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New play to challenge stigma around mental health

A special play dealing with issues around mental health and self harm is set to be performed in schools across Malvern Hills District.

Malvern Hills Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is funding the SELFie where’s the HARM production, which aims to raise awareness amongst young people of the signs of early mental health issues.

The play has been developed by CMP Consult, a specialist project management company for the education sector, and will particularly focus on the consequences and impact of self-harm. It deals with the perception of mental health, people’s attitude towards it and the pressures and influences of the internet and social media.

The drama will be performed by Worcestershire based drama students and graduates in High Schools across the district during the spring and summer terms. The show was performed for the first time at Tenbury High Ormiston Academy on Wednesday (24 February). If successful it is hoped the drama will be rolled out to the rest of the county’s schools in the autumn.

Malvern Hills CSP is backing the campaign as mental health is increasingly being seen as a priority issue both locally and nationally.

Malvern Hills District Council, which is part of the CSP, has just committed to raising awareness of issues relating to self harm amongst at least 500 young people over the next five years, as part of its new strategy.

Research shows most mental ill health starts by the age of ten, which is why in Worcestershire there is an increased emphasis on building resilience and well-being amongst children and young people.

In Worcestershire 70,000 adults and 7,000 children are living with mental ill health at any one time.

Jacqueline McGonagle –Turner, who wrote and directs the play, said: “The performance aims to inform and enable young people to make positive lifestyle choices to be aware of early mental health indicators and to seek help and support for themselves or others they believe to be at risk.”

Cllr Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder with responsibility for community safety on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “Mental health issues shouldn’t be something people hide away or are scared to talk about. It is as important as physical health and projects like this will help challenge perceptions and remove the stigma attached to mental health.”

Visit https://ylyc.worcestershire.gov.uk/information-and-advice/health-and-wellbeing/mental-health-support/ for more information on support available to deal with issues around mental ill health.

For more information about the project email Jmcgonagleturner @gmail.com