatic Minds Festival is a mental health promotion event by Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) which engages young people in a creative way to explore the issues associated with youth mental health," said RAMHP's Rural Mental Health Promotion Officer Merilyn Limbrick.

The festival was established in Wagga in 2008 and has expanded to Albury, Tumut, Temora and Griffith.

"The Dramatic Minds Festival has grown to be one of the key promotional activities for MLHD's Youth Mental Health Program," Merilyn said.

Schools participating are Wade High School Griffith, Narrandera High School and Leeton High School.

Students are asked to research, write and perform an original 10 minute play on their chosen topic of youth mental health. The plays will focus on the causes, occurrence, outcomes, help-seeking behaviour, hope and breaking down the stigma.

Merilyn said students who have participated in the festival have reported an increase in their knowledge of mental illness and an improvement in attitudes to those with mental illness.

"Mental health affects everybody in our community," Merilyn said. "Adolescence and young adulthood is the age of peak onset of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. Around one in four young people aged 16-24 experience mental health problems during adolescence."

The festival is funded by the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program.Dramatic-minds-poster-2014