Mental health conversations have historically been hidden in the shadows, its subjects and mixed outcomes relegated to secrecy and internal strife. Yet students on campuses increasingly struggle with mental health--from onset and diagnosis, to treatment, medication side effects, hospitalization, and suicide. Since symptoms typically manifest during college and graduate school, teens and young adults are a particularly vulnerable group. What role can and do the arts play for everyone in sustaining equilibrium, confronting PTSD, offering hope, and restoring health? The catalyst for this collaboration, a work of fiction published in the Michigan Quarterly Review by James Munro Leaf, “Team Wristband,” raises questions about being caught in the psychiatric system, the presumption of labels, and the peril of being defined by an illness.
“Team Wristband” will be adapted for a theatrical performance in the Keene Theater (East Quad) to dramatize power, politics, dehumanization, and abuse. Directly after three showings at the Keene Theater in March 2020, a panel of experts across the fields of Public Health, Music, Theater and Dance, Social Work, Psychiatry and Creative Writing will open a dialogue with audience members to encourage debate, a survey of resources, imaginative investigation, and deeper understanding. Post-production qualitative research will provide an interdisciplinary approach to moving mental health conversations out of the shadows and into the light of accessibility. Students (undergraduate and graduate) will play a vital role in the successful launch of this project from pre and post-production research, theatrical participation, design, videography and their shared experiences. This project’s synthesis of fiction, theater, and public health--informed by medical research, professionals, and people impacted by the devastation of mental illness and its treatment--can generate new ways to frame, digest, and connect to critical issues.
With regard to the Project Image, The MET owns the physical work, and lists their photo as public domain: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/248181?&searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=athena+and+owl&offset=20&rpp=20&pos=21