Mental Health Awareness Tour Will Shine a Light on Indigenous Youth Stories in the NT
14 May 2018
TeamHEALTH and Mind Blank are partnering for a second year to run the NT Mental Health Awareness Tour that will run from 16-31 May reaching approximately 2,000 students in the NT. The performance uses forum theatre to address mental health issues that impact on a young person’s life and are relevant to the local community.
Ally Kelly, CEO of Mind Blank, said the TeamHEALTH and Mind Blank collaboration this year is next level. The team will be away for a total of three weeks and are scheduled to visit both urban/rural and remote areas, including Pine Creek, Jabiru, Katherine, Belyuen, Darwin, Palmerston, Batchelor and Daly River.
"This year we are prioritising steps towards self-suitable strategies. We are doing this by providing local job opportunities for local creative artist. Joining us on tour this year is Josiah: Josiah Rose is an aspiring young Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander actor. His passion for helping young people has led him to Mind Blank where he can continue to expand his acting experience and help those in need.
This year we have also reached out to Tania Lieman to assist us with some local script development. In 2018 we will be touring the NT with a community story. Lived experience stories have come from youth at the Malak Re-Engagement Centre," explained Ally.
The focus of the tour is primarily suicide awareness and the crucial element of teaching early intervention skills. The tour will cover topics including self-care, communication and help seeking methods that are all important intervention points to help support resilience prior to a downward mental health spiral.
This year’s script writer, Tania Lieman, works in community theatre and community development and believes theatre is a powerful process and technique to reach audiences.
“I wanted to be part of getting a positive message to young people about making smart choices. I feel strongly that many young people need extra support to get them through tough times and this can be particularly difficult for some Indigenous young people to navigate.
The script was influenced by listening to the voices of young Indigenous people and research of the issues that are specific to Indigenous youth - family pressure, school and social pressures, financial issues, drug and alcohol use, and racial profiling. It is my hope the issues and situations the characters face in the script are relatable to young people across the NT,” said Tania.
The NT Mental Health Awareness Tour has a focus on empowering young people to make positive life decisions and the ability to have these discussions in front of their peers. Whilst also allowing the young people to feel in control and connected to the scenarios as they may relate to their own lives, or increase understanding of the pressure on Indigenous young people in the NT.
Catherine Kubiak, Mental Health Educator, TeamHEALTH will be leading the tour alongside Mind Blank.
“When the NT Awareness Tour ran in 2017 I was in a different role with TeamHEALTH but was lucky enough to have an opportunity to watch the performance by Mind Blank and must say it is something that has stuck with me since then. The actors do a fabulous job of portraying very relevant issues facing young people. Their behaviours and responses were realistic and made a strong point of the impacts that different issues may have,” said Catherine.
The NT Mental Health Awareness Tour will also be hosting a free community show at Happy Yess on Tuesday 29 May at 3:30pm till 5:00pm. Everyone is welcome.
To RSVP to this event please contact Catherine Kubiak at TeamHEALTH on firstname.lastname@example.org.