Acting to reduce stigma amongst young people

Some of the cast and staff involved in Outside In
Picture shows, left to right: Lucy Hodges, who played Doctor and Teacher 1; Ellie Hunter, Sister and Teacher 2; Richard Billings, drama teacher, Darton College; Sharon Rossides, Principal, Darton College; Kath Cooper, project lead, Healthy Settings team; Cllr Dorothy Higginbottom, Mayor of Barnsley and Laura Proud, who played the lead character of Jo.

Year 10 students from Darton College performed ‘Outside In’, a play about a young girl’s experience of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to more than 1,500 people over four days.

Kath Cooper, Project Lead and Health Improvement Practitioner for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley Council, said, “The play highlighted the difficulties and dilemmas that young people may experience during their lives, with a specific focus on the stigma of mental health.

“Every school inBarnsleywas invited to attend one of the performances; we wanted the messages in the play to challenge attitudes, to encourage and empower young people to speak more openly about their concerns.

“We have been really impressed with the contribution and dedication of the students, who attended after school, during the holidays and at weekends to rehearse and came up with an excellent poster design to promote the production.”

Kath continued, “If the students were nervous ahead of the first performance, they didn’t show it. They were so professional you would never have guessed it was their first time in front of an audience.

“The shows were part of a bigger project to promote positive emotional health and wellbeing in Darton. Looking forward, we now plan to create a training/education pack for every school inBarnsley. The play was filmed so that it can form part of the pack, ensuring all children are able to see it now and in the future and can discuss the issues raised by the play.

“Research has shown that the stigma of mental health problems can have a huge impact on a child, so it was vital to do the subject justice and make it a really meaningful piece of work. The final product is more than I ever could have hoped for and I am so proud of all the young people who made the project an overwhelming success.”

Acting to reduce stigma amongst young people

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