School anti-stigma

One hour show – 6th form

An hour long anti-mental health stigma multi-media show for 6th formers. A thought provoking mixture of personal experience from both sides (family and sufferer), music, video, humour and participatory exercises, it challenges pre-conceptions about mental illness (psychosis in particular) using entertaining and interactive techniques that contrast with the factual information and graphic illustrations of the effects and experience of psychosis.

Material Covered
Effects of marijuana on some people
Just how lucky do you feel?
Prevalence of mental health problems in the population
How many of you , your family and friends are likely to suffer?
Symptoms and personal examples and illustrations of what it is like to experience them
understanding and empathy; getting help early, recovery…

Student Feedback…
Samples of the questions and answers on the feedback forms – the bit that really counts….

How did it make you feel?
Made me understand how “normal” mental health problems are especially how common they are. Although I have thought about it many times before, this time it didn’t feel like a big deal; emotional; more thoughtful; not grate; sympathy; worried; felt like I could relate to some of his feelings; very sad; enlightened; not to drugs and think differently; more aware of the effects of drugs; cautious about smoking; very interested; depressed; made me worry about my mates that take cannabis; have a different mind about doing drugs; felt sorry for Ross past experiences; more aware of what mental health is and what the symptoms are; sad of what Ross went through; feel sorry for drug users…

What effect did it have on your feelings about mental health issues?
I felt that smoking weed doesn’t make you do crazy stuff; sad for mentally ill people; got rid of stereotypical thoughts; gave me more insight; made me think about points in my life where I may have had the symptoms and some of my family and how I could help them; made me think about the people that are around me; made me think it can happen to people I know; more aware of what the person goes through and the help; strong effect; not to smoke weed; it is scary and I don’t want to go through that; its best to act quickly; feel sad for mental illnesses people; if you are mental get help; made me more serious about them; I have different views as he thought he was normal; answered a lot of question; more positive; talk to someone if you have any problem and listen to them; more empathetic towards it. More inclined to seek help earlier; it can happen to anyone…

Were there elements you felt were particularly useful/interesting – and why?
The experiences Ross went through because its a more realistic view; The songs that Ross sang had a good impact as they were from the heart and meant something to him and how it felt when he was ill; the guitar part was very interesting because it explained all about how he was feeling; when Ross shared his story; the songs and clips and activities made it interesting as it was more interactive; videos let us see what happened; the feedback about counselling which I could recommend to others; songs were good; side effects and not to smoke weed; the bit with the 3 voices and explaining the bedroom; Ross’s music put everything in perspective; the songs were filled with feelings that made it easier to understand what people go through; the guitar bit, it was cool!; Bringing someone that dealt with psychosis in the past; how many people have mental health issues; the video where he was painting his room; whispering activity; seeking help early is key…

How effective do you feel this approach is as education on mental health issues?
Much more interesting way of learning from a person who has experienced; good because it makes us aware; so much more information than what we would get from other people; very effective, gives you more knowledge; Ross is a cool guy; bring out an album; well presented, like the music; keep songs and guitar bit and its a big win; very effective it gave a lot of information; I liked this way of teaching because a person with mental illness was represented and real scenes of him were shown to us in videos; well organised and entertaining; very impacting yet somewhat scary; a good idea to let young people know about mental illnesses; good because its not boring; spread the word!; This approach was good and should be done more often…

More Information and Developments
Contact me if you would like further information on the options to run the presentation / show in your school.