Title

Mental Illness in the Drama Classroom: Not Just Stage Fright

Prize Winner

FHASS

Community Connection

Streaming Media

Type of Proposal

Visual Presentation (Poster, Installation, Demonstration)

Start Date

31-3-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

31-3-2017 2:00 PM

Faculty

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Our research question is: How does involvement in drama impact an individual’s willingness to seek help for mental health issues? We will research this through surveys that will combine closed and open ended questions. Our subjects will consist of students over the age of 18 who have been involved with the dramatic arts at some point in their lives, this can include in a classroom at any level of study or community setting. There has been a large amount of research done on the links between mental illness and creativity, several studies (Andreasen; Carson; Kaufman; Vosburg and Kaufmann) note a shared biological vulnerability between creativity and certain mental disorders. There has also been work done on arts students and their link to mental illness, but many of these studies look at either visual artists or creative writers. A small number of studies were found that might have included drama (Young, Winter and Cordes; Vellante et al; Papworth, et al; Greason et al.). Although those studies might include drama students, the data was mixed with other creative forms such as visual arts. There has been a clear link established between creativity and mental illness vulnerability, as well as a number of studies on studies in the “creative” fields, however hardly any work has been done on drama practioners and their struggles with mental illness. A pivotal piece of research that helped give direction to our study was Greason et al’s 2015 study where they found that arts students had the same amount of mental illness diagnoses as no-arts students but used psychological services at a much higher rate. Most of the research in the field focuses on young people (under the age of 24) due to the fact that they are one of the most mentally ill populations but also one of the least likely to seek help. Research has indicated that the main factors that influence individual’s willingness to seek help for mental illness include: personal stigma, perceived public stigma, and emotional openness (Eisenberg et al; Rickwood et al; Kosyluk et al; Komiya et al). Through our research we hope to find out about the amount of stigma present in the dramatic arts community as well as look into whether the emotional nature of the dramatic arts is related to help seeking behaviors as it has the potential to increase emotional openness. We want to see if there are any recommendations that will arise for drama teachers, in both secondary and post-secondary environments, with respect to mental illness sensitivity with their specific population. For instance, if there prove to be markers that make a student more or less likely to seek help, teachers could be alert to watch for these things and take steps to increase the likelihood that those impacted by mental illness will access the assistance they need. Though we are still in the preliminary stages it is hoped that our information will impact drama education pedagogy and practice, allowing for improved mental well-being for students studying or involved with this discipline. It is also hoped if specific things are found to be present in the dramatic arts that increase help seeking these practices can be incorporated into other disciplines as well.

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Mar 31st, 1:00 PM Mar 31st, 2:00 PM

Mental Illness in the Drama Classroom: Not Just Stage Fright

Our research question is: How does involvement in drama impact an individual’s willingness to seek help for mental health issues? We will research this through surveys that will combine closed and open ended questions. Our subjects will consist of students over the age of 18 who have been involved with the dramatic arts at some point in their lives, this can include in a classroom at any level of study or community setting. There has been a large amount of research done on the links between mental illness and creativity, several studies (Andreasen; Carson; Kaufman; Vosburg and Kaufmann) note a shared biological vulnerability between creativity and certain mental disorders. There has also been work done on arts students and their link to mental illness, but many of these studies look at either visual artists or creative writers. A small number of studies were found that might have included drama (Young, Winter and Cordes; Vellante et al; Papworth, et al; Greason et al.). Although those studies might include drama students, the data was mixed with other creative forms such as visual arts. There has been a clear link established between creativity and mental illness vulnerability, as well as a number of studies on studies in the “creative” fields, however hardly any work has been done on drama practioners and their struggles with mental illness. A pivotal piece of research that helped give direction to our study was Greason et al’s 2015 study where they found that arts students had the same amount of mental illness diagnoses as no-arts students but used psychological services at a much higher rate. Most of the research in the field focuses on young people (under the age of 24) due to the fact that they are one of the most mentally ill populations but also one of the least likely to seek help. Research has indicated that the main factors that influence individual’s willingness to seek help for mental illness include: personal stigma, perceived public stigma, and emotional openness (Eisenberg et al; Rickwood et al; Kosyluk et al; Komiya et al). Through our research we hope to find out about the amount of stigma present in the dramatic arts community as well as look into whether the emotional nature of the dramatic arts is related to help seeking behaviors as it has the potential to increase emotional openness. We want to see if there are any recommendations that will arise for drama teachers, in both secondary and post-secondary environments, with respect to mental illness sensitivity with their specific population. For instance, if there prove to be markers that make a student more or less likely to seek help, teachers could be alert to watch for these things and take steps to increase the likelihood that those impacted by mental illness will access the assistance they need. Though we are still in the preliminary stages it is hoped that our information will impact drama education pedagogy and practice, allowing for improved mental well-being for students studying or involved with this discipline. It is also hoped if specific things are found to be present in the dramatic arts that increase help seeking these practices can be incorporated into other disciplines as well.