Bringing together World Mental Health & Homelessness Day

Posted on: 10 October 2017

Written by: Vicky Ream

Mental health in the homeless community is at crisis point. When you consider the fact that homeless people are nine times more likely to take their lives through suicide, it brings into stark reality just how serious this issue is.

Although the issue of mental health is not new to us  – it is a sad inevitability that many of our Members have mental health issues to deal with on top of all of the other problems they face – as an organisation we are starting to focus on how Forum Theatre can be used to make people more aware of what they can do to help.

Today is both World Mental Health Day and World Homelessness Day and we are inviting our Members – all of whom will have their own experience of homelessness  – to watch the dress rehearsal for a scratch performance we are presenting at Pleasance Theatre this Thursday evening. Take A Minute, a project run in partnership with MIND in Haringey, is based on interviews and workshops facilitated by Cardboard Citizens with people affected by suicide and will explore the barriers, myths and preventative measures around the issues of suicide and mental health.

This project is the first stage in Cardboard Citizens’ new Change Your Story programme. The programme will further explore and tackle the issues of homelessness, mental health and trauma. It follows the success of the Home Truths season, our five star hit Cathy, and builds on the impact and learnings of our previous mental health focused projects such as Meta, Sound Mind and Hikikamori, all of which explored the mental health issues experienced by our Members.

We hope to add to the evidence we have already accumulated regarding the powerful impact of our work, particularly the Forum Theatre model, in exploring and raising awareness of mental health issues (in terms of the content of our performances, based on stories of our participants) and improving mental health and wellbeing (through the participatory elements of both preparation and performance).