Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality has designed an arts-based approach to positive mental health promotion and suicide prevention.
Mission / Aims
Acting for the Future is an innovative arts based approach to tackling suicide and mental health stigma in Ireland. Acting for the Future uses participative drama workshops together with a professional theatre performance and an excellent support structure to promote positive mental health, suicide prevention and challenge stigma around mental health. The project is run in association with the Samaritans and the Irish Association of Suicidology, with assistance from a panel of advisors.
Acting for the Future comprises three main elements: a drama workshop, a performance and a support structure. A school or community organisation can avail of the workshop or performance or both. Young people develop a stronger awareness of the issues (positive mental health and suicide prevention) through a quality arts experience.
Areas of activities
The performance: As part of this project, the company presents the highly acclaimed Testimonies by Mary Moynihan and Paul Kennedy. Testimonies is a professional theatre performance and consists of three dramatic monologues adapted from the experiences of those who have lost loved ones to suicide and from the experiences of those who have been through a suicidal crisis and survived. Each performance is followed by a post-show discussion with a counsellor and invited guest speakers from the Samaritans, the Irish Association of Suicidology and other organisations.
The workshops: The awareness-raising participative drama workshop is offered to any adult group or school, for anyone aged fifteen upwards, who are interested in exploring the issue of positive mental health and suicide prevention. Each workshop offers an introduction to issues around positive mental health and suicide prevention, looking at some common myths and facts about suicide, exploring life stresses and positive coping mechanisms and signs for suicidal intent and how to take action. A trained drama facilitator delivers the workshops working in partnerships with a qualified counsellor who is also in attendance.
The support structure: In keeping with best practice, a support structure is in place for the drama workshops and performances. A representative from Smashing Times meets with the school prior to the workshop taking place to discuss elements of the project and related resource material. An information pack including an information leaflet on positive mental health and suicide prevention is distributed at each workshop and this includes a list of support agencies. The pack for the schools also contains resource material for follow up work in the classroom and a workshop evaluation form to be completed and returned to Smashing Times.