Schools’ contribution in spreading awareness about mental health problems

Schools’ contribution in spreading awareness about mental health problems

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately one in every five adults in America suffer from a mental disorder, i.e., around 43.8 million in a given year. Unfortunately, only 41 percent of those suffering from a mental illness received treatment in the previous year. The reasons for the prevalence of undiagnosed or untreated mental illness can be many, ranging from fear and shame in opening about one’s problems to inaccessibility of treatment facilities and lack of awareness.

The stigma and the lack of knowledge on the part of the person suffering from a mental disorder can result in avoidance of treatment, waving off the symptoms as something normal. On the other hand, society’s poor awareness about the impact of mental illness on the quality of life creates an unhealthy environment, which may lead to misunderstanding and lack of compassion towards those suffering. Education is a powerful means to make the masses aware about the debilitating consequences of mental disorders and how everyone’s collective efforts can be instrumental in providing support and care to those in need.

These days, many schools are colleges are making inspiring moves in this direction. Students are being increasingly engaged in awareness programs that not just help them learn coping skills to manage stress but also educate others in dealing with such situations. One such approach is the portrayal of mental health issues through theatrical productions, where storytelling opens up an engaging platform for the audience to comprehend the struggles of people with mental health disorders.

Creativity and mental illness

Creativity in any form has therapeutic effects. The cathartic nature is emotionally rich and mentally satisfying. Highlighting the mental health crisis in the country and specifically teenage mental health, Washington-based schools, R. A. Long High School and Mark Morris High School, have collaborated for the Mainstage Theatre Production’s play called “The mental state.” The play portrays the struggles of teenagers suffering from mental illnesses. Mainstage has also collaborated with the NAMI to educate audiences on mental illness.

The theater group at Appleton North High School, Wisconsin, also does theatrical pieces that deal with social issues relevant to the community and the youth in particular. They have previously created works on issues of body image, depression, suicide, homelessness and drunk driving. One of their plays called “Behind the door: Stopping the stigma of mental illness” speaks about the mental health issues existing in the society. The play was also presented during the NAMI state conference in 2014.

There are also production houses in other countries that are spreading awareness about mental disorders and assisting students through welfare education programs via award-winning theatre productions. Brainstorm Productions, an Australian production house, produces high school shows that speak about cyber bullying, the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, negative relationships and mental disorders. The theatrical productions have also received 99.7 percent of teachers’ recommendations.

Theatrical productions involving school students can be the harbinger of change by letting more people comprehend the ways mental health disorders are leaving their impact. They can inspire people to not be ashamed of their mental illness, accept it just like any other physical illness and seek treatment.

Help at hand

Mental health disorders can have an adverse impact on the personal and professional life of an individual. Untreated mental disorders also take a toll on the health of caretakers, family members and friends. However, mental disorders are treatable and recovery is possible through evidence-based diagnosis and treatment programs.

The Colorado Mental Health Help representatives can assist you in finding some of the best mental health treatment centers in Colorado providing holistic treatment plans to help a person regain control of his/her life. Call us on our 24/7 helpline number (866) 899-5063 or chat with an expert to know more about mental health rehab in Colorado.