STUDENTS helped take the drama out of mental health issues in Griffith yesterday.
Ironically, they did it on stage at the Griffith Regional Theatre during the inaugural Dramatic Minds Festival, which was held to promote mental health knowledge and reduce the stigma of mental illness in young people and the community.
Run similar to a reality TV show, Griffith radio personalities Tanya Hennessy and Mike Narrier hosted the day.
“This festival uses drama as a way of educating,” Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) rural health promotion officer Merilyn Limbrick said. “Mental health affects everybody in our community.
“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 to 24 experience mental health problems during adolescence.”
The three high schools involved this year were Wade High School, Narrandera High School and Lake Cargelligo Central School.
Students were asked to research, write and perform an original 10 minute play on their chosen topic of youth mental health, with a focus on the causes, occurrence, outcomes, help-seeking behaviour, hope and breaking down the stigma.
Meanwhile a judging panel made up of Sarah Boon, Greg Patterson and Jack McIver announced Wade High School’s Self Harm Doesn’t Discriminate as the winner.
Ms Limbrick said the success of this year’s Griffith festival means the event will be held annually.
“It has been fantastic. The plays were amazing,” she said.
“The students have really done their research well and instead of going for obvious mental health issues they’ve gone for very youth specific issues such as self harm and addiction. They have come up with some interesting topics.”
If you, or someone you know is experiencing mental illness call the MLHD AccessLine on 1800 800 944 to arrange local support.