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This article was published 7/10/2016 (1815 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new drama production coming to Winnipeg high schools this fall explores the silent struggle many face with mental health disorders.
Shattered was developed by Sarasvàti Productions in collaboration with youth who have themselves struggled with eating disorders, depression, anxiety and self-harm, Sarasvàti artistic director Hope McIntyre said. The forum-style piece is the result of a two-year mental health project and was created through youth workshops supervised by McIntyre.
"After hearing stories from hundreds of individuals who have in some way been affected by mental illness, we were struck by the young people who were determined to be heard," McIntyre said.
Shattered follows four teenagers as they face their own issues while combatting pressure from both their peers and adults. Amanda dreams of being a dancer but struggles with her weight while feeling pressure to conform to an ideal self-image. KoKo lives with depression, has moved through a series of foster homes and is a member of the transgendered and Indigenous communities. Stacy, who struggles with anxiety, meets a stranger who may help, while Les cares for his ailing mother and has trouble fitting in at school.
One of those four cannot cope, forcing the cast and audience to explore the issue of suicide.
Shattered is an interactive experience, as the audience can stop the play and participate by offering positive solutions. It attempts to balance stories from people believing there is an over-diagnosis of mental health disorders with ones from those who do not speak up lest they be stigmatized.
McIntyre said the sessions with youth led Sarasvàti to expand Shattered’s community reach.
"It was youth who told us that we needed to take the show to high schools. We were inspired by one teenage boy who asked why so much time in school is dedicated to physical education but very little time spent on mental wellness."
Shattered will be performed at Elmwood High School on Dec. 8 and River East Collegiate on Nov. 25, McIntyre said, while adding they hope to announce additional schools soon. For more information, visit www.sarasvati.ca
Community correspondent - East Kildonan
Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org